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Adam Silver deferred to coaches’ All-Star vote to choose DeMarcus Cousins over Damian Lillard

DeMarcus Cousins, Damian Lillard

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, left, and Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard battle for the ball during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014. The Kings won 123-119.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)


Adam Silver surprised DeMarcus Cousins and motivated Damian Lillard and left the rest of us wondering:

How did the NBA commissioner choose the Kings center as Kobe Bryant’s All-Star injury replacement?

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Silver on ESPN Radio:
I didn’t like having to make that choice, and I wish I had another slot for Damian, because I think he’s so deserving of being an All-Star as well.

I rely heavily on our basketball folks in terms of where the coaches came out. Of course, there’s a fan vote for the starters and then the coaches choose the reserves. And DeMarcus was very high up on the coaches’ vote, so that had a strong influence on me. And I think, ultimately, I deferred to them.

DeMarcus, based on his numbers, absolutely deserves to be an All-Star. With Damian his numbers are great, too. But when I look at his team’s record, I want to take that into account as well. Damian is someone who has literally been a model citizen in terms of what he’s done in the community in Portland, activities he’s engaged in with the league.

So, it was essentially a tie in my mind, so I ultimately deferred to the coaches.

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That’s as good a way as any, though I wonder whether Silver saw the coaches’ vote before deciding to let that guide him.

Both Lillard and Cousins are deserving of making the All-Star team. Lillard has a chance to complete the best non-All-Star season in NBA history, and Cousins would have too if not selected.

I don’t envy Silver for having to make that choice, and it is a bit strange how many hands determine All-Star rosters – fans, coaches and the commissioner at different stages of the process. It seems Silver found a way to clear a cook from the kitchen.

Maybe it should just be a rule injury replacements are determined by place in the coaches’ reserve voting.