Three former University of Kentucky stars — the Sacramento Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins, the New Orleans Pelicans’ Anthony Davis and the Washington Wizards’ John Wall — were chosen as reserves for next month’s NBA All-Star Game.
The reserves for the Feb. 14 game in Toronto were announced on TNT on Thursday night. They were selected by the head coaches in each conference, who had to vote for seven players: two guards, three frontcourt players and two additional players at any position. They weren’t allowed to vote for players from their own team.
Draymond Green and Klay Thompson were picked for the Western Conference team, giving the NBA champion Golden State Warriors three All-Stars for the first time in 40 years. The West’s reserves will also include Cousins, Davis, Houston’s James Harden, San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge and the Clippers’ Chris Paul.
The Raptors’ DeMar DeRozan will represent the home team and is joined by fellow East reserves Wall, Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Detroit’s Andre Drummond, Miami’s Chris Bosh, Atlanta’s Paul Millsap and Boston’s Isaiah Thomas.
Going into Thursday night’s games, Cousins was third in the league in scoring (27.3 points per game), fourth in rebounding (11.3), fifth in field goals made per game (9.2), second in free throws made (7.6), first in free throws attempted (10.4) and fourth in double-doubles (26).
The Sacramento Bee reported that Cousins is also expected to participate in the skills challenge.
It will be Cousins’ second All-Star Game. He also was a reserve for last year’s game in New York. He had 14 points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes for the Western Conference team that beat the Eastern Conference 163-158.
Cousins has been especially productive this month, scoring 30 or more points in nine of 13 games and leading the Kings to an 8-5 record and into contention for their first playoff appearance in 10 years.
Wall, now a three-time All-Star, is 23rd in the league in scoring (19.6), third in assists (9.8), sixth in steals (2.1) and second among guards in double-doubles with 24.
He had 19 points and seven assists in last year’s All-Star Game.
“I’m honored to be able to represent the Wizards organization, my coaches and teammates and our fans for a third time at All-Star Weekend,” Wall told the Monumental Network. “I’m looking forward to enjoying the festivities in Toronto, but my main focus will continue to be getting our team ready for a playoff push both before and after the break.”
Davis, also a three-time All-Star, is 10th in scoring (22.9), ninth in rebounding (10.2), second in blocked shots. (2.4) and eighth in double-doubles (23).
A shoulder injury kept him out of last year’s All-Star Game.
Previously voted as starters by fans in the East were Cleveland’s LeBron James, Miami’s Dwyane Wade, New York’s Carmelo Anthony, Indiana’s Paul George and Toronto’s Kyle Lowry. DeRozan joins Lowry as the first starting backcourt to play an All-Star Game in their home city since the Los Angeles Lakers’ Jerry West and Gail Goodrich in 1972.
The West starters are Golden State’s Stephen Curry, the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard and Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Any players who have to withdraw because of injury would be replaced by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich will coach the West and Cleveland’s Tyronn Lue leads the East.
Friday, Feb. 12: Rising Stars Challenge
Saturday, Feb. 13: All-Star Saturday Night, including skills challenge, three-point shooting and dunk contests
Sunday, Feb. 14: NBA All-Star Game
According to UK, 12 former players have been chosen as NBA All-Stars: Ralph Beard (1951), Alex Groza (1951), Cliff Hagan (1958-62), Adrian Smith (1966), Dan Issel (1977), Antoine Walker (1998, 2002-03), Jamal Mashburn (2003), Jamaal Magloire (2004), Rajon Rondo (2010-13), Anthony Davis (2014-16), John Wall (2014-16) and DeMarcus Cousins (2015-16).