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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander headlines four first-time NBA all-stars

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging 30.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
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Four first-time selections, including one member of the host Utah Jazz, will dot the NBA All-Star Game rosters when the midseason showcase tips off in Salt Lake City on Feb. 19.

After unveiling the all-star starters last week, the NBA announced the 14 reserves Thursday, as determined by a vote of the league’s coaches.

In the East, Bam Adebayo, Jaylen Brown, DeMar DeRozan, Joel Embiid, Tyrese Haliburton, Jrue Holiday and Julius Randle were selected.

In the West, Paul George, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jaren Jackson Jr., Damian Lillard, Lauri Markkanen, Ja Morant and Domantas Sabonis earned nods.

Haliburton, Gilgeous-Alexander, Jackson and Markkanen are first-time selections.

The 22-year-old Haliburton was the only newcomer in the East. Following a 2022 trade from the Sacramento Kings to the Pacers, the dynamic guard is averaging 20.2 points, four rebounds and a league-leading 10.2 assists per game.

Gilgeous-Alexander, 24, is a strong candidate for most improved player. He has averaged 30.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.6 assists while leading the rebuilding Oklahoma City Thunder to a surprising 24-27 record. Jackson, meanwhile, has emerged as the defensive player of the year favorite with averages of 16.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.3 blocks.

Markkanen, 25, has enjoyed a career year since he was traded to the Jazz by the Cleveland Cavaliers in an offseason deal. The smooth-scoring forward is averaging a career-high 24.9 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists in his sixth season.

Salt Lake City is hosting All-Star Weekend for the first time since 1993, and Markkanen will represent the Jazz, which traded away a pair of 2022 all-stars, Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, in summer deals.

Last week, the NBA named five players from each conference as all-star starters through a voting process that included fans, media members and players. Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, the leading vote-getter, and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo will serve as captains. The other starters are Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, Kyrie Irving and Mitchell from the East and Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic and Zion Williamson from the West.

Rather than using an East vs. West format for this year’s All-Star Game, James and Antetokounmpo will select 12-man rosters, drafting four players each from the pool of starters and seven players each from the pool of reserves. In a new twist this year, James and Antetokounmpo will pick teams immediately before tip-off rather than in a pretaped draft.

James’s team will be coached by Michael Malone of the Denver Nuggets, while Antetokounmpo’s team will be led by Joe Mazzulla of the Boston Celtics.

Durant, who is sidelined with a knee sprain, and Williamson, who has missed a month with a hamstring strain could sit out the game. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is tasked with naming injury replacements.

This year’s biggest omissions include Jalen Brunson, Jimmy Butler, Darius Garland, James Harden, Pascal Siakam and Trae Young in the East, and Devin Booker, Anthony Davis, Anthony Edwards, De’Aaron Fox, Aaron Gordon and Kawhi Leonard in the West.

For the second straight season, the Washington Wizards will not have an all-star representative as Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma and Kristaps Porzingis all failed to make the cut. All told, 16 members of the 2022 all-star teams didn’t return: Jarrett Allen, LaMelo Ball, Booker, Butler, Garland, Gobert, Draymond Green, Harden, Zach LaVine, Khris Middleton, Dejounte Murray, Chris Paul, Karl-Anthony Towns, Fred VanVleet, Andrew Wiggins and Young.

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