The inability of Devin Booker to make it to the All-Star Game due to injury has opened up a path for Mike Conley to make his first bow.
Conley has long been ranked as the best player never to make an All-Star Game, and with good reason. The Grit n Grind point guard has every tool in the box on both ends of the floor. If Conley had been a Lakers guard, he would have made his debut at the festivities long back.
As things stand, he has replaced Devin Booker on Team Durant for the upcoming game. This makes him the 3rd Jazz player honored with an All-Star nomination. It is the first time in Jazz franchise history that 3 of their players are making the All-Star game.
Conley has been one of the keys to Utah’s success this season. Those who’ve watched the season up close have even argued that he’s their most important player. He’s certainly been more efficient as a scorer than Mitchell, who’s a volume shooter more than anything.
Donovan Mitchell congratulates Mike Conley for his first All-Star nod
Spida took to Twitter to raise a glass in his teammate’s honor. Making it to an All-Star game is like a life achievement, a dream for any basketball player.
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) March 6, 2021
Conley had indeed been expecting a call-up this year. He was spurned in favor of Booker, a player on the second-placed Phoenix Suns, and he couldn’t hide his disappointment back then:
“Man, it was tough. I really, really thought this was the year. I joked with the guys on the team that I blame them. We should have started the year 31-0. Maybe that would have given me a chance, but I don’t know what else to do.”
Conley richly deserves his nod this year, although some people may argue the case for DeMar DeRozan, among others. DeRozan has certainly got better individual numbers than Conley this year, but he’s a porous defender as always.