The recent Damian Lillard injury status has changed things up a bit when it comes to NBA All-Star Weekend. The series of events which include All-Star Saturday Night competitions and Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game will now have a new competitor.
The Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker will reportedly join two events in place of Lillard due to the Portland Trail Blazers star’s setback.
Damian Lillard suffers groin injury
Damian Lillard was having another standout season and was chosen to appear amongst reserves in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game featuring Team LeBron vs. Team Giannis. However, during the fourth quarter of his team’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night, Lillard suffered a right groin strain.
Per Oregon Live, Lillard will still attend the All-Star Game in Chicago. Unfortunately, he won’t be participating in the events he was scheduled for, though.
Lillard’s injury occurred when he went for a layup with under four minutes to go in the game. He came down awkwardly and grabbed his right groin in pain. Lillard committed an intentional foul soon after to stop the clock so he could exit the game. He went straight to the locker room.
The Trail Blazers star was originally selected as a 2020 All-Star reserve by NBA coaches. In the NBA All-Star draft, LeBron James selected Lillard to appear on his squad.
WATCH Damian Lillard suffers right groin strain pic.twitter.com/8DpCwHhw4X
— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) February 13, 2020
Following the injury, Lillard said he hoped to be back playing for his team again shortly after the All-Star break. He also gave a vote of confidence for his possible replacement ahead of the official news.
“Hopefully, somebody who should have been there, who didn’t make it, unfortunately, I have to be the fall guy, but hopefully, Devin Booker or somebody like that will get the spot,” Lillard said on Wednesday evening.
Devin Booker to replace Lillard as All-Star, 3-point competitor
With Lillard sidelined, it meant a replacement was necessary for the NBA All-Star events. Many fans felt that Devin Booker was deserving of a spot in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game and now he’ll have one.
This will mark Booker’s first-ever appearance in the annual game. He’s averaging 26.4 points, 6.3 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game for the Suns this season.
Devin Booker will replace the injured Damian Lillard on Team LeBron in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game and 3-Point Contest. pic.twitter.com/mMk5TKNieD
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 13, 2020
In addition to his All-Star status, Booker will be amongst the contestants in Saturday night’s 3-Point Contest. According to Bovada’s odds (via Heavy), Booker enters as a +550 favorite to win the event. Leading all competitors is Duncan Robinson (Heat) at 375, followed by Trae Young at +400. Last year’s winner Joe Harris (Nets) and David Bertans are tied with +450 odds each, as of this report.
Booker is considered a great overall shooter, but not the best three-point shooter in the field. His career percentage is 35.5 percent, which has him as second-worst amongst competitors. Only Atlanta’s Trae Young shoots a worse career percentage with 34.6 percent so far.
However, he also claimed the JBL 3-Point contest trophy just a few years ago. That means the last two champions will be a part of the 2020 field. Will one of them take the trophy again?
Watch the NBA All-Star Saturday telecast on Saturday, February 15 on TNT at 8/7c. The NBA All-Star Game takes place on Sunday, February 16, also on TNT, starting at 8/7c.