Brooklyn Nets F Kevin Durant will be replaced by Indiana Pacers PF Domantas Sabonis for the Eastern Conference in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday afternoon. Durant is dealing with a hamstring injury and the Nets ruled him out until at least the All-Star break. Sabonis was snubbed from the East All-Stars after making the team for the first time in 2019-20.
Pacers star Domantas Sabonis is expected to replace Kevin Durant on the Eastern Conference All-Star team, source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 26, 2021
Durant was supposed to be the captain of the East All-Stars, so we’ll need to see who will replace him in that role. It could be teammate Kyrie Irving or reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. We’ll also need to see if this clears the way for Nets G James Harden to replace Durant in the starting lineup. The Nets starters were announced as Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal, Durant, Giannis and Joel Embiid. Beal could move to SF with Harden playing in the backcourt with Irving.
Update: Boston Celtics F Jayson Tatum will replace Durant in the starting lineup.
Sabonis is definitely deserving of being an All-Star this season, averaging 21.5 points, 11.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists on 52/35/70 shooting splits. He made his first All-Star game last season after averaging similar numbers: 18.5 points, 12.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists over 62 games. The Pacers have been riddled with injuries this season and are still in good standing in the East, entering Friday at 15-15 and in the 4-seed in the conference.