Adam Silver deferred to coaches’ All-Star vote to choose DeMarcus Cousins over Damian Lillard


Adam Silver surprised DeMarcus Cousins and motivated Damian Lillard and left the rest of us wondering:

How did the NBA commissioner choose the Kings center as Kobe Bryant’s All-Star injury replacement?

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Silver on ESPN Radio:

I didn’t like having to make that choice, and I wish I had another slot for Damian, because I think he’s so deserving of being an All-Star as well.

I rely heavily on our basketball folks in terms of where the coaches came out. Of course, there’s a fan vote for the starters and then the coaches choose the reserves. And DeMarcus was very high up on the coaches’ vote, so that had a strong influence on me. And I think, ultimately, I deferred to them.

DeMarcus, based on his numbers, absolutely deserves to be an All-Star. With Damian his numbers are great, too. But when I look at his team’s record, I want to take that into account as well. Damian is someone who has literally been a model citizen in terms of what he’s done in the community in Portland, activities he’s engaged in with the league.

So, it was essentially a tie in my mind, so I ultimately deferred to the coaches.

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That’s as good a way as any, though I wonder whether Silver saw the coaches’ vote before deciding to let that guide him.

Both Lillard and Cousins are deserving of making the All-Star team. Lillard has a chance to complete the best non-All-Star season in NBA history, and Cousins would have too if not selected.

I don’t envy Silver for having to make that choice, and it is a bit strange how many hands determine All-Star rosters – fans, coaches and the commissioner at different stages of the process. It seems Silver found a way to clear a cook from the kitchen.

Maybe it should just be a rule injury replacements are determined by place in the coaches’ reserve voting.