Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant headlined the 2023 NBA All-Star reserves, which were announced Thursday night.
Embiid, who just missed being a starter in the Eastern Conference when starters were announced last week, was joined by Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (second All-Star selection), Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (second), Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday (second), Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan (sixth), New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (second) and Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton, who was a first-time All-Star selection.
“It’s everything,“ DeRozan said of his selection. “I just hope anybody out there, whatever field you work in, never listens to the outside noise, to people doubting you, counting you out, everything. As long as you’re true to yourself, believe in yourself, you keep putting in the work with a genuine heart and genuine passion, you’ll be rewarded.”
Meanwhile, the Western Conference All-Star reserve selections besides Morant were Sacramento Kings center Domantas Sabonis (third), Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (seventh) and LA Clippers guard Paul George (eighth), in addition to first-time selections in Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen and Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr.
“It means a lot,” Morant said on the TNT broadcast of the announcements. “Obviously, it shows my work that I’ve put in day in and day out. … Hopefully, Jaren gets picked on the same team as me.“
After the starters from both conferences were announced last week, the seven reserves from the East and West were selected by the league’s head coaches in voting conducted over the past several days.
The reserve groups are made up of two backcourt and three frontcourt players from each conference — mirroring the starters — as well as two “wild-card” selections that could come from any position.
Several previous All-Stars just missed the cut this season, a list that includes Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, Los Angeles Lakers center Anthony Davis, Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young, Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam and Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler. Former MVP James Harden was another omission, breaking his streak of 10 consecutive All-Star appearances.
Embiid took to Twitter to express his disappointment at his co-star’s snub.
All-Star starters Kevin Durant and Zion Williamson are both currently out with injuries and if either of them, or any other selection, cannot play in the All-Star Game on Feb. 19, commissioner Adam Silver will choose a replacement.
This year’s All-Star Game will mark the sixth time the NBA has conducted a draft of the 24 players with each team helmed by a captain who was the top vote-getter in each conference — Giannis Antetokounmpo in the East and LeBron James in the West.
The new wrinkle this year, however, is that the draft itself will take place shortly before the game begins, as opposed to in a pre-taped segment aired in advance of All-Star Weekend.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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