Pacers’ Domantas Sabonis Replaces Nets’ Kevin Durant In 2021 NBA All-Star Game
Domantas Sabonis
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis has been selected as the All-Star Game injury replacement for the Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant. This came after it was revealed that Durant’s hamstring injury would require a more significant rehab process than originally thought.

One of the games Durant missed was the Nets’ blowout win against the Los Angeles Lakers. He was thought to be nearing a return but Brooklyn reversed course and instead ruled him out through the All-Star break.

The Nets are 6-0 in his absence due to the remarkable play of James Harden and Kyrie Irving. Durant joins the Lakers’ Anthony Davis in the second All-Star to be replaced due to injury.

Sabonis is now part of the reserves pool for the draft as he continues to excel during the 2020-21 season. The fifth-year big man is averaging a career-high 21.6 points and 5.8 assists to go along with 11.5 rebounds. He’s doing this while shooting an efficient 53.1% from the field.

Durant being out sets off a significant chain reaction in terms of the All-Star Game Draft that will take place on March 4. When any player — reserve or starter — is ruled out, NBA commissioner Adam Silver appoints a replacement that automatically joins the reserve pool.

Because Durant was a starter, the highest vote-getter from the reserves jumped up to replace him in the lineup. That honor belongs to Boston Celtics young star Jayson Tatum. Normally it would end there, but since Durant had the most votes and was supposed to be a team captain, someone potentially needed to step in and fill that role.

However, the league decided to keep Durant as captain. If they had gone to the next leading vote-getter after Durant in the East, it would have been a third consecutive year in which Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo accompanied LeBron James in selecting teams.

Sabonis rightfully gets a second consecutive All-Star bid, while Tatum becomes a first-time starter. The Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker was recently selected as the injury alternate for Davis in the Western Conference.

Davis staying engaged with teammates while sidelined

Despite the fact that he will be out for at least two more weeks, Davis is not disconnecting from his teammates off the court. He has been involved in everything he can be, showing his commitment to the Lakers franchise.

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