Ex-Cats

NBA All-Star snubs? Here are 3 former UK players who missed the cut

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, in Denver. Phoenix won 108-100.
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, in Denver. Phoenix won 108-100. AP

The NBA announced its All-Star reserves Tuesday night with Karl-Anthony Towns and John Wall joining fellow former Kentucky Wildcats Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins on the roster for next month’s game. Davis and Cousins were named All-Star starters last week.

Here are three former Kentucky players whose names were not called. They all had solid cases for consideration and finished among the top 10 in their categories in voting by fans, players and media.

The case for Devin Booker

Booker is the face of the Phoenix Suns’ franchise and one of the best scorers in the league.

But it was the Suns’ record, 17-30 and 13th in the West, and his conference’s depth at guard, that kept Booker off the roster.

Booker is tied for eighth in the NBA in scoring at 25.0 points per game. He’s also tied for 33rd in assists with 4.7.

He was ninth in Western Conference backcourt voting by the fans, players and media. That included an impressive fourth-place finish in the players’ voting.

Booker’s reaction on Twitter: “Opinions over statistics.”

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported later Tuesday that his sources said Booker plans to compete in the three-point shooting contest during All-Star Weekend.

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Milwaukee Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe (6) in the second half during an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Wednesday, Nov 22, 2017, in Phoenix. The Bucks defeated the Suns 113-107 in overtime. Rick Scuteri AP

The case for Eric Bledsoe

Bledsoe leads the league in steals with 2.21 and also averages 17.5 points and 4.2 assists per game for the Milwaukee Bucks.

But he has also been on two teams this season that have fired their coaches, first with the Suns (Earl Watson) and now with the Bucks (Jason Kidd).

Bledsoe finished 10th in the Eastern Conference backcourt voting by fans, players and the media.

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New York Knicks center Enes Kanter (00) rebounds the ball over New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins (0) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017. Jonathan Bachman AP

The case for Enes Kanter

Enes Kanter, the New York Knicks’ starting center, is 11th in the NBA rebounding at 10.0 per contest. He averages 13.5 points.

His team’s record, 21-26 and 10th in the East, didn’t help his case.

Kanter finished ninth among Eastern Conference frontcourt players in the overall voting by fans, players and media. That included a ninth-place finish in voting by the players.

Dennis Varney: 859-231-3514, @ExCats

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