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LeBron James, others speak out on Devin Booker’s NBA All-Star snub

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives the ball as Anthony Davis #3 sets a pick on Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns during the first half of the NBA preseason game at Talking Stick Resort Arena on December 18, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Phoenix Suns shooting guard Devin Booker has always had the respect of his peers in the National Basketball Association. That has been known.

But Booker’s still fighting an uphill climb when it comes to making All-Star cases for coaches.

For the second straight year, Booker was snubbed as a pick for the Western Conference reserves.

This was met by criticism from many notable names across the NBA community, including Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James.

The 24-year-old Booker made it as an injury replacement for Portland’s Damian Lillard last season, and has that chance this year as well with Los Angeles Lakers All-Star forward Anthony Davis injured.

The Suns, at 20-10, sport the NBA’s fourth-best record. They are the only team out of the league’s top-six that does not have multiple All-Stars. This is particularly amusing considering the past and present circumstances, as the biggest negative around Booker’s previous cases was the lack of wins. So too, was Booker’s defensive play, which makes the selection of New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson over Booker a bit strange.

Williamson on a 13-17 team has been a defensive liability for the Pelicans all year. While his all-around play has been excellent in the past few weeks after a slow start to the season, that’s the same flow to the year that Booker had. Williamson’s 25.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game on a 65.6% true shooting percentage are not decisively better than Booker’s numbers of 24.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game on a 60.7% true shooting percentage.

Booker has been the better defender this season and is on the far better team. But, he missed the cut.

Back in January of 2020 when Booker spoke for the first time since not making it, he was critical of the process and sounded rather over it.

“It was always a goal of mine (to be an All-Star), but it just reproves the point that the NBA is different than the game that I fell in love with at the beginning — of all the best players in the All-Star game — growing up watching that,” he said. “And now it’s an entertainment-, drama-, political-filled league.

“But we’re a part of it now. It pays well so I guess we should be quiet about it.”

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