NEW YORK, March 3, 2021 – NBA All-Star Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans and 2019-20 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies lead the list of 20 players selected by NBA assistant coaches for the 2021 NBA Rising Stars rosters, which were revealed today on NBA Top Shot.
NBA Rising Stars, the league’s annual showcase of premier young talent during NBA All-Star, will not be played this year due to the limitation of having All-Star events all on one night. To recognize deserving players, the NBA kept the custom of having the league’s assistant coaches vote for Rising Stars rosters, which comprise 10 first- and second-year NBA players from the United States (U.S. Team) and 10 first- and second-year NBA players from outside the United States (World Team).
Williamson and Morant lead a U.S. Team roster with 10 players from 10 different teams. Joining Williamson and Morant are Charlotte Hornets guard and two-time reigning Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month LaMelo Ball; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards; Sacramento Kings guard and two-time reigning Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month Tyrese Haliburton; Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro; Atlanta Hawks forward De'Andre Hunter; San Antonio Spurs guard/forward Keldon Johnson; Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr.; and Golden State Warriors center James Wiseman.
Six countries are represented on the World Team roster, including five players from Canada. The World Team is composed of Heat forward Precious Achiuwa (Nigeria); Pelicans guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Canada); Washington Wizards forwards Deni Avdija (Israel) and Rui Hachimura (Japan); New York Knicks guard/forward RJ Barrett (Canada); Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo (Argentina); Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke (Canada); Oklahoma City Thunder guards Luguentz Dort (Canada) and Théo Maledon (France); and Warriors guard Mychal Mulder (Canada).
In voting for the Rising Stars rosters, assistant coaches selected four frontcourt players, four guards and two additional players at any position for each team. Voters selected a minimum of three first-year NBA players and three second-year NBA players for each team. The assistant coaches were not permitted to vote for any player on their team. Each of the league’s 30 teams submitted one ballot per coaching staff.
The World Team includes five players who participated as campers in Basketball Without Borders (BWB), the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball and development community outreach program: Avdija (BWB Europe 2018; BWB Global 2019), Barrett (BWB Global 2017), Campazzo (BWB Americas 2009), Dort (BWB Global 2017) and Hachimura (BWB Global 2016).
NBA opening-night rosters for the 2020-21 season featured 107 international players from 41 countries, marking the seventh consecutive season that opening-night rosters had at least 100 international players. A record nine international players have been named NBA All-Stars this season, including a record five international players voted to start the All-Star Game and a record six All-Star selections from Europe.