Reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons and current candidate Luka Doncic are among the young talents named Tuesday to play the All-Star weekend Rising Stars challenge.
Australia’s Simmons and the Dallas Mavericks’ Slovenian sensation Doncic will play for the World Team in the game that pits 10 first- and second-year players from the United States against 10 counterparts from overseas.
Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, runner-up to Simmons in Rookie of the Year voting last season, headlines the US squad that also features Brooklyn Nets centre Jarrett Allen, Sacramento Kings forward Marvin Bagley and guard De’Aaron Fox, Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball and forward Kyle Kuzma, Atlanta Hawks forward/centre John Collins and guard Trae Young, Memphis Grizzlies forward/centre Jaren Jackson and Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum.
Simmons and Doncic are joined on the World Team by Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby (United Kingdom), Phoenix Suns centre Deandre Ayton (Bahamas), Kings guard Bogdan Bogdanovic (Serbia), LA Clippers guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Canada), Nets forward Rodions Kurucs (Latvia), Chicago Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen (Finland), Minnesota Timberwolves guard Josh Okogie (Nigeria) and Cleveland Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman (Turkey).
Bogdanovic was the game’s MVP last year when the World Team beat the United States 155-124.
Each participant on the World Team hails from a different country, with four continents represented.
The Rising Stars game will be played on Friday, February 15 in Charlotte, North Carolina, where the All-Star game will take place two days later.
Boston’s Kyrie Irving will be the honorary coach for Team USA, while the Dallas Mavericks’ German veteran Dirk Nowitzki will coach the World Team.