Bosh in contention for All-NBA first-team center

MIAMI — Come postseason award time, perhaps there will be one big advantage for Chris Bosh shifting this season from forward to center.
Had Bosh remained a power forward, it would be a battle to make the All-NBA third team. But as the Miami Heat center, it’s not out of the question he could end up on the first team.
“No doubt, I’m voting for him,’’ Heat guard Dwyane Wade, who doesn’t actually have a vote in the media poll, said of Bosh possibly ending up there. “Even though he’s not (naturally) a center, he’s done a good job of playing that position all year.’’
Four of the spots on the All-NBA first team are easy. They will manned by forwards LeBron James of the Heat and Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City and guards Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers.
But there’s no clear-cut choice at center. Had the NBA made the same change to the All-NBA team ballot as it did to All-Star voting, with no center and three frontcourt players named, it would be easy. The fifth guy would be New York forward Carmelo Anthony.
But Anthony figures to be relegated to the second team. So a center must be found.
“If it happens, it will be awesome,’’ Bosh said of possibly landing on the first team. “But I never even thought about that.’’
Dwight Howard was the All-NBA first-team center the past five years with Orlando, but he’s having an off year by his standards, his first with the Lakers. Howard’s scoring average has dropped from 20.6 to 17.1 and his rebounding from 14.5 to 12.4.
Howard still has a good shot at making it six straight All-NBA first-team honors, but he could be hurt if the Lakers don’t make the playoffs. The only center in league history to have made the All-NBA first team without a postseason berth was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the Lakers in 1975-76.
Bosh is averaging 16.6 points and 6.8 rebounds. His board numbers would appear to doom him as a center, but Bosh actually has a higher player-efficiency rating than Howard, 20.0 to 19.4.
Some believe San Antonio starting power forward Tim Duncan, averaging 18.0 points and 9.9 rebounds, will be slid over to center by a number of voters. But Duncan long has maintained he’s not a center and all of his 13 career selections on All-NBA teams have been at forward.
Other candidates at center include Atlanta’s Al Horford (17.4 points, 10.2 rebounds), Memphis’ Marc Gasol (14.3 points, 7.8 rebounds), New Jersey’s Brook Lopez (19.4 points, 6.9 rebounds), Boston’s Kevin Garnett (14.8 points, 7.8 rebounds), Chicago’s Joakim Noah (12.2 points, 11.4 rebounds but 16 games missed due to injury), New York’s Tyson Chandler (10.4 points, 10.6 rebounds but 14 games missed) and Utah’s Al Jefferson (17.7 points, 9.2 rebounds). Yet their teams obviously can’t approach the NBA-best record 64-16 Bosh’s Heat have.
“The record does a lot for a lot of things,’’ Wade said when asked how it might help Bosh with the All-NBA teams. “Obviously, having the best record in the league.’’
Bosh only once has made an All-NBA team in his career. That was when he was named a a second-team forward while with Toronto in 2006-07.
“That would be a roundtable discussion at dinner,’’ Bosh said about if he possibly now could make first team. “We’ll definitely talk about that. But as far as awards go, I kind of gave that up when I (left the Raptors for Miami as a free agent in the summer of 2010 and made sacrifices).’’
Still, the Heat could have three players make one of the All-NBA teams for the first time in their history. They’ve had two players selected five times.
Wade is the third member of the Heat vying for such recognition. In his previous nine Miami seasons, he’s been selected to the first team twice, the second team three times and the third team twice.
“Whatever team they want to put me on,’’ said Wade, who might not make the second but certainly could the third team. “There were years when I thought I should have made a certain place. I didn’t make it, and I said, ‘Who cares?’ If someone sees fit I should be on there, then they’ll put me on there.’’
Wade seems a lot more interested in where Bosh could end up than where he might.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at or on Twitter @christomasson