The Charlotte Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers were unable to swing a trade that would have paired Kemba Walker with LeBron James. However, as a consolation prize the Brooklyn native will join Team LeBron in the All-Star Game as New York Knick Kristaps Porzingis’ replacement.
This would be Walker’s second selection to the All-Star team. Recently, an Australian Parliament member went on a passionate harangue against the NBA commish thrusting Dragic into the All-Star proceedings over Philadelphia 76ers guard and Australian native Ben Simmons.
Walker’s selection was a slap in the face to the pro-Ben Simmons crowd and possibly an additional blow to American-Australian diplomatic relations.
A member of the Australian House of Representatives is outraged that Ben Simmons is not an all-star. Here’s his epic rant: pic.twitter.com/PVeoGhILgl
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 7, 2018
Simmons is averaging more rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and he dwarfs Walker’s shooting efficiency by nearly 10 points. Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson are the only other rookies in NBA history who have matched Simmons’ averages of 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists per game.
Simmons’ snubbing is even more egregious when his All-Star vote is factored in. Although, he finished just outside the top two in Eastern backcourt voting, the people spoke by voting him third in Eastern backcourt voting and the Sixers rookie placed sixth among players in voting. Team LeBron lost a bit of its size advantage when Porzingis went down and Simmons would have replaced the size Team LeBron lost.
Given the inauspicious fortunes that have befallen Team LeBron members, Silver overlooking Simmons may be his way of doing him a favor. In the future, the NBA should consider waiting until All-Star weekend to pick the squads and maybe the captains should have a say in replacements.
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