New York: Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins was named to replace injured Los Angeles Lakers star guard Kobe Bryant on the Western Conference squad for next month`s 64th NBA All-Star Game, the league announced Friday.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver appointed Cousins, who will make his first All-Star appearance in the wake of Bryant being sidelined for the remainder of the NBA season following right shoulder surgery Thursday.
Cousins, the Kings` first all-star player since 2004, ranks fifth in the NBA with 23.8 points a game and third in rebounds with 12.3 a contest.
Western Conference coach Steve Kerr, who has guided the Golden State Warriors to the best record in the NBA so far this season to earn the job in his rookie campaign as coach, will decide which of his players will replace Bryant in the starting lineup.
Bryant was elected to a starting spot for the West in a global fan vote despite some struggles and what is now his third season in a row that has ended prematurely due to an injury.
The showdown between NBA Eastern Conference and Western Conference elite talent will be February 15 at New York`s Madison Square Garden.