Rivers talks All-Star ballot

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, a member of the NBA's competition committee, said the elimination of the center position on the All-Star ballot is a natural progression in a league where defined frontcourt positions are becoming hazy.

The NBA announced Wednesday that the All-Star ballot will feature just two positions: Guard and frontcourt, eliminating the center distinction as more teams, including the Celtics, utilize forward personnel at the center position.

Fans will now vote for two guards and three frontcourt players to comprise the starting lineup from each conference.

Rivers also suggested that the league will move to 13 players on the All-Star roster this season, though he admitted he was uncertain if that change had been finalized yet.

"I actually pushed for more," said Rivers, who later added, "I think we're going to 13. I think that's going to happen."

Adding an extra spot would allow each conference to add a player who might otherwise get snubbed. Fans choose the starting five, but coaches vote for the remaining spots. The popularity contest for the first five spots has sometimes forced a more deserving player off the end of the roster, even after the coaches vote. Adding an extra spot would alleviate that concern.

With players such as Kevin Garnett and Chris Bosh playing the center position, the league moved to open the ballot up a bit this year by eliminating the designation.

“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the league office agreed that having the center position as the only specific position singled out on the ballot was outdated and not representative of today's game or players,” NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson said. “Our players have become more versatile each season, and this ballot will more accurately reflect that versatility.”

Rivers was asked if we might see a day when fans could just vote for their top five players, regardless of position.

"No, because it’d be all guards," said Rivers, a former NBA guard. "That’s why you have to do it for the starting lineup. Hell, you could have five guards versus five guards; that would be fun actually. But I don’t think we’ll ever do that."

The 2013 All-Star ballot will be unveiled on Nov. 13 during a special event in Houston.