New Orleans Pelicans rising star Anthony Davis will replace injured Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant on the 2014 Western Conference All-Star team.
According to Sam Amick of USA Today, a source close to the decision stated the choice was made for Davis to take the place of the ailing Lakers legend.
Howard Beck of Bleacher Report notes the NBA confirmed the roster swap:
Press release now out, with this historic phrase: "... Anthony Davis has been named by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver..." as All-Star reserve— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) February 7, 2014
Bryant was voted into the All-Star Game by the fans, who select the starters, despite playing in just six games this season. He didn't play at his usual elite level even when he was on the floor, averaging 13.8 points in a shade under 30 minutes per game.
Last month, Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles passed along comments from Bryant. The guard, who's working his way back from a knee injury, said it was time for some younger players to start enjoying the All-Star spotlight:
With all due respect to the fans that voted me in, I certainly appreciate that, they know how much I appreciate that, but you got to do the right thing as well. My fans know you got to reward these young guys for the work that they've been putting in.
Bryant got his wish. Davis is one of the league's brightest young stars and definitely warrants a spot on the Western squad.
Will not having Kobe hurt the All-Star Game?
After a solid rookie season, the Kentucky product has exploded in his second campaign to the tune of more than 20 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks per game. He ranks fifth in the NBA in player efficiency rating, according to ESPN.
Based on those numbers, Davis could have easily been selected straight away as a reserve, if not as a starter. It's a moot point now that he's been added as an injury replacement. He joins a frontcourt group that features Blake Griffin and Kevin Love in the starting lineup.
It's probably the first of many All-Star appearances for the 20-year-old Davis.