Suns guard Devin Booker will get to play in his first NBA All-Star Game. Booker was chosen to replace injured Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made the final call to pick Booker. Silver is the one that makes all decisions for any injury replacements to the rosters of any All-Star weekend event. Per NBA rules, the replacement player has to come from the same conference as the injured player.
Damian Lillard will miss the game because of a groin injury suffered on Wednesday’s game against the Grizzlies. Lillard talked to reporters afterwards and said that he would not be able to play on Saturday’s All-Star Game or on Saturday’s 3-point contest.
“Hopefully somebody who should have been there and didn’t make it… hopefully, Devin Booker or somebody like that will get the spot,” Lillard told the media.
Devin Booker will be a part of Team LeBron and also take Damian Lillard’s spot in the 3-point contest.
Booker is having a phenomenal season, averaging 26.4 points, 6.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds. He is also shooting a career-best 49.6 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from beyond the arc in 35.9 minutes over 52 games with the Suns.
Booker’s defense (minus-1.9 Defensive Box Plus/Minus) has been questioned at times but the Suns would not be 22-33 without him. He averages 5.5 Win Shares (WS), which is more than Russell Westbrook and Donovan Mitchell. Win Shares are an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player.
The Suns are just 6.5 games behind the Grizzlies in the race for the last playoff spot in the competitive Western Conference. They would not be there without Booker’s offense. To me it was hard to believe that he was after his first appearance in the NBA All-Star game after several solid years in the league.