For the first time in seven seasons, Dwight Howard will not be a starter at the NBA All-Star Game. Howard finished fourth among western conference frontcourt players, with only the top three vote-getters earning a starting nod.
"I didn't come to Houston to be a starter on an All-Star team," Howard said. "I came to Houston to win a championship. That's my goal. I'm happy for those guys."
In this case, those guys are the NBA's leading scorer Kevin Durant, the NBA's second-leading rebounder, Kevin Love, and Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin. Howard was less than 8,000 votes behind Love in the final tally for the final starting spot, but not seem too concerned about not getting voted into he starting lineup.
"I'm excited to see those guys play," Howard said. "The guys who are starting had an unbelievable season to this point."
The voting process for the fans changed for last season's game, with the center position being eliminated and turned into a non-descript front court position group for all forwards and centers. This season neither conference will have a center in the starting lineup. Howard joked that he had some sort of "campaign" in the works to combat that problem for himself and the rest of the centers in the NBA.
He also directed the media to the campaign he started a year ago to a "Save the Centers" video he starred in.
"The world needs us. It might not need us for starting the All-Star game," Howard said. "But they're going to need us for blocked shots, get things from the ceiling, stuff like that. Of course I'm a little disappointed, but like I said I want to win a championship. That's why I'm here. Being an all-star is a bonus. It's a blessing to be a part of that group."
NBA coaches will vote on the reserves with each western conference coach voting for seven players, two guards, 3 front court players and two players at any position. They cannot vote for players on their own team. Those reserves will be announced on Jan. 30. Any replacements needed after the team is announced will be selected by the commissioner.