The NBA announced Tuesday that Kyle Korver will take the place of the injured Dwyane Wade in the 2015 NBA All-Star Game, giving the Atlanta Hawks four players in the annual event. The announcement also keeps Orlando Magic center Nik Vučević out of the event for the time being.
Vučević is averaging 19.4 points and 11.2 rebounds per game and ranks third in the league with 31 double-doubles. His Player Efficiency Rating of 22.18 ranks 17th in the league and third among Eastern Conference big men, trailing only Hassan Whiteside and Pau Gasol.
Korver has a unique All-Star case of his own, however: though he averages a modest 12.9 points per game, he's on pace to become the only player in the game's history to shoot 50 percent from the floor, 50 percent on three-pointers, and 90 percent on free throws. His mere presence enables Atlanta, which owns the East's best record, to space the floor. One can make a decent argument that he's the Hawks' most crucial overall player for the way he affects opponents' entire gameplans.
Vučević may still have an opportunity to make the team: if Carmelo Anthony elects to sit out--a distinct possibility, given his lingering knee issues and the New York Knicks' lost season--commissioner Adam Silver will have to name a player to take his place. And Vučević, as Magic fans will attest, is more than worthy of the honor despite playing for one of the league's worst teams.
With or without Vučević, the 2015 All-Star Game tips off Sunday, February 15th, at 8:30 PM Eastern on TNT. Orlando will have two players taking part in the weekend's festivities, with Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton teaming up in the Rookie Challenge, and Oladipo doing his thing in the Slam Dunk contest.