NBA selects DeMarcus Cousins as Kobe Bryant’s injury replacement in All-Star Game; Damian Lillard left off team
The NBA announced Friday morning that Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins would be the injury replacement for Kobe Bryant on the Western Conference All-Star team.
Of course, the announcement from the league made it official that Portland’s Damian Lillard will not play in the 2015 All-Star game in New York City after not making the first list of reserves.
Before the announcement from the league, Lillard said he felt “disrespected,” before the announcement that Cousins would replace Bryant.
From Joe Freeman of The Oregonian:
“At this point, like I said, I feel really disrespected. I know that there’s still somebody that has to replace Kobe and I’ll happily take that invite if it was to come my way. But at the same time, it’s not how I wanted to see it happen.”
Lillard is the NBA’s leader in 4th quarter points and is also in the top-five in minutes played and 3-pointers made. He’s sixth in win-shares. He’s also second in the league in fourth-quarter plus-minus according to NBA.com behind Atlanta’s Kyle Korver, another notable All-Star snub.
Of course, the debate about who undeservedly made the All-Star team instead of Lillard has already begun. In terms of games played, the clear name that stands out is Kevin Durant whose played in only 21 of his team’s 46 games.
The reigning MVP has struggled with injury all season long. His teammate Russell Westbrook has put up MVP numbers but has also missed 14 games and the Thunder are currently out of the playoff pictures.
So, if there is a gripe here it’s likely with the amount of time that Durant played, since the All-Star game should be an award for the current season. But the Western Conference coaches likely could not justify leaving off the league’s second-best player, when healthy, off the roster.
Now Lillard will likely be even more pissed off. However, he said before that if he wasn’t selected he wouldn’t participate in any events and he will likely get over a week of important rest.