Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chris Kaman Left Off NBA All-Star Ballot

The NBA unveiled its official ballot for this year's NBA All-Star game Tuesday, and I know exactly what some Clippers fans are thinking: Where's Chris Kaman?

I mean, you've seen him play and you've seen his stats, both of which, are definitely All-Star caliber this season. How could he be left off the ballot?

I can just hear Clipper Nation asking all the obvious questions.

The reigning Western Conference Player of the Week is not listed on the official All-Star ballot, but Spencer Hawes is?

A player ranked in the top 15 in scoring, the top 20 in minutes played and the top 25 in rebounds, is not worthy of being listed among the leading candidates for the All-Star game, but Andrew Bogut is?

Trust me, all your questions are valid. However, you need to understand the process before getting yourself all worked up.

The NBA All-Star ballot lists 120 players – 60 each from the Eastern and Western conferences – with 24 guards, 24 forwards, and 12 centers from each conference comprising the list. Voters select two guards, two forwards and one center from each conference. The 120 players on the ballot were selected by a panel of media who regularly cover the NBA: Mike Breen (ABC/ESPN), Eddie Sefko (Dallas Morning News), Doug Smith (The Toronto Star and President, Pro Basketball Writers Association) Marc Spears (Yahoo! Sports), Marc Stein (ESPN.com) and Ian Thomsen (Sports Illustrated).

After I first saw the ballot this morning, I called my good friend Marc Spears and asked him how Kaman could be left off the list of viable candidates. Marc informed me of two very interesting aspects of the process: 1) Every team must have at least three players represented on the official ballot. 2) The media panel must submit its selections during the first week of the preseason.

So based on that criteria, you can see why players such as Hawes and Lopez are listed as All-Star candidates and Kaman is not. And with the Clippers having four players on the official ballot (Baron Davis, Al Thornton, Marcus Camby, and Blake Griffin--the only rookie listed), it would be hard to include a fifth considering the season not only the Clippers had last season, but also, Kaman himself.

Spears readily admitted that if the ballots would have not been due until a few weeks into the regular season, then Kaman would undoubtedly be listed on the official ballot.

So if you want to point any of your displeasure with Kaman being left off the ballot, don't direct it at those responsible for selecting the candidates, but rather the NBA, itself, for demanding that the ballots come out so soon.

But even though Kaman (and Eric Gordon, for that matter) isn't listed on the official ballot, Clippers fans can still vote him into the All-Star game. Write-in votes are always accepted and tabulated.

There are several ways fans can cast their votes, including: at each NBA arena; in 20 languages on NBA.com; and through mobile phones by texting the player’s last name to 6-9-6-2-2 (“MYNBA”), via Web2Go® on T-Mobile phones or wap.nba.com for any wireless carrier. A T-Mobile-branded All-Star Balloting widget will also be available on NBA.com so that fans can “grab” the widget and place it on their blogs, social network pages, or personal Web sites allowing others to vote directly from the widget. Paper balloting will continue through Jan. 10, while wireless balloting and voting on NBA.com will conclude Jan. 18. Starters will be announced live on TNT on Thursday, January 21, 2010.

The 2010 NBA All-Star Game will be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, before an expected crowd of more than 80,000 – the largest group ever to witness a live basketball game, on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2010.

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