Charlotte Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball (L), shown March 18, 2021, will take the spot of injured Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant, who has been battling a left knee injury. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 7 (UPI) -- Charlotte Hornets star LaMelo Ball and San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray will make their NBA All-Star Game debuts after being added to the reserves pool as injury replacements Monday.
Ball takes the spot of injured Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant, while Murray replaces Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green. Durant is still recovering from a sprained MCL in his left knee, and Green has been battling back and calf ailments.
The NBA also announced that Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum will take Durant's place as a starter. According to league rules, a starter has to be replaced by the reserve from the same conference and same position group who earned the highest ranking in the voting for All-Star starters.
Durant will still take part in the All-Star draft as a team captain alongside Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James. Durant and James will select their teams from a pool of reserves Thursday.
Ball, who was the NBA Rookie of the Year last season, has averaged 19.6 points, 7.5 assists and 7.1 rebounds in the 2021-22 campaign. The 20-year-old point guard also was selected to participate in the Rising Stars festivities.
"Happy for Melo, happy for his teammates," Hornets head coach James Borrego told reporters before Monday's game against the Toronto Raptors. "I think they need to share this together. They've done this together and I know they're extremely happy for him, proud of him, as am I as his coach. Thrilled for our organization."
Murray is averaging 19.6 points, 9.2 assists, 8.4 rebounds and 2.1 steals this season. The 25-year-old guard is attempting to become just the third player in league history to average eight assists, eight rebounds and two steals in a single season, joining NBA legends Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.