- The NBA has named Mike Conley as Devin Booker’s replacement for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game.
- Conley will be making his first-ever All-Star game appearance in 14 NBA seasons.
- His Utah Jazz have the best record in the league at 27-9 and have the 4th best odds to win the NBA title at +800.
This wasn’t how Mike Conley drew up his first All-Star game selection but he’ll take it anyway.
Conley was selected by NBA to replace Devin Booker in the 2021 NBA All-Star game on Saturday at Atlanta.
???? @utahjazz Guard @MCONLEY10 has been named by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to replace injured Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker on #TeamDurant in the 2021 #NBAAllStar Game. pic.twitter.com/5q8E6j0i9o
— #NBAAllStar (@NBAAllStar) March 6, 2021
Booker suffered a knee sprain during the first quarter of Phoenix’s game against the Golden State Warriors last Thursday and will be unable to make the trip to Atlanta. Since Booker also earned his All-Star nod as a replacement, Conley is the replacement of the replacement for Lakers’ big man Anthony Davis who is also out with an injury.
Best Player Never to Make an All-Star Game
Mike Conley is an All-Star snub yet again. If he’s not added as an injury replacement, would he be the best player to never make an All-Star Game? @zachkram has the answer:https://t.co/sMHzZSFwpx
— The Ringer (@ringer) February 24, 2021
Mike Conley was always considered as one of the best player never to make an All-Star team. The 33-year old was the 4th overall pick of the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2004 NBA Draft and he spent his first dozen seasons with the team, becoming its all-time leading scorer. Conley led the Grizzlies to six playoff appearances in his last nine seasons there, including five in a row from 2011-2015. But somehow, Conley’s stellar play was overshadowed by the Grit and Grind identity and he never made it to an All-Star team whether by fan vote, coaches’ vote, or as a replacement.
Conley was traded to the Utah Jazz in 2019 but he played in only 47 games last season due to injuries and averaged just 14.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game, easily his worst campaign in the previous eight years. But Conley has been much healthier this season and he is one of the main reasons why the Utah Jazz have the best record in the league at the All-Star break at 27-9.
Most player value metrics painted Conley as an All-Star this season. ESPN’s Real Plus Minus lists him as the 10th best player in the league with an RPM of 4.8. FiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR metric has Conley ranked third overall with a Total RAPTOR of 8.9. But somehow, the fans and coaches saw things differently. But days after Conley called this year’s All-Star snub “tough”, the NBA came calling at the last minute, bestowing to him the honor he so badly wanted in 14 NBA seasons.
Jazz Have NBA’s Best Record
The updated NBA standings entering the #NBAAllStar break! pic.twitter.com/QPzrbTiuq4
— NBA (@NBA) March 5, 2021
Entering the All-Star break, the Jazz have the best record in the league at 27-9 and they are easily three game ahead of the Phoenix Suns who are next at 24-11. However, Utah entered the break having lost three out of its last four games, including the last two.
But despite having held the league’s best mark for quite some time now, the best NBA betting sites still have the Lakers, Nets, and Clippers as the Top 3 betting favorites to win the 2021 NBA title. According to the BetOnline App, the defending champions are still the slight odds on favorite at +285 while Brooklyn is second at +300 and the Clippers in third place at +550. Utah is just fourth at +700 but they may actually be the dark horse to win the chip this season.
The Jazz have the easiest strength of remaining schedule with their remaining opponents having an average winning percentage of .475 so there’s a good chance that if Utah keeps up its current play, they will have the best record at the end of the regular season. Of course the playoffs is a different ball game but if the Jazz can get home court advantage throughout the entire postseason, that’s a big plus for a team which has lost jus twice at home so far this season.