New Philadelphia 76ers star James Harden will not participate in the upcoming 2022 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday because of the nagging hamstring injury that has been bothering him. With Harden out of the All-Star exhibition, Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen and Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam are believed to be the top candidates to replace him. Other players like Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown and Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday could also be considered.
Given this year's NBA All-Star Game is Cleveland, Allen is the popular choice. Of course, the Cavs center is extremely deserving and arguably should have made the cut to begin with.
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Allen, who was part of the Harden trade last season, is having a career campaign in 2021-22 for an upstart Cleveland squad. The big man is averaging 16.2 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks while shooting 66.5% from the field. The 23-year-old is a key pillar of the Cavs' elite defense alongside rookie Evan Mobley. Cleveland is a shocking 35-22 on the season.
While Allen would be a great pick, Siakam has been coming on real strong. The Raptors star missed the beginning of this NBA season because of shoulder surgery, but he has been on a real heater to get his team back in the mix for a possible spot in the top six in the Eastern Conference.
In seven February games, Siakam is averaging 27.1 points, 10.9 rebounds and 5.6 assists while shooting 61.1% overall and 42.9% from 3-point range while playing a massive minutes load. Toronto is 6-1 in those seven games. For the season, Siakam is averaging 22.1 points, 8.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists while shooting 50.0% from the field and 35.6% from 3-point range.
Brown and Holiday have also been terrific for quality teams, but Allen and Siakam do seem to be the consensus top options to replace Harden, who was the final pick of the 2022 NBA All-Star Draft for Team LeBron. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will make the All-Star replacement selection soon.