According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Utah Jazz veteran Mike Conley has been selected as Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker’s injury replacement for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game. Conley will also serve as Booker’s replacement in the 3-Point Contest.
Booker, who was initially seen as the biggest snub of the 2021 NBA All-Star selections, had recently been named as an injury replacement for Los Angeles Lakers star forward Anthony Davis.
After going 14 seasons without receiving an All-Star selection, Conley may feel as unheralded by fans as he feels respected by his peers.
A floor general whose best skill may be his consistency, the 33-year-old has long been considered one of the better players at his position. Unfortunately, as a player who has spent his entire career playing for the Western Conference, Conley’s bid for an All-Star berth has been a Royal Rumble of sorts.
As talented as he is, it’s always going to be difficult to make a case for why he should be selected over perennial All-Stars like James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard (all of whom play the same position). Even with Harden and Westbrook heading east the West still has stars and superstars like Donovan Mitchell and Luka Doncic waiting in the wings.
That being said, Conley’s ability to earn his first All-Star nod in his 14th NBA season is as impressive as it is heartwarming.
The former fourth overall pick is averaging 16.1 points, 5.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game this season while shooting .444 percent from the field, .422 percent from 3-point range and .829 percent from the free-throw line.