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Mike Conley or Devin Booker as an All-Star? (We probably know who LeBron would pick)

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Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (10) blocks the dribble from Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) during an NBA basketball game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020. Both are enjoying strong seasons but were left off the rosters for the upcoming NBA All-Star Game.

Yukai Peng, Deseret News

The full rosters for the upcoming NBA All-Star Game were revealed on Tuesday evening, and both Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley and Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker were left off the list despite both having strong starts to the season.

However, it is widely expected that league commissioner Adam Silver will have to choose a replacement for Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis, who is injured. It’s possible Silver will choose someone other than Conley or Booker, but they’ve certainly got two of the stronger cases to get the nod (the replacement has to come from the Western Conference since that’s the conference Davis is in).

But which player should Silver pick? Fans of the respective teams of course have already and will continue to campaign for their guy on Twitter until the replacement is made, which will likely not come until a few days before the March 7 game, so we’ll call that an even tie.

From a statistical perspective, Booker has the edge, as he’s averaging 24.7 points, 4.3 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game, while Conley has averages of 16.4 points, 5.6 assists and 3.4 rebounds per contest.

Conley has an advantage that the Jazz have by far the best record in the NBA, and that sort of thing matters when it comes to the All-Star Game. Good teams are rewarded with more player representation. On the downside for Conley, Utah already has Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell in, plus head coach Quin Snyder. Will it get a third player?

Also, the Suns have the fourth-best record in the league but currently just one All-Star in Booker’s backcourt mate Chris Paul. A good argument could probably be made that Phoenix is good enough to get two players in.

One wild card factor could be Conley’s seniority in the league coupled with the fact that he has never been named an All-Star. Could Silver take that into consideration when making his decision?

Independent of any potential head-to-head matchup against Conley, the analysts on TNT (for whatever their opinions may be worth) opined after the announcements were made official that Booker has a strong case to get in.

Both Dwyane Wade and Candace Parker had predicted Booker would get in as a reserve and that Paul would be Davis’ replacement, and Wade specifically made a case for Booker to be named as the replacement.

“Devin Booker’s the one we look at and say, ‘He got snubbed,’” Wade said, “but if you ask (Paul), he would give his spot if he could to Devin.”

Independent of any either-or with Conley, the most notable name in the NBA certainly also made a strong case for Booker Tuesday night.

After the rosters were announced and Booker was not listed, LeBron James, who happens to be Davis’ teammate on the Lakers, tweeted, “Devin Booker is the most disrespected player in our league!!! Simple as that.”

Perhaps it may be fitting that the Lakers are in Salt Lake City to take on the Jazz Wednesday night.