The NBA announced Friday that Pelicans forward Anthony Davis will serve as the injury replacement for Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, who was selected by the fans as a Western Conference starter in the 2014 All-Star Game in New Orleans.
Davis, 20, is averaging 20.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, a league-leading 3.3 blocks, 1.5 steals and 1.4 assists per game this season. Davis's PER of 26.7 ranks No. 5 overall in the league, and he was The Point Forward's choice for the West's top snub. He beat out the likes of Suns guard Goran Dragic, Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, and Grizzlies guard Mike Conley for the final All-Star spot.
Bryant, 35, received more than 988,000 votes from the fans, second-most among West backcourt players, even though he has played just six games this season due to injury. Bryant didn't make his season debut until Dec. 8 because of an Achilles injury, and he suffered a knee injury that has sidelined him since Dec. 17. Bryant will be reevaluated after the All-Star break and there's no clear timetable for his return.
While NBA commissioner Adam Silver is tasked with selecting the roster replacement for injured players, the decision on who starts in Bryant's place will be left to the West's head coach, Oklahoma City's Scott Brooks.
Brooks can select from the following list of reserves, regardless of position, to fill Bryant's spot: Davis, LaMarcus Aldridge (Blazers), James Harden (Rockets), Dwight Howard (Rockets), Damian Lillard (Blazers), Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks), Tony Parker (Spurs), and Chris Paul (Clippers).
Davis, the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft, joins a select list of players who have achieved All-Star status before turning 21. That list includes: Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Shaquille O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. Still an NBA "sophomore," Davis will also be participating in the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend.
Here's a rundown of the updated All-Star Game rosters, with known starters designated in italics.
Eastern Conference: Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers), Dwyane Wade (Heat), LeBron James (Heat), Paul George (Pacers), Carmelo Anthony (Knicks), Chris Bosh (Heat), DeMar DeRozan (Raptors), Roy Hibbert (Pacers), Joe Johnson (Nets), Paul Millsap (Hawks), Joakim Noah (Bulls) and John Wall (Wizards)Western Conference Stephen Curry (Warriors), Kevin Durant (Thunder), Blake Griffin (Clippers), Kevin Love (Timberwolves) Trail Blazers