LaMelo Ball, Dejounte Murray were named as NBA All-Star replacements.
Every year there are players who are very much deserving of making the NBA All-Star game but they do not. This happens because voting for the All-Star game has turned into a popularity contest rather than who actually has the stats to back up the season they have been having.
Getting snubbed from the original voting does not mean you don’t have a chance to make it and that was true for LaMelo Ball and Dejounte Murray who were chosen as replacements for Kevin Durant and Draymond Green.
Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball
The 20-year-old Charlotte Hornets point guard will be making his first-ever All-Star appearance in the 71st NBA All-Star game, Sunday, February 20 at 8 p.m. EST. Ball becomes just the third youngest All-Star ever behind Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Not bad company at all for LaMelo to be in.
In 48 games played this season, Ball is averaging 19.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 7.5 assists. He is also shooting 42.1 percent from the field, 35.7 percent from the 3-point line, and 87.3 percent from the free-throw line. The Hornets are currently 28-27 and sit at ninth in the Eastern Conference.
LaMelo knows a thing or two about taking the unconventional road and has always had some adversity to face. Ball was ineligible to play in the NCAA. This was due to the Big Baller Brand releasing the Melo Ball 1 signature shoe. Looking for somewhere else to play Melo found himself in Australia where he would play for the Illawarra Hawks.
Ball played incredibly in the NBL (National Basketball League) and he was making a name for himself in the upcoming NBA draft. He was selected with the third overall pick in the 2020 draft where he would go on to win 2020-21 Rookie of the Year and first-team All-Rookie honors as well in the 2021 season.
Proving the doubters wrong, LaMelo is having an incredible start to his NBA career and he even made an All-Star game before his older brother Lonzo. Just some bragging rights when the family sits down at the Thanksgiving table next year.
Ball has worked extremely hard to be where he is at today and I know he is not satisfied with being a replacement for the All-Star game. If he keeps up his stellar play for years to come, he could find himself in a starting spot in a future All-Star game.
San Antonio Spurs: Dejounte Murray
Nobody’s journey in the NBA is similar and that is true for San Antonio’s point guard Dejounte Murray. The 25-year-old is in his fifth NBA season and was truly someone who was snubbed from the original voting for the All-Star game. Murray was the 29th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft and his numbers have been increasing every year.
In the 2021-22 NBA season Murray is averaging numbers that are just shy of a triple-double and that is no easy task to do. With 47 games played this year he’s got 19.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 9.2 assists per game.
Despite a 20-34 record, Dejounte is having his best NBA season yet and was still left out of the original players selected.
You just love to see things like this. Murray tweeted on February 15, 2015, that “I Want To Play In A NBA All-Star Game One Day” and that dream has become a reality. His path to becoming an All-Star was not traditional, but sometimes you have to be thankful for the little things like even being chosen as a replacement for the All-Star game.
Murray has always had this potential in him, though sometimes it takes time to find it. His stats are increasing every year and that’s all you can ask out of a young guy like Dejounte. He even was selected to first-team All-Defense in 2017-18. Now he has All-Star to add to his resume.
The 2022 NBA All-Star weekend will run from February 18-20. On Friday, the 18th, there will be the Ruffles NBA All-Star Celebrity Game at 7 p.m. and the Clorox Rising Stars game at 9 p.m. Saturday, the 19th, will have the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night events starting at 8 p.m. These events include the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, the Mountain Dew 3-Point Contest, and the AT&T Slam Dunk Contest. Finally, the 71st All-Star game will start at 8 p.m on Sunday, the 20th.