Zion Williamson, LaMelo Ball revealed as 2021 Rising Stars by NBA Top Shot
The NBA will not have a Rising Stars Challenge as part of All-Star Weekend this year, but Top Shot still revealed rosters for Team USA and Team World on Wednesday.
New Orleans Pelicans All-Star forward Zion Williamson and Charlotte Hornets rookie guard headline the selections for Team USA, while New York Knicks guard R.J. Barrett and Washington Wizards rookie Deni Avdija are among the notables for Team World.
#NBAAllStar @Zionwilliamson of the @PelicansNBA and 2019-20 #KiaROY @JaMorant of the @memgrizz lead the list of 20 players selected by NBA assistant coaches for the 2021 NBA Rising Stars rosters!https://t.co/jDjVYSzHle pic.twitter.com/alUV6kktMF
— NBA (@NBA) March 3, 2021
Williamson was named to the Western Conference reserves, and Ball could be the frontrunner for the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
Team USA has an intriguing mix of rookie and sophomore players. It is nice to see San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson get some recognition.
Johnson played just 17 games last season but was one of the more unheralded surprises of the NBA restart in Orlando. The former Kentucky star has been a critical piece of San Antonio’s success thus far, averaging 14.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists through his first 28 games.
Sacramento Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton is the only rookie outside the top-3 picks to make Team USA. Haliburton might be Ball’s top competitor for Rookie of the Year, averaging 13.2 points, 5.4 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals while shooting 43.3 percent from beyond the arc on 5.5 attempts per game.
There are some interesting names on the NBA Team World, as well. Facundo Campazzo has played his way into a steady rotation role with the Denver Nuggets after years of playing for Real Madrid. Brandon Clarke is more of a sidekick to Ja Morant in Memphis, but is still averaging 12.5 points and 5.7 rebounds while also displaying ample defensive versatility.