After Wednesday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Trailblazers point guard Damian Lillard told reporters that he will not be participating in this year’s All-Star game.
Lillard had pulled his groin during the game Wednesday night and wants to make sure that he is healthy to return after the All-Star break.
Lillard was voted into the All-Star game by coaches as a reserve player. LeBron James went on to draft him as his first bench player in the Captain’s draft. But with the injury to Lillard, who will be missing the next week at minimum, the question remained to who would fill his spot.
During his time with the media Wednesday night, Lillard said: “Hopefully somebody who should have been there and didn’t make it… hopefully, Devin Booker or somebody like that will get the spot.”
Lillard’s Trail Blazers play for the Western Conference, meaning that his bid for the All-Star game has to be replaced by another player from the West. Many from the media and fan bases, went to Twitter and other social media platforms and begged for Suns guard Devin Booker to be Lillard’s replacement. Within just 12 hours of Lillard saying that he would not be participating, Shams Charania tweeted out that Booker would replace the injured Lillard in both the All-Star game and 3-point contest.
Phoenix’s Devin Booker has been selected to replace Damian Lillard in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 13, 2020
Booker, who was considered the biggest snub of the All-Star selections has now earned his spot on team Lebron. The 23-year-old guard is currently averaging 26.4 points and 6.3 assists. Shooting nearly 50 percent from the field, and 35 percent from three, and has an effective field goal percentage of 55 percent. Booker has been nothing but fantastic, and has been one of the most elite guards in the NBA.
The Suns General Manager James Jones at the time Booker was snubbed for the All-Star game said: “I’ve played with and against multiple All-Stars in this league and Devin Booker is undoubtedly an NBA All-Star.” Jones had played with Lebron James both in Miami and Cleveland, and played with Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade.
This will be Booker’s first time as an NBA All-Star. But, this will not be his first time attending the luxurious NBA filled weekend. Booker has participated in the 3-point contest three other times. Booker won the 2018 3-point contest and still holds the record for most points in the final round with 28. The 23-year-old will now be fulfilling his dream by playing in an All-Star game and is trying to accumulate more down his career.