After the Bulls announced Jimmy Butler would be out 3-4 weeks and would effectively miss the All-Star game, the NBA swiftly made the decision to replace Butler with teammate Pau Gasol.
This comes as a bit of a surprise considering the Bulls have been struggling as of late with a 5-12 record in their last 17 games and sitting at 7th in the Eastern Conference just days before the All-Star break. The Atlanta Hawks could have gotten Al Horford or Jeff Teague in sitting two spots ahead of the Bulls or the Boston Celtics could have gotten someone in sitting at a surprising third in the East.
At the end of the day, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver makes the decision and Gasol as an individual player is always a perfect choice. This will be Pau’s second straight All-Star appearance as a Bull and 6th overall. He will face former teammate Kobe Bryant in what will be Bryant’s final All-Star game.
Gasol is averaging 17.0 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.0 blocks, 47.7% shooting from the field, 43.2% from the three point line and 80.9% on free throws. He is as deserving as anyone in the league to be an All-Star and will continue to add to his exceptional Hall of Fame career.