Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors

James Harden to start All-Star Game for Kobe Bryant


Kobe Bryant was already replaced on the Western Conference All-Star roster with Anthony Davis, but that was only half the process. Kobe must also be replaced in the starting lineup.

Looks like that’s settled, too.

Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports:

Injured Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant will be replaced as a Western Conference All-Star starter by Houston Rockets guard James Harden, a source told Yahoo Sports.

Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks, who is coaching the West All-Stars, chose Harden as a starter.

Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $70,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Tuesday night’s games – the first games after All-Star Break. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $9,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Tuesday. Here’s the FanDuel link.

I thought Chris Paul, the third-leading vote-getter among Western Conference guards and best All-Star reserve at any position in either conference, deserved the start. Oh, well. Paul will still get his minutes, and if he’s playing well, he’ll be on the court in the final few minutes when both teams play hard.

However, I like the sentiment behind Brooks picking Harden, his former sixth man with the Thunder. That’s just a nice show of respect from the coach.

Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers dislocated shoulder in preseason game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Solomon Hill
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Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:

A few hours after the game, the Hornets announced that Kidd-Gilchrist has a dislocated shoulder:

Depending on the severity of the injury, he could miss a few weeks or a few months. Hopefully, it’s the shorter end of that timeline. We should know more on Sunday.