Nov. 30 --
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 Western Conference centers, ranked statistically (by the sum total of their scoring, rebounding and assist averages). So check out what Yao, Mehmet, Amare 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 Nov. 28.)
Yao Ming, Houston
Averages: 26.3 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 1.6 APG
Breakdown: He's averaging career highs in points and boards. He's shooting .544 from the field and blocking 1.71 blocks per game. He's healthy and the Rockets are 10-4. There's not a more clear favorite at any position on the ballot. As Larry Bird would say, "Who's finishing second?"
Mehmet Okur, Utah
Averages: 15.7 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 2.2 APG
Breakdown: His numbers are down a bit from last season (thanks to a healthier Jazz roster), but Okur has still been one of the keys to Utah's hot start.
Marcus Camby, Denver
Averages: 11.0 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 2.6 APG
Breakdown: Camby ranks eighth in the league in rebounds and fifth in blocks with 2.54 per game, while shooting .492 from the field. The Nuggets are hitting their stride and Camby is anchoring the middle.
Andris Biedrins, Golden State
Averages: 11.2 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 1.3 APG
Breakdown: Write-in candidate -- An early candidate for the Most Improved Player award, Biedrins is averaging career highs across the board in his third season in the league. He ranks second in the league behind Dampier in field goal percentage at .654. As a write-in, you can vote for both him and Yao if you'd like.
Amare Stoudemire, Phoenix
Averages: 14.5 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 0.5 APG
Breakdown: Stoudemire got off to a bit of a slow start as he looks to get back into his old form, but he has recorded five double-doubles in the last seven games, including a 25-point, 10-rebound, seven-block performance against New Jersey on Nov. 24. He ranks fourth in the league in field goal percentage at .619.
Tyson Chandler, NO/Oklahoma City
Averages: 5.9 PPG, 11.9 RPG, 0.9 APG
Breakdown: Tied for fourth in the league in rebounds, Chandler has three outings of 16 or more boards in the last five games. He would also rank second in field goal percentage if he qualified and he's the only one on this list with a mohawk, so if that's your criteria, he's your man.
Erick Dampier, Dallas
Averages: 9.3 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 0.4 APG
Breakdown: In his 11th year in the league, Dampier may be having his finest season as he mans the middle for a Dallas team that has won 10 straight games. He leads the league in field goal percentage at .679 and has recorded three double-doubles.
Mark Blount, Minnesota
Averages: 11.1 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 0.4 APG
Breakdown: If your name isn't Kevin Garnett, it's difficult to lead the Timberwolves in anything, but Blount ranks second in rebounds and field goal percentage, and third in blocks... and he's perfect (1-1) from three point range.
Andrew Bynum, L.A. Lakers
Averages: 8.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.1 APG
Breakdown: Write-in candidate -- His mentor is an 18-time All-Star, so you would figure that some of Kareem's All-Starishness would rub off on Bynum. With his numbers and playing time having improved dramatically from his rookie year, it looks to be true.
Other centers on the ballot: Chris Kaman, L.A. Clippers; Brad Miller, Sacramento; Francisco Elson, San Antonio; Jamaal Magloire, Portland; Chris Mihm, L.A. Lakers