If you asked someone from the general public or even a casual NBA fan who Pero Antic is, my guess would be that maybe about 10 percent or fewer of those people would answer that he’s a promising 31-year-old rookie for the Atlanta Hawks. That’s exactly who Antic is, though.
In his first NBA season, Antic has been a surprising and effective part of the Hawks’ rotation since the injury to Al Horford. So much so that he was selected to participate at the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend. Antic may not have the appeal of a Damian Lillard or Anthony Davis, but it would have been good for him and the Hawks to have his name out there for more people to see.
However, that’s no longer going to happen. Antic has been dealing with a stress fracture in his ankle that has kept him out of the Hawks’ lineup as of late and will subsequently keep him out of the Rising Stars Challenge. As a result, Phoenix Suns second-year big man Miles Plumlee will step in.
In fairness, Plumlee was a definite snub from the player pool for the Rising Stars Challenge when it was first announced. The Suns big man has had his share of exciting plays throughout the year and has been a surprisingly reliable force in the middle of this upstart Phoenix team. His presence in this game is good for him and the league.
Antic would have been exciting in his own right and probably had more to gain from participating in the Rising Stars Challenge than Plumlee, but in terms of entertainment value, this forced decision is probably for the better.