Dwight Howard, who made his Lakers debut in an exhibition game against the… (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images )
The NBA officially changed the All-Star ballot, merging centers and forwards into one category called "frontcourt." Fans will now be asked to vote for players in just two positions, guards and frontcourt.
The ballot will be unveiled Nov. 13.
“The NBA’s competition committee and the league office agreed that having the center position as the only specific position singled out on the ballot was outdated and not representative of today's game or players,” said NBA Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Stu Jackson. “Our players have become more versatile each season, and this ballot will more accurately reflect that versatility.”
How will that affect the Lakers?
Under the old rules, Dwight Howard was a near-lock to garner the most votes at center. Now he'll be competing with the top forwards (and centers) in the Western Conference, including Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Dirk Nowitzki, Zach Randolph, Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tim Duncan, DeMarcus Cousins, Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Lakers teammate Pau Gasol.
Even so, assuming he is not injured, Howard is still probably among the favorites to be selected by the fans, along with Durant and Griffin.
After the starting five, it's up to the coaches of the Western Conference to choose reserves. Gasol could be selected but there's certainly a lot of competition in the frontcourt. Last year his brother, Marc, got the nod while Pau was given the weekend off.
The ballot change might have had a greater effect on Andrew Bynum if he were still a Laker. He was clearly the top center in the West last season but his place with forwards would have been less clear.
Last season, Bynum made his All-Star debut as a Laker. Will he represent the Philadelphia 76ers in February?
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Email Eric Pincus at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.