Greg Monroe gives the Pistons a chance for their first deserved All-Star since 2008, when Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace made it. (No, Allen Iverson starting in 2009 does not count.)
Monroe, in my opinion, wasn’t quite All-Star worthy last season, but he wasn’t far behind Roy Hibbert, who made the Eastern Conference team. I don’t know whether Monroe can pass Hibbert – and fend off Andrew Bynum (who was traded into the conference during the offseason) and Al Horford (who was injured last season – but the Pistons big man certainly has a chance.
Any calculations to how much of a chance need tweaking, though. David Aldridge of NBA.com:
The league will announce Wednesday a change to its All-Star ballot that will, for the first time, allow fans to vote for three undefined “frontcourt” players instead of having to vote for two forwards and a center. With more and more teams playing smaller than in the past, the definition of “center” was becoming increasingly difficult — not to mention finding enough quality big men for whom to vote.
It’s unclear whether the format will also change for picking reserves, but that will be crucial for Monroe, who, for a variety of reasons, almost certainly won’t be voted in by the fans. Previously, selecting the reserves worked similar to the starters:
The 14 players selected — seven each from the Eastern and Western Conferences — were chosen by the 30 NBA head coaches, who were asked to vote for seven players in their respective conferences — two guards, two forwards, one center and two players regardless of position. They were not permitted to vote for players from their own team.
Either way, I think this hurts Monroe, but it would be even more detrimental if the format for backups changes, too. I believe Monroe has a better chance of becoming one of the Eastern Conference’s top two centers this season than one of the top six frontcourt players.
The old system was changed because it reserved too many spots for centers. Now, although a couple more spots are open for him, Monroe must compete with all the big-name forwards instead of just a limited number of quality centers.
He can still make the All-Star team, but he’ll have his work cut out for him.
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