Kemba Walker speaks Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, on the value of interacting with basketball’s best at the 2018 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles. McClatchy rbonnell@charlotteobserver.com
Kemba Walker speaks Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, on the value of interacting with basketball’s best at the 2018 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles. McClatchy rbonnell@charlotteobserver.com

Charlotte Hornets

Charlotte Hornets’ Kemba Walker named to NBA All-Star Game

February 08, 2018 05:52 PM

PORTLAND, Ore.

It took several injuries to get him there, but Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker will be an All-Star in back-to-back seasons.

The NBA announced Thursday that Walker will replace injured New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis as a reserve in the All-Star Game Feb. 18 in Los Angeles. Walker was an All-Star last season, selected by Eastern Conference coaches as a reserve.

Porzingis was diagnosed with an ACL tear after injuring himself in Tuesday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Walker said last month, after Cleveland Cavaliers big man Kevin Love suffered a broken hand, that he would love to be named an All-Star replacement.

Walker, 27, is averaging 22.6 points and 5.8 assists, productivity comparable to last season. However, the Hornets’ record ( 23-30) probably worked against him when the Eastern Conference coaches picked seven reserves.

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Since those selections were made, three players from the Eastern Conference - Love, Washington Wizards guard John Wall and Porzingis - had to drop out because of injury. Previously, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver named Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond and Miami Heat guard Goran Dragic as replacements.

Walker became Charlotte’s all-time leader in 3-point field goals on Feb. 4, surpassing the previous high of 929 by Dell Curry.

Walker’s logical competition for this spot was probably the Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons , who is averaging 16.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.2 assists.

The NBA has shaken up its All-Star Game format this season. Instead of the Eastern Conference against the Western Conference, All-Stars Stephen Curry and LeBron James were chosen as captains, and chose teams in a pick-up game fashion.

Bonnell: 704-358-5129; Twitter: @rick_bonnell

Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford, on Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, says the passing of the NBA trade deadline brings a sense of relief, stability. McClatchyrbonnell@charlotteobserver.com