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Suns’ Devin Booker snubbed, Chris Paul named NBA All-Star reserve

Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns talks with Devin Booker #1 during the second half of the NBA game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Phoenix Suns Arena on December 29, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Phoenix Suns will have an All-Star this season but there’s a good case they should have had two. While point guard Chris Paul was named to the Western Conference All-Star reserves on Tuesday, shooting guard Devin Booker was not.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania first reported the news.

For the second straight year, Booker was not named to the original list of All-Star reserves. He was an injury replacement for Portland’s Damian Lillard last year and could be in line for that spot again with injured Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis among the reserves.

His per-game numbers this season are down, but his efficiency is up. Booker is averaging 24.7 points, 4.3 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game while shooting a career-high 50% from the field. He’s also hitting 38% from three-point range.

Booker is coming on strong of late for the 20-10 Suns, who have won 12 of their last 14 heading into Tuesday. His monthly averages reflect his steady tune-up as the year has gone on, as he averaged 20.2 points in December, 24.3 in January and 26.8 points so far in February.

While coaches’ votes for the All-Star reserves were already due before Phoenix beat the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night, Booker’s 34-point outburst in 29 minutes exemplified his impact on the team as it cruised to a second-straight 30-plus-point victory.

“There’s no doubt about it,” head coach Monty Williams said after the 132-100 win. “Nobody can debate Book’s not an All-Star. End of story.”

Paul, in his 16th NBA season, clinched his spot on the exhibition roster by ranking sixth in the league in assists per game (8.5), including a 19-assist performance against the Pelicans on Friday night.

Paul, who was acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder via trade this offseason, is averaging 16.6 points, 8.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game while shooting 49% from the field and 40% from deep.

Paul has made 10 trips to the All-Star Game heading into this season. He made a yearly pilgrimage between 2008 and 2016 and appeared once again last season with Oklahoma City.

Paul will be joined on this year’s Western Conference All-Star roster by starting guards Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic, plus starting frontcourt players LeBron James, Nikola Jokic and Kawhi Leonard.

The NBA All-Star Game will be held at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena on Sunday, March 7.

Here are the Western Conference reserves reported by Charania:

Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers

Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers

Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz

Chris Paul, Phoenix Suns

Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans

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