New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson will replace Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid in the starting lineup for Team Durant in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, which will be played tonight at State Farm Arena in Atlanta (8 p.m. ET, TNT and ESPN Radio). Team Durant head coach Doc Rivers made the decision to go with Williamson to replace Embiid.
Embiid and his teammate, All-Star Ben Simmons, have been ruled out of the 2021 NBA All-Star game due to the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Embiid and Simmons were exposed to COVID-19 through their personal barber, who had a positive test result and is awaiting another test. Both players traveled by themselves on private planes and had no exposure to other players or people down in the Atlanta bubble.
Fortunately, both players did not come in contact with the other All-Stars in Atlanta.
The NBA announced today that Mavericks guard Luka Doncic has been voted as a starter for the 70th NBA All-Star Game, which will take place at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena on Sunday, March 7, at 7 p.m. CT on TNT.
Doncic is the first Maverick to be voted as a starter two consecutive seasons after starting the game last year. He is just the third Maverick to start an All-Star Game along with Dirk Nowitzki (2007, 2010) and Jason Kidd (1996). Kidd is the only other Dallas player voted in as a starter (Nowitzki started as a replacement for an injured starter twice). Doncic is the 32nd All-Star in franchise history and is the seventh Maverick to earn multiple All-Star nods.
Among league leaders, the 21-year-old Slovenian ranks fifth in scoring (29.1 ppg), third in assists (9.4 apg) and 18th in rebounding (8.6 rpg). Dončić co-leads the NBA in triple-doubles this season (7) and has recorded three 30-point triple-doubles.
Most recently, Doncic set a career scoring mark, pouring in 46 points vs. New Orleans (2/12/21), before recording a second straight 40-point game with 44 vs. Portland (2/14/21).
In January, Doncic averaged 28.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 10.3 assists. After averaging a 30-point triple-double in November 2019, Doncic is now the third player in NBA history to average 25-10-10 in multiple calendar months (min. 10 games), joining Oscar Robertson and Russell Westbrook.
Fans accounted for 50% of the vote to determine the 10 starters for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game. All current NBA players and a media panel accounted for 25% each. Those voters completed one full ballot featuring two guards and three frontcourt players from each conference.
For the first time, the entire NBA All-Star celebration will take place on one night, with on-court action beginning at 5:30 p.m. CT. TNT’s coverage will begin at 4 p.m. CT with “TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by CarMax,” followed by the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge and MTN DEW® 3-Point Contest at 5:30 p.m. CT. Coverage of the 70th NBA All-Star Game will begin at 7 p.m. CT, with AT&T Slam Dunk taking place at halftime. The game will follow the same format as last year, with the teams competing to win each quarter and playing to a Final Target Score during the untimed fourth quarter.
This year’s NBA All-Star game was not very good. Actually, it was hot garbage! Too many dunks and not enough defense. End of the day, it is an exhibition game. How much good basketball do you expect to see in an exhibition game? The NBA still has the best all star game out there(not saying much), but if the players took it just a tad more seriously it would make for a better game.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told a group at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference a few changes he had in mind:
“You hear people talking about 4-point shots, something that’s not about to happen in the NBA but maybe in an All-Star Game; maybe there is few spots on the floor where it is a 4-point shot, maybe there’s a half-court shot in the last minute that is 10 points. I don’t know. Maybe those are crazy ideas.”
I don’t like any of those ideas, but what do I know!