Paolo Banchero’s rookie season will include a trip to the NBA All-Star Weekend.
The Orlando Magic forward and last year’s No. 1 pick announced his participation in this year’s Rising Star game on Tuesday, which will take place in Salt Lake City on Feb. 17, two nights before the All-Star break.
Banchero, who leads all rookies with 20.7 points per game, could still be selected as an All-Star reserve. Those players will be revealed on Thursday.
“Any time you get an opportunity to play in All-Star Weekend, you can’t say no,” Banchero said. “Especially me, as a rookie, a freshman, never been through it before, whether it’s a rookie or a reserve, it’s always been a dream of mine to be a part of that. I’m excited to get out there and see what happens like yes.”
Banchero is expected to become the first rookie to average 20 points per game since Luka Doncić in 2018-19. Entering Tuesday, he was fourth among rookies in rebounds per game and third in steals per game.
Magic coach Jamal Mosley said the All-Star experience — whether it’s just a rising star or not — will have an impact on Banchero.
“Just being around other young guys who find themselves in that position, it makes a big difference because it’s your peer group,” Mosley said. “You’re surrounded by a group of young guys who are at that level. Elite in the league. I think it says something about the work you’ve done, the work he’s done. It will do wonders for how he continues to believe in himself, what we’re doing as a team and his continued growth.”
Also selected for this game: Detroit’s Jalen Duron and Jaden Ivey, Atlanta’s AJ Griffin, Utah’s Walker Kessler, Indiana’s Benedict Maturin and Andrew – Nemhard, Sacramento’s Keegan Murray, Houston’s Jabari Smith Jr., San Antonio’s Jeremy Sausan and Oklahoma City’s Jalen Williams.
Jose Alvarado and Trey Murphy III of New Orleans, Scottie Barnes of Toronto, Josh Giddey of Oklahoma City, Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun of Houston, Quentin Grimes of New York, Bones Hyland of Denver, Evan Mobley of Cleveland and Franz of Orlando Wagner.
The Rising Stars event will also feature a team of G League players consisting of Sidi Sissoko, Mojave King, Scoot Henderson, Kenneth Lofton Jr., Mike McClung, Leonard Miller and Jr. Scottie Pippen composition.
Twenty-one NBA players will be selected to three seven-man teams. Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah and Deron Williams will coach those teams, while Jason Terry will coach the G League teams.
All four teams will play in the semi-finals with a target score of 40, and then the two winning teams will play a championship game with a target score of 25.
The Associated Press reported.
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