NBA fans voted in their choices for Sunday’s 64th annual All-Star Game, but thanks to a spat of injuries they won’t quite get the line-ups they requested. The Western Conference’s roster has suffered injuries to Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, L.A. Clippers forward Blake Griffin, and most recently New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis.
Over in the Eastern Conference, Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler went down Tuesday with a shoulder injury and now his All-Star status is in doubt. Butler’s already been ruled out for Chicago’s Thursday night matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Nevertheless, the injuries have opened opportunities for two players especially due an All Star nod, and perhaps the last appearance for one of the league’s greats.
Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins was selected as Bryant’s replacement earlier this month, and Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, considered the biggest snub this season after coaches left him off their vote, will fill in for Griffin.
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki will make his 13th All-Star appearance as Davis’ replacement.
Who fills in for Butler, should he actually sit out, is currently unknown. But some likely candidates include Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Knight, Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker, Atlanta Hawks sharpshooter Kyle Korver or even Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic.
All of the injuries have forced first-time West head coach Steve Kerr to tinker with his starting lineup, but the decision wasn’t too difficult given the talent on his bench.
Kerr will turn to this Golden State Warriors two-guard Klay Thompson and Houston Rockets and NBA leading scorer James Harden to start in place of Bryant and Griffin. Kerr could turn to Cousins or Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge for Davis’ starting nod.
Check out the starting line ups and full rosters below.
G John Wall, Washington Wizards
G Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
F LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
F Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
C-F Pau Gasol, Chicago Bulls
G Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
G Jeff Teague, Atlanta Hawks
G Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
G-F Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls
F Paul Millsap, Atlanta Hawks
C-F Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks
C Chris Bosh, Miami Heat
G Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
G Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers (Out due to injury)
F Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers (Out due to injury)
C-F Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans (Out due to injury)
C Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies
G Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
G James Harden, Houston Rockets
G Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
G Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (Griffin’s replacement)
F LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers
F Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
F Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
F Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks (Davis’s replacement)
C DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings (Bryant’s replacement)