Paul George replaces DeMarcus Cousins for 2018 NBA All-Star Game
After being named a 2018 NBA All-Star Game starter, DeMarcus Cousins was chosen by LeBron James (leading vote-getter) in the inaugural draft. Unfortunately, Cousins suffered a ruptured Achilles against the Houston Rockets and will miss the remainder of the 2017-18 NBA season.
As a result of the season-ending injury, commissioner Adam Silver has chosen Paul George to replace Cousins in Los Angeles according to NBA:
Oklahoma City Thunder forward @Yg_Trece has been named by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to replace injured Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins on #TeamLeBron in the 2018 #NBAAllStar Game. pic.twitter.com/FpL6qC8iXs
— 2018 NBA All-Star (@NBAAllStar) January 28, 2018
While there were numerous players deserving of the honor such as Chris Paul and Lou Williams, Silver chose George because he received the most votes from head coaches according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype:
One the reasons why Adam Silver chose Paul George to replace DeMarcus Cousins in the All-Star Game? "George received the most voting points from NBA head coaches among Western Conference players who were not selected as reserves," per NBA announcement.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) January 28, 2018
For George, this will mark his fifth All-Star appearance. After spending seven seasons with the Indiana Pacers, the 27-year-old is averaging 20.9 points (41.7 percent from the three-point line), 5.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.2 steals in his first season with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
As the Thunder cope with Andre Roberson’s injury, they have won seven consecutive games and George has played a major role in their recent success. While playing in the All-Star Game in his hometown will certainly be special, George’s focus is on helping Oklahoma City win a championship.
Although there is uncertainty about George’s future with the Thunder, how far they go will likely determine if he re-signs. Alongside Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony, George and the Thunder have shown they can beat the championship contenders. However, the challenge will be beating the teams they are supposed to beat.
As the fifth spot in the Western Conference, the Thunder are an intriguing team heading into All-Star weekend.