The NBA All-Star Game will have four first-time selections, one of which will be from the host team, the Utah Jazz. The 14 reserves for the midseason showcase were announced last Thursday, as determined by a vote of the league’s coaches.
In the Eastern Conference, Bam Adebayo, Jaylen Brown, DeMar DeRozan, Joel Embiid, Tyrese Haliburton, Jrue Holiday, and Julius Randle were selected as reserves. Meanwhile, the Western Conference selected Paul George, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jaren Jackson Jr., Damian Lillard, Lauri Markkanen, Ja Morant, and Domantas Sabonis.
Of the selected reserves, Tyrese Haliburton, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Lauri Markkanen are first-time selections. Haliburton, 22, is the only newcomer in the East, and is having a remarkable season with the Indiana Pacers after being traded from the Sacramento Kings. He is currently averaging 20.2 points, 4 rebounds, and a league-leading 10.2 assists per game.
Gilgeous-Alexander, 24, is a strong candidate for the most improved player award. He has been averaging 30.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game, and is leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a surprising 24-27 record. Jackson Jr., meanwhile, is the favorite for the defensive player of the year award with 16.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks per game.
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Markkanen, 25, is having a career-high season after being traded to the Utah Jazz from the Cleveland Cavaliers in the off-season. The smooth-scoring forward is averaging 24.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game in his sixth season. Markkanen will represent the Jazz in the All-Star Game, despite the team having traded away two 2022 all-stars, Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, in the summer.
Last week, the NBA announced the all-star starters, which were selected through a voting process that included fans, media members, and players. LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks will serve as captains, with Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, Kyrie Irving, and Mitchell from the East and Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, and Zion Williamson from the West as starters.
This year’s All-Star Game will have a different format, with James and Antetokounmpo selecting 12-man rosters. The captains will draft four players each from the pool of starters and seven players each from the pool of reserves and will make their selections immediately before tip-off rather than in a pretaped draft. Michael Malone of the Denver Nuggets will coach James’ team, while Joe Mazzulla of the Boston Celtics will coach Antetokounmpo’s team.
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However, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver may have to name injury replacements for Kevin Durant, who is currently sidelined with a knee sprain, and Zion Williamson, who has missed a month with a hamstring strain.
Some notable players who were omitted from this year’s All-Star Game include Jalen Brunson, Jimmy Butler, Darius Garland, James Harden, Pascal Siakam, and Trae Young in the East, and Devin Booker, Anthony Davis, Anthony Edwards, De’Aaron Fox, Aaron Gordon, and Kawhi Leonard in the West. The Washington Wizards, who did not have an all-star representative last season