MINNEAPOLIS — Spurs forward Matt Bonner might have added an unlikely ally in his bid to score an invitation to his first All-Star weekend 3-point shootout Feb. 16 in Houston.
As part of a new format for this year’s festivities, Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul has been appointed the Western Conference captain for All-Star Saturday night. After tonight’s announcement of the league-approved field for the contest, Paul is allowed to choose one more name to add to the list.
And Paul just so happens to be close with Spurs point guard Tony Parker, one of the more vocal proponents of Bonner’s candidacy.
If Bonner is not selected as part of the original contingent, Parker vows to put the screws to his Clippers counterpart.
“I’ll definitely call Chris and tell him, ‘You have to put Matt Bonner in,’” Parker said.
The pitch Parker will make Paul is the same one he has been making for years.
“I think Matt Bonner would have a great chance to win it,” Parker said before Wednesday’s 104-94 win over Minnesota. “He’s a machine. You should see him at practice. It’s unbelievable.”
A career 41.5 percent 3-point shooter — and having led the NBA at 45.7 percent in 2010-11 — Bonner has never been asked to participate in the league’s annual long-distance shootout.
“I’m not getting my hopes up,” Bonner said. “But it would obviously be an honor.”
If Bonner is selected for the 3-point field, he will have familiar company Saturday night.
Second-year forward Kawhi Leonard has already been named to the field for the Rising Stars game, while Parker is expected to be invited to defend his crown in the Skills Challenge.
Worldly flavor: Between them, the Spurs and Timberwolves boast 15 international players on their rosters. The Spurs have an NBA-record nine.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said the influx of foreign-born players over the past few decades has changed the league for the better.
“Everybody knows now there are players all over the world,” Popovich said. “There was a time back in the late ’80s where nobody believed that for whatever reason.
“Now, there are people beating the bushes all over the world. It’s great for basketball and actually made it a worldwide sport.”
It doesn’t hurt that combing the globe for talent can sometimes pay off in the form of a transcendent superstar.
“Sometimes, you can even get lucky and find someone who can be a (Dirk) Nowitzki or a (Manu) Ginobili or Parker,” Popovich said.
via Spurs Nation » Notebook: Parker may push captain Paul to add Bonner in contest.