BROOKLYN – The NBA announced today that Brooklyn Nets second-year center Jarrett Allen and rookie forward Rodions Kurucs have been named to the MTN DEW ICE Rising Stars as part of 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend, held Feb. 15-17 in Charlotte, N.C. The Rising Stars will take place on Friday, Feb. 15, at 9 p.m. ET inside Spectrum Center and will be broadcast by TNT and ESPN Radio. The first- and second-year participants were selected by NBA assistant coaches.
Allen, a native of Texas, will represent the U.S. team. Kurucs, hailing from Latvia, will suit up for the World team. The two will represent the 15th and 16th Nets players to ever participate in the event, and the first since Bojan Bogdanovic participated in back-to-back years in 2015 and 2016. It will also mark the third time in team history that a pair of Nets teammates have played in the event together, joining Kenyon Martin and Stephen Jackson in 2001 and Bogdanovic and Mason Plumlee in 2015.
Selected with the 22nd overall pick in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft by Brooklyn, Allen has appeared in 49 games this season (all starts), averaging 11.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.5 blocks in 26.7 minutes per game. He currently leads the Nets with 16 double-doubles on the year and has scored in double figures on 29 occasions. Allen ranks 11th in the NBA in field goal percentage (.572) and is 12th in blocks per outing. His 105 dunks on the season currently rank eighth overall, including second among Eastern Conference players (Giannis Antetokounmpo).
Allen has blocked multiple shots in 15 of his last 25 games, and his 163 career swats are the most ever for a Net prior to turning 21 (previous record held by Brook Lopez, 133). In 2018-19, Allen leads all sophomores in blocks per game, is second in offensive rebounds per outing (2.7) and third in double-doubles, rebounds per game and field goal percentage.
Kurucs, selected by the Nets with the 40th overall pick in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft, is the lowest drafted player to be selected to this year’s Rising Stars. He has played in 34 games (22 starts) in his rookie season, averaging 9.4 points and 3.5 rebounds in 20.7 minutes per game. The youngest player ever born outside the U.S. to start a game for the Nets, Kurucs has helped the team to a 16-6 record in games he has started. He has recorded two double-doubles on the season and has scored in double figures in 16 contests, including a career-high 24 points on two occasions. Among 18 rookies averaging 20.0 or more minutes per game this season, Kurucs is first in offensive rating (109.2) and net rating (2.6).
Kurucs is fourth among international rookies in points per game, trailing lottery picks Luka Doncic, Deandre Ayton and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, while ranking first in free-throw percentage (.904), second in field goal percentage (.494), third in double-doubles and fourth in rebounds per game (3.5).
* Only Nets to appear as both a rookie and a sophomore.