NBA All-Star Game 2021: Suns’ Devin Booker named as injury replacement for Lakers’ Anthony Davis

Devin Booker will replace the injured Anthony Davis as a Western Conference All-Star reserve, the NBA announced Wednesday. Booker, an All-Star last season, was widely considered to be among the biggest snubs when rosters were announced on Tuesday. Now in his sixth season, Booker is averaging 24.7 points, 4.3 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game on a Suns team that currently has the fourth-best record in the NBA

But Booker struggled, at least by his standards, early in the season to fit alongside new Suns guard Chris Paul. Booker dipped to 22.9 points per game in his first 14 outings, and then missed his next four after that due to a hamstring injury. But once he returned, Booker averaged 26.8 points per game across his next 12 games to get the nod. 

Davis, an All-Star starter last season, was a lock for this year’s team prior to getting injured. He is now recovering from a calf strain that is expected to keep him sidelined for four weeks. The Lakers have lost three games in a row with Davis out, which, in a way, strengthens his already firm candidacy as an All-Star. He will miss the game but will be recognized as an All-Star selection this season. 

Booker’s selection likely puts an end to Mike Conley’s All-Star hopes. Conley, the veteran Utah Jazz guard, is largely considered one of the best players never to reach an All-Star Game. Now that he is 33 years old, he is running out of chances to make it. The Jazz have the NBA’s best record at 25-6, but that was not enough to get him into his conference’s top-12. His only chance now would be another injury. 

The 24 All-Stars are now likely set, but their teams in the game itself have not yet been determined. LeBron James and Kevin Durant will draft them on Thursday, March 4, The game itself will be played three days later on March 7. 

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