Western Conference All-Stars Going centre-less

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Photo: AP

The worst thing about the All-Star Game, bar none, isn’t the lack of defence, or the moribund Dunk Contest.It’s the positional slots that, year after year, require that teams carry centres even if there’s no one remotely qualified.

This is not one of those years.

Mavericks centre Tyson Chandler, considered a risky acquisition because of his injury history, has been a huge part of the Mavs’ defensive strength this season. As All-Star centres go, he would be perfectly acceptable.

Except, for the first time ever, the NBA has chosen to ignore this silly rule. From Chris Tomasson:

There is not a single true centre on the Western Conference roster. The only big men named as reserves were power forwards and NBA commissioner David Stern replaced the injured Yao Ming of Houston, named the starting centre in fan voting, with power forward Kevin Love.

“As far as centres go, I feel like I’ve had the best year of all the centres in the West. So I felt like, if you’re going to choose a centre in the West, I felt like I should have been in. But they went a different route.”

A different route, indeed. Perhaps the biggest story surrounding these All-Star rosters, and certainly the most popular topic of debate, was whether Blake Griffin or Kevin Love deserved invitations. Leaving Griffin off would have been simply indefensible, but Love, with his gaudy numbers on a crappy lottery team of his own, had just as strong a case. So with Yao Ming needing a replacement, the answer was obvious: Put in Love, thus giving the people (or least the Twittering class) what they wanted.

Certainly, there are “big men” in the West, and rebounding, shot-blocking and interior defence shouldn’t be too much of a problem. After all, what is Tim Duncan, anyway?

Really, though, who cares about centres in the All-Star Game? Some centres, like Dwight Howard, are fun to watch in this kind of setting. Tyson Chandler? Not so much these days, even if you reunited him with Chris Paul. So let’s get Blake’s dunks and Love’s outlet passing in the mix.

If anyone’s complaining, they can gloat when size wins a championship in June.

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