Devin Booker, Chris Paul named as 2022 NBA All-Star Game reserves
Coaches have voted Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker and Chris Paul into the 2022 NBA All-Star game as reserves, the league announced Thursday.
It’s Booker’s third All-Star recognition but the first time he’s made the initial choice of reserves after being an injury replacement each of the last two years. Last season, he was named an All-Star but didn’t appear in the game due to a knee injury. Booker was replaced by the Jazz’s Mike Conley after Booker made the game in place of the Lakers’ Anthony Davis.
In 2020, Booker was a late addition to take the spot of injured Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard.
Paul prepares to make his 12th All-Star appearance and second as a member of the Suns.
Booker and Paul were named as All-Star reserves after being outvoted as starters for the Western Conference. Fans accounted for 50% of the vote, while the votes for players and media each carried 25% of the weight.
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant got the edge in the guard voting ahead of the two Suns, though Warriors wing Andrew Wiggins was a controversial selection as one of three frontcourt players. The Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James and Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic filled out the starters.
Those starters and five from the Eastern Conference will be split into teams captained by James and the Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant, who will draft their teams on Feb. 10 before the Feb. 20 game in Cleveland.
Because the Suns hold the NBA’s best record, their coaching staff led by Monty Williams has already been named to coach Team LeBron.
The rest of the Western Conference reserve picks along with Booker and Paul went as expected: Utah’s Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, Dallas’ Luka Doncic, Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns and Golden State’s Draymond Green.
This season in 43 games, Booker is averaging 25.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. He’s shooting 45% overall and 38% from three-point range.
The 36-year-old Paul is averaging 14.9 points, 10.4 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game. Paul has played every game through the league-leading Suns’ 41-9 start and leads the NBA in assist average.
Phoenix’s backcourt duo has notably made the biggest difference as clutch performers this year. The Suns are 20-3 in games where they either led or trailed by five or fewer points with less than five minutes to play.
Booker (67%) and Paul (56%) have not only shot well in clutch time but have propped up their teammates in clutch moments. Phoenix leads the league in offensive rating (135.5), defensive rating (90.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (4.36) in clutch time.
Fellow Suns Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges, who received some All-Star consideration in the voting process, could still have a chance to make the game due to injuries. Green said on the TNT broadcast that he will not be able to play in the game.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver selects replacements.