by Chris Camello (@Chris_Camello)
PHOENIX, AZ — As NBA All-Star weekend approaches in Chicago, “Team LeBron” was dealt a blow losing guard Damian Lillard to a strained groin. The five-time All-Star will not only miss the All-Star game but the Three-Point Contest as well. Lillard is expected to be out a minimum of 1-2 weeks according to reports.
There’s only one player that could replace Lillard aka Dame Dolla in both events and that’s Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, who was officially announced as Lillard’s replacement in both events.
LeBron James, the captain of “Team LeBron,” replaces the potent scoring of Lillard with another talented, explosive guard. Not to mention Booker was the Three-Point champion in 2018, and will try to take his title back.
Even if it’s on a technicality, the NBA made the right decision, making Booker an All-Star. He’s having another strong season for the Suns averaging 26.4 points and 6.3 assists on a career-high 49.6 percent shooting.
Many believed he was initially snubbed, because despite his numbers being better than some of the other Western Conference guards, Booker plays for a Phoenix team that has the fourth-worst record in the West.
Therefore, when the decisions for reserves become more difficult, voters are asking a “tiebreaking” question, ‘how much better is Booker making his team compared to others?’
The voting process for All-Star reserves remains flawed. Booker should not be penalized because his team struggles to win games. It’s not his fault that the Suns’ organization have failed to surround him with enough talent.
The All-Star vote for reserves should be based more on individual merit and stats, not on team success. Booker and others were snubbed because of this voting tactic.
While there are only 14 reserve spots available for both squads, it’s obvious that some names are going to get left off. However, if the basis of the vote is a player being on a playoff team compared to a more deserving player being on a worse team, it becomes an uneven playing field.
Talented players like Booker shouldn’t have to be added because of an injury, they should already be voted in.