New Orleans forward Zion Williamson can now be called an NBA All-Star, and only three others in the game’s 70-year history have got there at a younger age.
Williamson is one of four first-time All-Stars, all announced Tuesday night when the league announced the reserves for the March 7 game in Atlanta. Join him as All-Star Rookies: Jaylen Brown from Boston, Julius Randle from Knicks and Zach LaVine from Chicago.
Chris Paul from Phoenix is an all-star for the eleventh time, and James Harden from the Nets is for ninth time in a row. The rest of the reserves include Ben Simmons from Philadelphia, Jayson Tatum from Boston and Nikola Vucevic from Orlando from the Eastern Conference, as well as Anthony Davis from the Los Angeles Lakers, Paul George from the Los Angeles Clippers, the Utah teammates Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert and Portland Damian Lillard of the Western Conference.
Team captains LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets will assemble their teams next week. The rosters will be published on March 4th. The starters, announced last week, were selected through a combination of fan and NBA player votes and a media panel.
« You are doing the best you can, » said Orlando coach Steve Clifford. « It’s not easy. … It’s difficult every year, and if you look at this year in the East, there have been a number of people worth making. So it’s difficult every year. »Trae Young from Atlanta, an All-Star last season, is not an All-Star team this year, despite averaging 26.9 points on Tuesday. Miami strikers Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler didn’t make it, nor did Phoenix ‘Devin Booker.
Utah’s Mike Conley – someone NBA-leading jazz was dying to see to get there for the first time – also missed the nod.
« For a man like him, who has done so many things on and off the floor in his career, he deserves it, » Mitchell said of Conley.
Not enough coaches voted to. There is still a chance for Conley as Davis is likely to miss the game due to an injury. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will select all substitute injuries. A player who bows is replaced by someone else from their respective conference.
Williamson is 20 and only Kobe Bryant, James and Magic Johnson were younger on their All-Star debuts. There were six more 20-year-olds selected for past All-Star games, but all of them were closer to their 21st birthday at that point than Williamson is now.
Randle was the best player for the Knicks, the first time since 2013 trying to reach the playoffs. Brown averages the best 25.5 points of his career for Boston. And LaVine has been to the All-Star Weekend many times, winning two dunk competitions and an MVP award at the Rising Stars game. But this will be his first time in the All-Star Game.
James and Durant will initially choose from eight other starters for their teams: Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, Washington’s Bradley Beal, Stephen Curry from Golden State, Luka Doncic from Dallas, Joel Embiid from Philadelphia, Kyrie Irving from Brooklyn, Nikola Jokic from Brooklyn and the Kawhi Leonard from Los Angeles Clippers.
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