D'Angelo Russell — the former No. 2 pick of the Lakers that Magic Johnson traded away saying “what I needed was a leader” — is going to be an All-Star. Before any of the Lakers’ young core.
Russell was named as an injury replacement for the All-Star Game, taking the place of the Pacers’ Victor Oladipo, who suffered a ruptured quadriceps tendon and is unable to play. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver gets to make the call on the replacements.
This is Russell’s first All-Star selection and it’s well deserved. Russell is averaging 19.6 points, 6.4 assists, and 3.8 rebounds a game, leading the surprising Nets to a 28-25 mark and in the playoffs in the East. The Nets deserved an All-Star and Russell has earned this spot with his play.
Russell was one of the logical replacements for Oladipo, along with the Philadelphia’s Jimmy Butler, who is averaging 19.3 points and 5 rebounds a game. Silver made his selection on the player who got the most votes among the All-Star reserves selected by the coaches. What Butler did in Minnesota to start the season — forcing a trade with his behavior and essentially torpedoing the Timberwolves season — did not sit well with coaches around the league. Not every one of them was going to put him on their ballot.