It is a smart call by the league — Brook Lopez will replace Rajon Rondo on the Eastern Conference All-Star team, the league announced.
The fans voted Rajon Rondo into a starting slot for the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game, but his ACL injury has him out for the rest of the season.
David Stern gets to fill Rondo’s roster spot, but he is not bound by position — he didn’t have to pick another point guard. Instead he went to the opposite in Lopez, who has been the best offensive center in the Eastern Conference this season. Lopez has averaging 18.6 points per game shooting 52.3 percent while pulling down 7.3 rebounds a game, with a PER of 25.1 (a number that normally suggests All-Star lock).
In the East, he was the most obvious snub and deserving to go, regardless of position.
This will be the first All-Star Game for Lopez and he will be the lone representative of the Nets, a 27-18 team that is currently the four seed in the East.
Joel Embiid on Monday will have an MRI on his injured left knee and is now listed as out indefinitely.
Embiid has been experiencing swelling and soreness in the left knee injury that has caused him to miss 16 out of the last 17 games. Bryan Colangelo announced back on Feb. 11 that Embiid has a minor meniscal tear. In his most recent press conference last Friday, Colangelo had targeted this Friday’s home game against the Knicks as a possibility for Embiid’s return. Now, that isn’t the case.
Embiid had been the biggest ray of hope for Philadelphia, but the 76ers shouldn’t chase watchability down the stretch. Sit Embiid until he’s fully healthy and secure the best draft position possible.
Maybe Embiid’s body just can’t handle the rigors of NBA basketball, but Philadelphia has no choice but to hope for the best with him and Simmons. And hope the nail the their first-round pick this year and get the Lakers’ first-rounder.
This could still be a dangerously good team in coming years. The Process created that potential.
But the threat of injury always looms around the corner, maybe especially so for Embiid.
Report: Knicks’ Joakim Noah likely to miss rest of season after knee surgery
Prepare for the talk next fall about Noah feeling refreshed and ready to help the Knicks.
But this surgery won’t reverse the underlying problem: Noah is a 31-year-old big man with heavy mileage. He can manage his knees, but it’s probably too late for him to regain enough athleticism to reliably contribute.
Just three years and $55 million+ remaining on his contract, which already looked like the NBA’s worst deal and is now even more unfavorable.
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