New Orleans Pelicans rookies Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Zion Williamson selected to Rising Stars Game
January 31, 2020
NEW ORLEANS – The NBA announced today that Pelicans rookies Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Zion Williamson have been selected to participate in the 2020 Rising Stars Game at NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago. Alexander-Walker (Canada) will be a member of Team World and Williamson will suit up for Team USA.
The 26th Rising Stars will pit 10 first- and second-year NBA players from the United States against 10 first- and second-year NBA players from around the world in the league’s annual showcase of premier young talent during NBA All-Star. Rising Stars will air live on Friday, Feb. 14 at 8 p.m. CT on TNT and ESPN Radio in the United States.
Alexander-Walker, 6-5, 205, who was selected 17th overall by Brooklyn in the 2019 NBA Draft before being acquired by the Pelicans in July, is averaging 5.6 points while shooting .345 from three-point range, 2.0 rebounds and 1.9 assists (10th among rookies). Alexander-Walker’s 40 triples on the season is ranked 14th among all rookies.
Alexander-Walker is joined on Team World by Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (Bahamas); New York Knicks guard/forward RJ Barrett (Canada); Memphis Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke (Canada); Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Dončić (Slovenia); Oklahoma City Thunder guard, and Alexander-Walker’s cousin, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Canada); Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura (Japan) and center Moritz Wagner (Germany); Detroit Pistons guard/forward Svi Mykhailiuk (Ukraine); and Minnesota Timberwolves guard Josh Okogie (Nigeria).
Williamson, 6-7, 285, who was the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, is averaging 18.0 points on .633 shooting from the floor, 8.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists. The Duke University product made his NBA debut Jan. 22 vs. San Antonio, becoming the first player in NBA history to score at least 22 points while playing under 20 minutes in their first career NBA game. Williamson has been selected by the NBA to join the U.S. Team as the replacement for the injured Carter, who has not played for the Bulls since sustaining a sprained right ankle on Jan. 6. Carter is not expected to return to game action until after the All-Star break.
Williamson is joined on Team USA by Charlotte Hornets forwards Miles Bridges and PJ Washington and guard Devonte’ Graham; Miami Heat guards Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn; Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. and guard Ja Morant; Golden State Warriors forward Eric Paschall; and Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young.
NBA assistant coaches selected the Rising Stars rosters, with each of the league’s 30 teams submitting one ballot per coaching staff. A ballot consisted of four frontcourt players, four guards and two additional players at either position group for each team. Voters also had to choose a minimum of three first-year NBA players and three second-year NBA players for each team. Coaches were not permitted to vote for any player on their team.
Alexander-Walker and Williamson become the fourth and fifth players, respectively, in New Orleans franchise history to participate in the Rookie Challenge/Rising Stars Game, joining Chris Paul, Anthony Davis and Buddy Hield. It marks the first time in team history teammates have participated in the event together.