New Orleans All-Star forward Zion Williamson and Washington forward Rui Hachimura of Japan were among 20 players named to NBA Rising Stars rosters Wednesday even though the game won’t be played.
A showdown between US and World lineups of top first- and second-year players is a traditional start to NBA All-Star Weekend, but the game was wiped out by COVID-19 and the choice to stage All-Star events only on Sunday.
The league continued the custom of having NBA assistant coaches to recognize deserving rookies and talent second-season players.
Hachimura was the only Asian representative on a global squad that also included Miami rookie forward Precious Achiuwa of Nigeria, French rookie guard Theo Maledon of Oklahoma City, Washington rookie forward Deni Avdija of Israel and Denver rookie guard Facundo Campazzo of Argentina.
Five second-year Canadian players were in the World lineup — New Orleans guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker, New York swingman R.J. Barrett, Golden State guard Mychal Mulder, Memphis forward Brandon Clarke and Oklahoma City guard Luguentz Dort.
Williamson is joined on the US team by 2019-20 NBA Rookie of the Year Ja Morant of Memphis, Charlotte rookie star guard LaMelo Ball, rookie guards Anthony Edwards of Minnesota and Tyrese Haliburton of Sacramento, rookie center James Wiseman of Golden State, Denver forward Michael Porter, Miami guard Tyler Herro, San Antonio swingman Keldon Johnson and Atlanta forward De’Andre Hunter.