Dec. 14 --
Vegas baby! Balloting for NBA All-Star 2007 is under way and to keep you abreast of who you might want to send to Vegas in February, NBA.com will break down all six positions -- West guards, forwards and centers, and East guards, forwards and centers -- over the coming weeks.
Today's Ballot Breakdown covers the Eastern Conference centers, ranked statistically (by the sum total of their scoring, rebounding and assist averages). So check out what Dwight, Big Ben, Shaq and company have been up to, then cast your vote and help select the starters for the 2007 All-Star Game on Feb. 18. (Note: All statistics are through games played on Dec. 13.)
Dwight Howard, Orlando
Averages: 17.5 PPG, 12.6 RPG, 1.6 APG
Breakdown: Dwight Howard has officially arrived. It took the former No. 1 pick just three seasons to be come the most dominant post player in the Eastern Conference. His early-season resume boasts back-to-back 20-point, 20-rebound games on Nov. 18 and Nov. 20, 28 points vs. Philadelphia on Dec. 9, and 16 double-doubles in 24 games played.
Eddy Curry, New York
Averages: 18.3 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 0.8 APG
Breakdown: With all that talent on the Knicks, somebody was bound to be in All-Star contention. Curry's overall numbers are nice, but look at his gaudy points and rebounds over his last 11 games (a stretch in which he has scored 20-plus points every night): 24.9 PPG, 9.3 RPG.
Nenad Krstic, New Jersey
Averages: 16.2 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 1.9 APG
Breakdown: His teammates call him "Curly," but Krstic has been straight balling ever since his impressive showing against Indiana in the playoffs last season. The third-year big out of Serbia & Montenegro is averaging career highs in points and rebounds while hitting 52 percent of his field goal attempts.
Shaquille O'Neal, Miami
Averages: 14.0 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 1.2 APG
Breakdown: An All-Star game without Shaq's smile and remote-controlled sneakers is like Christmas without It's A Wonderful Life and eggnog. Unfortunately, O'Neal tore some knee cartilege back on Nov. 12 and has only played four games so far this season. If the 13 time All-Star is going to nab his 14th bid, he'll need a speedy recovery.
Zaza Pachulia, Atlanta
Averages: 13.0 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 1.7 APG
Breakdown: Like Howard, Curry and Krstic, Zaza Pachulia is averaging a career high in points this season. Pachulia has become the Hawks' steady starting big man and had a few gems matching up against fellow Eastern All-Star center candidates with 22 points and seven boards vs. Curry and the Knicks on Nov. 3 and 20 points and 11 rebounds against Zydrunas Ilguaskas and the Cavs on Dec. 1.
Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee
Averages: 11.3 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.9 APG
Breakdown: First among these candidates in assists per game, Bogut has shown a deft passing touch kicking it out to Michael Redd on the wing. Last year's No. 1 pick is also shooting 56 percent from the floor.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Cleveland
Averages: 9.9 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.1 APG
Breakdown: This two-time All-Star has bounced back from foot injuries to contribute a near double-double to the nightly LeBron James show. While playing about four minutes less per game than he did last season, he is averaging 0.5 rebounds more per contest.
Ben Wallace, Chicago
Averages: 6.7 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 1.6 APG
Breakdown: Wallace has made it to the big game the last four seasons as a member of the Pistons, but that streak is in jeopardy as his numbers across the board have gone down as he makes the adjustments to his new surroundings in Chicago.
Other centers on the ballot: Samuel Dalembert, Philadelphia; Alonzo Mourning, Miami; Nazr Mohammed, Detroit; Primoz Brezec, Charlotte