John Wall injury could open door for Miami Heat All-Star
From Ira Winderman, Contact Reporter of Sun-Sentinel
The door may have swung back open on the Miami Heat’s hopes of landing a player in the Feb. 18 NBA All-Star Game, with Washington Wizards guard John Wall sidelined with a knee issue.
The Heat were the lone team among the Eastern Conference playoff seeds without a selection when the All-Stars teams were rounded out last week with the announcement of coaches’ selections for the reserves.
Among the Heat’s All-Star possibilities are guard Goran Dragic and center Hassan Whiteside.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has sole discretion when announcing All-Star Game re-placements. He last week selected Oklahoma City Thunder for-ward Paul George to replace sidelined New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins.
George was next highest in the voting of Western Conference coaches for All-Star reserves, but such an appointment does not have to be made on that basis, nor does a replacement have to be position specific.
Wall was selected by LeBron James for the All-Star team he will captain, with Wall’s replacement to slide into that void.
Among potential Wall All-Star replacements beyond the Heat possibilities are Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond, Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker and Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons.
Prior to going without an All-Star last season, the Heat had a representative at the event every year since 2005. The last time the Heat went consecutive years without an All-Star was in 2003 and 2004, between the end of Alonzo Mourning’s initial Heat tenure and the start of Dwyane Wade’s Heat tenure.
No player on the current Heat roster has ever been named an All-Star.
Announced two weeks ago as Eastern Conference starters, in combined polling of fans, players and media, were James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, DeMar DeRozan and Kyrie Irving.
Named as Eastern Conference reserves were Love, Beal, Kristaps Porzingis, Kyle Lowry, Wall, Al Horford and Victor Oladipo.
No Eastern Conference team seeded No. 4 or higher at the time of All-Star Game has gone without a selection since the 1993 New Jersey Nets. The last time a team seeded No. 4 or higher in either conference did not have an All-Star was the 2002-03 Portland Trail Blazers, with Rasheed Wallace, averaging 18.1 points at the time, bypassed in those selections.
Unlike Major League Baseball and the NHL, there are no requirements for team representation among NBA All-Star selections.
The Heat’s most recent All-Star representative remains Wade in 2016. Chris Bosh also was selected to represent the Heat that season, but was sidelined by a recurrence of blood clots.
From 2011 to 2016 the Heat had at least two players selected to the All-Star Game.
The Heat’s only All-Star selections over the franchise’s 30 seasons remain Mourning (five selections with the Heat), Tim Hardaway (two), Anthony Mason (one), Shaquille O’Neal (three), James (four), Bosh (six) and Wade (12).