USA TODAY Sports Weekly
Markkanen lands among All-Star Game reserves
Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen is a firsttime NBA All-Star who will get to play in the annual classic in his home team’s city.
Markkanen, who is having a career year in his first season with the Jazz, was named one of seven Western Conference reserves, joining the All-Star starters who were previously announced.
Markkanen averages 24.9 points and 8.7 rebounds and shoots 52% from the field, 43% on 3-pointers and 87.4% from the foul line since the Jazz acquired him in an offseason trade with Cleveland.
Other first-time All-Stars named as reserves: Indiana’s Tyrese Haliburton, Oklahoma City’s Shai-Gilgeous Alexander, Memphis’ Jaren Jackson Jr.
Let’s take a look at the rest of the reserves:
Who are the East All-Star reserves?
Backcourt: Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan, Boston’s Jaylen Brown, Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday, Indiana’s Tyrese Haliburton
Frontcourt: Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Miami’s Bam Adebayo, New York’s Julius Randle
Who are the West All-Star reserves?
Backcourt: Memphis’ Ja Morant, Oklahoma City’s Shai-Gilgeous Alexander, Portland’s Damian Lillard
Frontcourt: Sacramento’s Domantas Sabonis, Los Angeles Clippers’ Paul George, Utah’s Lauri Markkanen, Memphis’ Jaren Jackson Jr.
Who selected the reserves?
NBA head coaches pick the reserves from their own conference but cannot select a player from their team. Each coach selects seven players – two guards, three frontcourt players and two players at any position.
Were there any All-Star reserve snubs?
As former NBA coach Stan Van Gundy said on Twitter, if you think there’s a snub, that means you must be willing to remove someone from the team.
These players didn’t make it, but have made deserving cases:
New York’s Jalen Brunson, Atlanta’s Trae Young, Toronto’s Pascal Siakam, Philadelphia’s James Harden and Miami’s Jimmy Butler in the East.
Harden averages 21 points and 10.9 assists and along with Embiid is a key reason the Sixers are in third place. Young is a two-time All-Star and averaging 27 points and 9.9 assists, but his shooting percentage is down from last season and the Hawks are in eighth place.
Brunson averages a career-high 23.1 points, but it was a difficult ask to put two players from the seventh-place Knicks on the All-Star team. The Raptors are in 12th place, and the Heat also weren’t getting two players on the team.
Denver’s Aaron Gordon, Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox and Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards in the West.
Gordon is a key player on the first-place Nuggets and having a career year at 16.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 57.9% from the field and 38.5% on 3-pointers. While Sabonis made it for the Kings, Fox is equally important to Sacramento, averaging 24.3 points, 6.1 assists and 4.3 rebounds and shooting a career-high 50.6% from the field. Edwards averages career highs in points (24.7), rebounds (6), assists (4.5), field-goal percentage (46.1%) and 3-point percentage (36.5%).
When and where is All-Star Weekend?
This year’s All-Star Game is Feb. 19 in Salt Lake City at Vivint Arena (8 p.m. ET, TNT). The Rising Stars game is Feb. 17 (9 p.m. ET, TNT), and the Skill Challenge, 3-point Contest and Slam Dunk events are Feb. 18 (8 p.m. ET, TNT).