Damian Lillard’s pain may be NBA All-Star Game snub Devin Booker’s gain

The NBA All-Star Game rosters got a shakeup Wednesday night when starting guard Damian Lillard suffered a groin injury. Devin Booker should be the replacement.

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker was a clear snub by the NBA’s assistant coaches who choose the reserves for the All-Star Game. While his remarkable season deserves the recognition of being named an All-Star, the last way he’d want it is as an injury replacement.

Thanks to a groin injury suffered Wednesday night by Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, that may end up being Booker’s path to Chicago.

The Athletic’s Blazers beat reporter Jason Quick broke the news that Lillard’s injury would hold him out of both the All-Star Game and the 3-point contest:

Lillard has been on a spectacular run over the past few weeks. Starting with a furious 61 point explosion against the Golden State Warriors on January 20th, over the past 12 games Lillard is averaging 37.9 points per game.

Over this span, he’s shooting 49.8 percent from the floor and a ridiculous 48.9 percent from 3-point range on 11.8 attempts per game. He’s averaging 9.2 assists and 5.6 rebounds but just 3.3 turnovers, a paltry average given his monstrous usage.

Most importantly, the Blazers were making some progress in grinding back into the playoff picture thanks to Lillard’s incredible output. They were 7-5 over this stretch.

Fortunately for the team, Lillard’s absence will take place over the All-Star break which will give him time to heal. While surely he’d prefer to be healthy and play, if there’s a time to suffer an injury like this, the period in which there will be a week without games that count would be the one.

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Going into the All-Star break, the Blazers are 25-31 and four games behind the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies.

As for a replacement, NBA commissioner Adam Silver will be the man to decide who steps into Lillard’s now-vacant spot.

As Lillard said in Quick’s tweet, that replacement needs to be Devin Booker, a player who was clearly snubbed the first time when the NBA’s assistant coaches passed him over for selection.

Booker is averaging 26.4 points, 6.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game while shooting 49.7 percent from the floor and 35.8 percent from 3-point range. He’s the top scoring option for his Suns team and produces at an efficient rate.

If conferences didn’t matter, there would be a different top choice.

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal will go down in the history books as the NBA’s most prolific snub, assuming nothing bizarre or unfortunate occurs between now and the All-Star Game. Beal’s scoring proficiency has been incredible, but that won’t get him onto the Western Conference’s All-Star roster.

This is certainly not the way anybody wanted to get Devin Booker into the All-Star Game, but he’s the most deserving eligible candidate and he needs to be the one Adam Silver selects as Damian Lillard’s replacement in Sunday’s game.

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