The Western Conference All-Star Team is down another starter, but has added another legend. After New Orleans Pelicans MVP candidate Anthony Davis was ruled out of the All-Star Game due to a sore right shoulder, the NBA named Dallas Mavericks superstar Dirk Nowitzki as his replacement.
New Orleans announced that Davis would miss the midseason bonanza yesterday shortly after he sat out his team’s 106-93 loss to the Indiana Pacers. Though Davis suffered no structural damage as a result of the nasty fall he took over the weekend, he and the Pelicans are exercising prudent caution – The Brow’s long-term health isn’t just bigger than All-Star Weekend, but this season, too.
Commissioner Adam Silver acted swiftly in selecting Nowitzki as an injury replacement:
Though the 36 year-old Nowitzki hasn’t played up to his exalted level of last season, his impact on the 36-19 Dallas Mavericks is obvious nonetheless. And though Rick Carlisle vocally – and justifiably – campaigned for Monta Ellis to be selected to the squad, the Mavs’ oldest statesman is still a worthy selection.
Nowitzki is the fourth player to be named an All-Star after the initial rosters were unveiled. He joins DeMarcus Cousins, Damian Lillard, and Kyle Korver as injury replacements.
This isn’t an ideal situation, of course. Davis has been arguably basketball’s best player this season, and that he’s sidelined for the league’s main event is a lost opportunity for him to gain very, very well deserved national notoriety. But the 21 year-old will play in tens of All-Star Games going forward while the present is clearly Dirk’s twilight.
We’ll miss Davis on Sunday, but we’re certainly glad Nowitzki is the one taking his place – for reasons related to nostalgia as much as stellar on-court performance.
Is Nowitzki a deserving replacement?
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