By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Paolo Banchero’s rookie season will include a trip to NBA All-Star Weekend. The Italian forward from Orlando and No. 1 pick in last year’s draft was announced as a participant in this year’s Rising Stars Game, to be held in Salt Lake City on Feb. 17, two nights before the All-Star Game.
Banchero, who leads all rookies with 20.7 points per game, may still be selected as an All-Star reserve. Those players will be revealed Thursday.
“Anytime you can get a chance to be a part of All-Star weekend, you can’t say no,” Banchero said. “Especially me, being a rookie, first year, never experienced it before, it’s always been the dream to just be a part of that whether it was Rising Stars or as a reserve. I’m definitely excited to get there and just see what it’s like.”
Banchero is on pace to be the first rookie to average 20 points per game since Luka Doncic in 2018-19. He is also fourth among rookies in rebounds per game entering Tuesday and third among them in steals per game.
Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said the All-Star experience, whether just for Rising Stars or not, will have an impact on Banchero.
“Just being around other young players that have found themselves in that position, it does so much because it’s your peers,” Mosley said. “You’re around a group of young men who are the elite of the league in that class. I think it says something to the work that you’ve put in, the work that he’s put in. It’s going to do wonders for how he continues to believe in himself, what we’re doing as a team and his continued growth.”
Also picked for the game from this year’s rookie class: Detroit’s Jalen Duren and Jaden Ivey, Atlanta’s AJ Griffin, Utah’s Walker Kessler, Indiana’s Bennedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard, Sacramento’s Keegan Murray, Houston’s Jabari Smith Jr., San Antonio’s Jeremy Sochan and Oklahoma City’s Jalen Williams.
The second-year players selected were New Orleans’ Jose Alvarado and Trey Murphy III, Toronto’s Scottie Barnes, Oklahoma City’s Josh Giddey, Houston’s Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun, New York’s Quentin Grimes, Denver’s Bones Hyland, Cleveland’s Evan Mobley and Orlando’s Franz Wagner.