Hornets' Kemba Walker named to NBA All-Star Game

Rick Bonnell, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Basketball

PORTLAND, Ore. -- It took several injuries to get him there, but Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker will be an All-Star in back-to-back seasons.

The NBA announced Thursday that Walker will replace injured New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis as a reserve in the All-Star Game Feb. 18 in Los Angeles. Walker was an All-Star last season, selected by Eastern Conference coaches as a reserve.

Porzingis was diagnosed with an ACL tear after injuring himself in Tuesday's game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Walker said last month -- after Cleveland Cavaliers big man Kevin Love suffered a broken hand -- that he would love to be named an All-Star replacement.

Walker, 27, is averaging 22.6 points and 5.8 assists, productivity comparable to last season. However, the Hornets' record ( 23-30) probably worked against him when the Eastern Conference coaches picked seven reserves.

Since those selections were made, three players from the Eastern Conference -- Love, Washington Wizards guard John Wall and Porzingis -- had to drop out because of injury. Previously, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver named Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond and Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic as replacements.

Walker became Charlotte's all-time leader in 3-point field goals on Feb. 4, surpassing the previous high of 929 by Dell Curry.


Walker's logical competition for this spot was probably the Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons, who is averaging 16.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.2 assists.

The NBA has shaken up its All-Star Game format this season. Instead of the Eastern Conference against the Western Conference, All-Stars Stephen Curry and LeBron James were chosen as captains, and chose teams in a pick-up game fashion.

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