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Cause for celebration and disappointment as Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert are named All-Stars but Mike Conley is left out

Gobert and Mitchell became the first Jazz teammates to make consecutive All-Star teams since John Stockton and Karl Malone did so each year from 1989 to 1997.

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, left, and Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell during victory over Cleveland at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019.
FILE — Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, left, and Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell during victory over Cleveland at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. Mitchell and Gobert were named to the 2021 NBA All-Star Team.
Silas Walker, Deseret News

Tuesday was a day to celebrate for the Utah Jazz.

The NBA announced that for the second straight year Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert will represent the Jazz in the NBA All-Star Game.

The two were selected by NBA coaches as Western Conference reserves, becoming the first Jazz teammates to make consecutive All-Star teams since John Stockton and Karl Malone did so each year from 1989 to 1997.

Gobert, who won Defensive Player of the Year for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons, is favored once again to earn the end of year honor. He leads the league in defensive win shares and defensive rating and is second in rebounds and blocks per game.

Mitchell is averaging a team-high and career-best 24.5 points per game while also averaging career-highs in assists, rebounds and 3-point percentage.

The honor is well deserved by Gobert and Mitchell, who have been instrumental in leading the Jazz to a league-best 25-6 record. They’ll be joined in Atlanta for the single-day festivities by Jazz head coach Quin Snyder, who was named an All-Star coach after leading the Jazz to the West’s best record.

But there was also cause for some disappointment on Tuesday when Mike Conley’s name was left off the list of seven Western Conference All-Star reserves.

“I’m praying Mike gets in,” Mitchell said on Monday night. “I think, you know, for a guy like him, who’s done so many things through his career, on and off the floor, he deserves this. I think he’ll make it. I’m banking on it.”

Conley, who is in his 14th season, has never been an All-Star, but there was hope that this year could be the year he loses the label as being among “the best players not to make an All-Star team.”

“I do feel like I’ve played well enough to be in that conversation and to, quite frankly, be one of those reserves,” Conley said last week.

There is still a chance that he could join Snyder, Mitchell and Gobert in Atlanta.

Mitchell and Gobert were named as Western Conference reserves along with Anthony Davis, Paul George, Damian Lillard, Chris Paul and Zion Williamson. But it was announced last week that Davis will be sidelined for the Lakers for four weeks as he deals with a calf strain.

That means that NBA commissioner Adam Silver will be charged with naming an injury replacement for the All-Star Game.

Though Conley’s name will be one considered for the injury replacement, he won’t be alone.

Also up for consideration are San Antonio’s DeMar DeRozan and the Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker, who received a bit of a campaign boost just minutes after the reserves were announced.

“Devin Booker is the most disrespected player in our league!!! Simple as that,” All-Star starter and team captain LeBron James said.

Booker was named an All-Star injury replacement last season when Lillard could not play.

As for Mitchell and Gobert, who both made their All-Star debuts last season in Chicago, the honor is more representative of the accomplishments of the Jazz as whole, rather than their individual performances.

“It’s really a reward of what we’ve been doing as a team,” Gobert said Monday. “When I look at All-Stars and Defensive Player of the Year and all the individual stuff, it’s not possible without the team and what we do as a group. I don’t know how many we’re going to have but regardless of whoever is going to be selected, I think it’s just rewarding for the work that we do as a team and as an organization.”

The West starters, announced last week, include James, Kawhi Leonard, Nikola Jokic, Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic.

The Eastern Conference reserves will be James Harden, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Ben Simmons, Julius Randle, Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic. The East starters, announced last week, are team captain Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid and Bradley Beal.

The Utah Jazz have not had three players on an All-Star team since Stockton, Malone and Mark Eaton represented the Jazz in the 1989 game. The NBA has not announced when an injury replacement for Davis will be named.