NBA chooses All-Star reserves, with Zion among first-timers

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New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) goes to the basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics in New Orleans, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

New Orleans forward Zion Williamson now can be called an NBA All-Star, and only three others in the game’s 70-year history have gotten there at a younger age.

Williamson is one of four first-time All-Stars, all revealed Tuesday night when the league announced the reserves for the March 7 game in Atlanta. Joining him as fellow All-Star rookies: Boston’s Jaylen Brown, New York’s Julius Randle and Chicago’s Zach LaVine.

Phoenix’s Chris Paul is an All-Star for the 11th time, and Brooklyn’s James Harden is one for the ninth consecutive year. The rest of the reserves include Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons, Boston’s Jayson Tatum and Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic from the Eastern Conference, along with the Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Paul George, Utah teammates Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, and Portland’s Damian Lillard from the Western Conference.

“It's definitely an honor," Mitchell said.

Team captains LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets will draft their teams next week, with the rosters to be unveiled March 4. Starters, revealed last week, were chosen through a combination of voting by fans, NBA players and a media panel.

Reserves were chosen through voting by the league’s head coaches.

“You do the best that you can,” Orlando coach Steve Clifford said. “It’s not easy. ... Every year, it is hard, and when you look at this year in the East there were a number of guys who are worthy of making it. So, it’s difficult every year.”

Atlanta’s Trae Young, an All-Star last season, is not one this year despite averaging 26.9 points entering Tuesday, the most among anyone not selected. Miami forwards Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler didn’t make the cut, nor did Phoenix’s Devin Booker.