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THEY GOT NEXT: With the announcement that Damian Lillard would be dropping out of the All-Star game this weekend, a replacement was needed, and the most logical candidate, Phoenix Suns 2-guard Devin Booker, wound up earning the bid. The honor was beyond well-deserved for Booker, who was considered a pretty huge snub when the All-Star rosters were originally named, as the 23-year-old is averaging 26.4 points this year, to go along with 4.2 rebounds and 6.3 assists nightly. Booker is one of just five players ever to post a 26/4/6 stat line at 23 or younger, joining the likes of LeBron James and Oscar Robertson on the list.
What’s interesting about Lillard being removed from this season’s All-Star roster and being replaced by Booker is that it makes this year’s crop of All-Stars the youngest in average age since 1980 – at 26.89 years old. Featuring players like Booker, Luka Doncic, Trae Young and Jayson Tatum, as well as, of course, reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, the 2020 All-Star contest proves that the NBA is in fantastic hands as far as their next generation of superstars goes.
Unrelated but also important regarding this weekend: The NBA announced yesterday that the fourth quarter of the All-Star Game, which will be untimed and pit both teams against each other trying to reach a specific score, will also be commercial-free as a way to honor Kobe Bryant. With both teams sure to be playing hard this weekend, that should make for some fascinating viewing.
KOBE AT ALL-STAR WEEKEND: Speaking of Kobe, we made a gallery featuring some of our favorite pictures of the fallen legend at All-Star weekends throughout his illustrious career.
MISSING HARDWARE: We ranked the players with most All-Star Game appearances without winning the MVP award for the prestigious contest, including a surprising player at No. 1, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
MVP RANKINGS: We also ranked the Top 10 players in the 2019-20 MVP chase, including a streaking Damian Lillard, who has gone from the back half of the rankings weeks ago to No. 3 in this edition.
FRESH POD: Our own Alex Kennedy is joined by Spencer Breecker, who is an agent for NBA coaches and executives. Breecker discusses his career, what it’s like to represent people involved in the NBA who aren’t players and offers advice for anyone who wants to become an agent or executive.
WELL-ROUNDED GOAT: Not only is LeBron James amazing at basketball, but he’s also an incredible card player and eats nowhere near as healthy as you would think, according to current and former teammates.
BAM BAM: A complete behind-the-scenes look at Bam Adebayo’s emergence, from his college days when John Calipari refused to let him shoot or bring the ball down on offense, to his workouts with the Miami Heat that led to him getting drafted in the lottery.
One thing is for sure: Miami is extremely high on their young big man, and think he’s their next franchise cornerstone.
NOT SURPRISED: Pascal Siakam has gone from late first-round pick and being a role player to an All-Star and borderline All-NBA-level talent pretty quickly, but his teammates and coaches are not surprised by that. They’ve seen how badly he wants it all along.
WELL-DESERVED HONOR: The Celtics announced they will be retiring Kevin Garnett’s jersey next season.
NOT A JOKE: Eddy Curry opens up in this incredible first-person essay and discusses a whole lot of things that no one knew about his history. Truly some heavy reading.
SOLID FIT… SO FAR: So far, so good for Andrew Wiggins with the Warriors, as the swingman is averaging 23 points and shooting 57.5 percent from the floor since getting to Golden State. Not only is Wiggins happy in his new situation, but his head coach seems thrilled with him.
MUSICAL TRIBUTE: Lou Williams dropped a rap track honoring his fallen friend, Kobe Bryant.
IMPORTANT TOPIC: Although he wasn’t named an All-Star this season, Kevin Love will still be in Chicago as a part of a panel discussion along with Barack Obama, where one of the topics will be mental health.
SOMEONE HAS TO STEP UP: With Damian Lillard set to miss one to two pivotal weeks with a groin injury, CJ McCollum knows he needs to take the reigns and be the top guy for the Blazers. He’s confident he can do just that, and keep Portland in the Western Conference playoff race.
SALARY QUIZ: WHO’S THIS NBA PLAYER? 🤔
Click here for the answer.