Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings was once again denied a roster spot for the 2013 NBA All-Star game. However, an unfortunate loophole could help Jennings finally play alongside the Eastern Conference’s best players.
Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, who was having one heck of a season, will have to sit the rest of the year out with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. The 26-year-old leads all guards in assists (11.1) and rebounds (5.6) per game. Rondo was elected to start for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star game but his right-knee injury will of course prevent him from doing that.
The East is down one point guard and that means the next man up could be Jennings. The 23-year-old is performing at a high level for the second consecutive season and is ranked in the top tier of all Eastern Conference guards. Jennings is first in steals (1.93), fifth in points (18.6), ninth in assists (6.0) and 18th in rebounds (3.6) per game. No other point guard who is currently not on the East roster can top those statistics.
However, if the NBA decides to look at guards in general and not just a point guard to replace Rondo, then Jennings could have some competition from his teammate Monta Ellis, who is also having an exceptional first half of the season.
The other thing that must be considered is that just because the Eastern Conference will be down one point guard does not necessarily mean they will replace Rondo’s spot with another point guard. If this is the case then Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez, Atlanta Hawks small forward Josh Smith and Rondo’s teammate Paul Pierce must all be considered.
If I had to pick one of these three it would be Lopez, who is playing above and beyond everyone else not named to an All-Star team. Lopez is averaging 18.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game while shooting 52 percent from the field. The Nets also have the best record in the NBA without someone representing them in the big game.
Commissioner David Stern is expected to announce Rondo’s replacement within the next few days.