In a move that wasn't surprising at all, San Antonio Spurs head coach (and Western Conference All-Star head coach) Gregg Popovich named San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan the All-Star starter at center for the Western Conference on Sunday. Duncan will replace Yao Ming in the starting lineup, as Yao is out for the season. Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves was named earlier this month to replace Yao on the All-Star roster.
This move ensures that Duncan will start his 12th consecutive All-Star game. Duncan is averaging career lows in several categories this season (Duncan is averaging 13.4 points and 9.2 rebounds per game), but the Spurs are off to one of the best starts in NBA history, at 46-9. Popovich had no problem rewarding his center, per Jeff McDonald of Spurs Nation:
"I think it’s totally appropriate, and obvious he should be the starter," Popovich said. "I don’t have any problem with it."
Popovich also considered Pau Gasol or the Lakers and Dirk Nowitzki of the Mavericks to start at center, but the Duncan lifetime achievement award won out instead.