With recent news of an injury, Kevin Love will miss a number of upcoming Cleveland Cavaliers games, as well as the 2017 NBA All-Star Game. Love is expected to be sidelined for over a month, which will mean that his reserve spot on the Eastern Conference team needs to be filled pretty soon. Could Kevin Love’s All-Star replacement be one of the East’s talented young big men? The Detroit Pistons Andre Drummond and Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid are two centers who seem worthy of taking the spot, although one might be more able to suit up than the other right now.
As this year’s All-Star game from New Orleans quickly approaches, a replacement will soon be named for Kevin Love. In a fitting bit of irony with all those Carmelo Anthony trade rumors, which also mentioned Love, Melo could be among the first players named as his replacement. However, the word is Anthony would prefer his teammate, Kristaps Porzingis, fill in instead. Other suitable replacements might include the Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal and Miami Heat big man Hassan Whiteside. Two other big men worth considering are Andre Drummond and Joel Embiid, based on their season’s body of work.
A recent fan poll was created over at ESPN, which lists six potential All-Star game replacement players for Kevin Love. Among them are both Joel Embiid and Andre Drummond. In terms of the voting, fans are picking Embiid, who as of this report, has captured 29 percent of the total votes. Next in the voting is Carmelo Anthony at 20 percent, followed by his teammate Kristaps Porzingis at 16 percent. Porzingis is barely edging out Bradley Beal, who has just 15 percent of the votes right now. As for Drummond, the Pistons star, who has been an All-Star before, has only seven percent of the total votes.
Embiid is well known for campaigning for a spot in this year’s game, with the possibility of getting a date with Rihanna if he happens to be selected. However, the Sixers big man is also hurt right now with a minor meniscus tear. He hasn’t played since late January, and Philadelphia general manager Bryan Colangelo has said that Embiid won’t participate in this weekend’s Rising Stars game. Stepping in as Embiid’s replacement for that game will be Alex Abrines of the Oklahoma City Thunder, per News OK. That probably means Embiid wouldn’t play in the All-Star Game even if he’s named as Kevin Love’s replacement.
For the current season, the Pistons’ Andre Drummond is averaging an impressive double-double again this season with 14.7 points, 13.9 rebounds, and just over a block a game. The All-Star center put up 21 points and 12 rebounds against Milwaukee this past Monday, and last week had a 24 point, 17 rebound performance. That seems to make a clear case for this beast of a big man to once again be named to the All-Star team.
When it comes to what the NBA insiders and analysts feel, it seems that it wouldn’t be a big man taking Love’s spot, but instead Bradley Beal. At NBA.com, several of basketball’s smartest analysts, including David Aldridge and Sekou Smith, are saying Beal deserves the nod. However, NBA writer Lang Whitaker likes Andre Drummond for the spot. It makes sense because Love is also a frontcourt player, and there’s clearly a shortage of quality centers in today’s version of the league.
Lang contends that the representing player’s team record should also be considered when choosing Love’s All-Star replacement.
“But to me I feel like the team’s record should be considered as well, and by the best of my reckoning, the best Eastern Conference team without a representative in All-Star Game is the Detroit Pistons. So Andre Drummond, pack your bags and get to New Orleans.”
As of the current standings, the Detroit Pistons are No. 8 in the Eastern Conference, which would give them the unenviable task of starting against the Cleveland Cavaliers if the playoffs started today. By Lang’s own argument, the Washington Wizards own a much better record than the Pistons. Washington, which is currently 33-21 overall, is at the No. 3 spot in the East and trails Cleveland for the standings lead by just five games. Still, Detroit has zero All-Star game representatives compared to the Wizards already having one with John Wall.
When it comes down to it, Love’s replacement will be named within the first few days so that player can make travel arrangements. Even if not selected, most, if not all, of these worthy replacements will probably be in attendance just for the fun of All-Star weekend.
NBA fans, which player would you like to see replace Kevin Love at the 2017 NBA All-Star Game? Does one player deserve it the most? Should Andre Drummond be given top consideration?
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