For the first time since acquiring Anthony Davis three seasons ago, the Los Angeles Lakers will receive just one selection for the NBA All-Star Game. LeBron James, for the fifth year in a row, will serve as a starter and a captain for the 2022 edition of the game in Cleveland.
Davis — who had been an All-Star in eight consecutive seasons — was not chosen due to an injury that caused him to miss nearly 20 games. Russell Westbrook, meanwhile, was not selected after inconsistent play plagued the first half of his season. Westbrook had been an All-Star in nine of the last 11 seasons.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel was surprised to see James be the team’s only selection but understood the reasoning behind it. “Yeah, that’s a little surprising. Obviously, we feel like those guys should be on there,” Vogel said. “But obviously, I think where you are at in the standings matters with these types of things.
“Teams in the top one, two and three usually get one or two All-Stars. A lot of teams that aren’t there don’t. I think it’s probably more indicative of our win-loss record.”
When the All-Star reserve selections were revealed on Thursday, the Lakers were ninth in the Western Conference standings at 25-27. After a loss to the L.A. Clippers on Thursday night, they fell to 25-28 and are now four games behind the sixth-place Denver Nuggets.
Without a drastic improvement, the Lakers appear destined for the Play-In Tournament, making it the second straight year they’ve been a part of it in the three years since its inception. Teams struggling to stay afloat in the standings rarely get multiple All-Stars.
Had Davis been healthy all season, it’s very likely that he replaces one of the seven Western Conference reserves. But then the Lakers would also likely have a few more wins and would be higher in the standings.
At this point, All-Star selections should not be the Lakers’ focus. Instead, they need to figure out how they can turn their season around without making a drastic move at the upcoming trade deadline.
NBA reveals re-designed All-Star Game MVP trophy
Following the tragic death of Kobe Bryant in 2020, the NBA swiftly moved to name the All-Star Game MVP award after the Lakers legend. Ahead of the 2022 contest, the league revealed a re-designed trophy that will now be known as the Kobe Bryant Trophy for the Kia All-Star Game MVP.
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