Pacers’ Domantas Sabonis to replace Nets’ Kevin Durant in All-Star game

Pacers big Domantas Sabonis vs. Nets
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The NBA’s problem of being overrun with players who look like All-Stars is slowly solving itself.

Though it’d help if Eastern Conference coaches and NBA commissioner Adam Silver did a better job selecting All-Stars.

Nets forward Kevin Durant, who’d been out with a hamstring injury, will remain out through the All-Star break. His All-Star replacement? Pacers big Domantas Sabonis.

Nets:

NBA:

Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis has been named by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to replace injured Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, which will be played on Sunday, March 7

Sabonis is having a good season. He helps Indiana in so many ways – passing, screening, rebounding, scoring inside against weaker opponents. But his effectiveness drops considerably against bigger/more athletic foes, and his defense – both protecting the rim and on the perimeter – is lacking. Again, he’s a good player. He just doesn’t quite hold up relative to other options.

Heat wing Jimmy Butler, Bucks wing Khris Middleton, Heat big Bam Adebayo, Hawks guard Trae Young and Bucks guard Jrue Holiday would have all been substantially better choices.

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, who ranked fourth in Eastern Conference frontcourt starter voting, moves into the starter pool. But it’s unclear how the All-Star draft will proceed. Will Durant remain captain? If so, when will he get an extra first-round pick with an odd number of non-captain starters (nine)? Or will Giannis Antetokounmpo, who received the second-most fan votes in the East, become captain?

Brooklyn’s schedule until the All-Star break:

  • Saturday: vs. Mavericks
  • Monday: at Spurs
  • Wednesday: at Rockets

It’d be nice for Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving to develop more chemistry together. But the Nets have already proven to be dangerous. Get them in the playoffs healthy, and they’re a major threat.