New Orleans forward Zion Williamson currently can be called an NBA All-Star, and just three others in the game’s 70-year history have arrived at a more youthful age.
Zion Williamson is one of four first-time All-Stars, all uncovered Tuesday night when the league reported the reserves for the March 7 game in Atlanta. Going along with him as individual All-Star rookies: Boston’s Jaylen Brown, the Knicks’ Julius Randle, and Chicago’s Zach LaVine.
Phoenix’s Chris Paul is an All-Star for the 11th time, and the Nets’ James Harden is one for the ninth sequential year. The rest of the reserves incorporate Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons, Boston’s Jayson Tatum, and Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic from the Eastern Conference, alongside the Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Paul George, Utah colleagues Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, and Portland’s Damian Lillard from the Western Conference.
“It’s definitely an honor,” Mitchell said.
Team captains LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets will draft their teams one week from now, with the rosters to be revealed on March 4. Starters uncovered a week ago, were picked through a combination of voting by fans, NBA players, and a media panel.
Reserves were picked through voting by the league’s head coaches.
“You do the best that you can,” Orlando coach Steve Clifford said. “It’s not easy. … Every year, it is hard, and when you look at this year in the East several guys are worthy of making it. So, it’s difficult every year.”
Atlanta’s Trae Young, an All-Star last season, isn’t one this year regardless of averaging 26.9 points entering Tuesday, the most among anybody not selected. Miami forwards Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler didn’t make the cut, nor did Phoenix’s Devin Booker.
“Devin Booker is the most disrespected player in our league!!!! Simple as that,” James tweeted.
Utah’s Mike Conley — somebody the NBA-leading Jazz frantically wanted to see arrive for what might have been the first time — additionally missed out on the nod.
“For a guy like him who’s done so many things in his career, on and off the floor, he deserves this,” Mitchell said of Conley.
Insufficient coaches agreed. There’s as yet a possibility for Conley because Davis is probably going to miss the game as a result of an injury. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will pick any injury substitutions; a player who bows out will be supplanted by another person from his respective conference.
Zion Williamson is 20, and just Kobe Bryant, James, and Magic Johnson were more youthful in their All-Star debuts. There have been six other 20-year-olds picked for past All-Star Games, however, all were nearer to their 21st birthday at the time than Williamson is currently.
Randle has been the best player for the Knicks, who are attempting to make the playoffs for the first time since 2013. Brown is averaging a career-best 25.5 points for Boston. What’s more, LaVine has been to All-Star weekend a lot of times previously, winning two dunk contests and an MVP award at the Rising Stars game. Yet, this will be his first time in the All-Star Game itself.
James and Durant will look over eight different starters for their teams first when the draft happens: Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, Washington’s Bradley Beal, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Dallas’ Luka Doncic, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving, Denver’s Nikola Jokic and the Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard.