For the first time in his career, Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker was voted by NBA head coaches to participate in the NBA All-Star game. He is a two-time All-Star, but was bypassed by head coaches in prior years only to be named by Commissioner Adam Silver as the first injury replacement in each of 2020 and 2021.
Now Booker, who scored more points (601) in his playoff debut than any player in NBA history and led the Suns to the NBA Finals, has finally become a sure-choice among coaches. Coaches always choose the guys they can’t stop, and Booker proved it by knocking out three West coaches while averaging 27.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists in 22 postseason games. As for those coaches who haven’t made the playoffs, Booker’s been cooking them for years in the regular season no matter who’s been on the floor with him.
Teammate Chris Paul was also voted to the All-Star team, joining Booker, Luka Doncic (Mavs) and Donovan Mitchell (Jazz) as Western Conference reserve guards, behind starters Ja Morant (Grizzlies) and Stephen Curry (Warriors).
Along the front line, Rudy Gobert (Jazz), Draymond Green (Warriors), and Karl Anthony-Towns (Wolves) were voted by coaches as Western Conference reserve front court players behind starters Andrew Wiggins (Warriors), Nikola Jokic (Nuggets) and LeBron James (Lakers).
The Warriors, second in the West behind the Suns, lead the league with three All-Stars.
2022 NBA West All-Star reserves: Devin Booker, Luka Doncic, Rudy Gobert, Draymond Green, Donovan Mitchell, Chris Paul, Karl-Anthony Towns.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 4, 2022
The starters were named a week ago as a result of a combination of fan, media and player voting. The reserves are picked exclusively by the 30 NBA coaches.
This is Paul’s 12th All-Star nod, including his third in a row since being labeled by the Houston Rockets owner as having the worst contract in NBA history back in 2018. That was soon after Paul had spotted the Rockets to a 3-2 lead in Western Conference Finals before straining his hamstring and missing what turned out to be a pair of season-killing losses without him.
Since Paul was dumped on the Thunder, the Rockets are among the league’s worst teams while Chris Paul has reached the playoffs, including a trip to the Finals, and finished in the top 7 in MVP voting each year since. Suns fans thank you, Tillman!
Sometime in the next couple of weeks, the Commissioner Adam Silver will name replacements for any of these All-Stars who cannot play in the actual All-Star game in Cleveland later this month, including Draymond Green.
Suns starters Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton’s names have been floated as possible injury replacements in the West, along with the Spurs’ Dejounte Murray (Spurs) and Anthony Davis (Lakers).