When Kobe Bryant met with his doctors recently to have his knee examined, he received some pretty damning news when they told him that he would need another three weeks before being re-evaluated, much less before taking the floor for the Los Angeles Lakers. Subsequently, the news also eliminated any chance of playing in the 2014 NBA All-Star Game.
Much to the chagrin of quite a few basketball fans (and at least this writer), Bryant was voted as a starter for the Western Conference by the fans. While I get that this game is for the fans, it’s hard for me to understand any justification for placing a player who has played in only six games—and played relatively poorly—this season in the All-Star Game at all, much less as a starter.
Now that his being voted a starter is essentially irrelevant, though, the task now at hand is for new commissioner Adam Silver to select Bryant’s replacement on the Western Conference roster. According to a report from Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, though, Silver hasn’t yet made his decision and is still discussing the matter with “basketball people.”
Disregarding the question of “if Silver isn’t a basketball person, then what is he doing as commissioner,” the best option here would be to name Anthony Davis as his replacement on the roster while moving James Harden into the starting lineup.
Davis was one of the biggest snubs in the West to begin with, having been the consistent leader for the New Orleans Pelicans in virtually every aspect of the game. More in his favor, though, is the fact that the All-Star Game will take place in New Orleans, meaning having a hometown player on the roster would be good for the league and the fans in this instance.
You could argue that guys like Goran Dragic and DeMarcus Cousins are also deserving of replacing Bryant in the All-Star Game and you wouldn’t entirely be wrong. However, Davis is the best option given the circumstances. For the sake of fun, let’s hope Silver and his “basketball people” see it that way as well.