NBA All-Star Weekend will have a heavy Los Angeles Lakers influence as Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma were named to the 2019 Mtn Dew Ice Rising Stars Challenge. The announcement comes less than one week after LeBron James was voted one of two All-Star Game captains.
Ball and Kuzma each finished eighth in the backcourt and frontcourt, respectively, in voting for All-Star Game starters. Meanwhile, the two youngsters return to the Rising Stars Challenge for a second consecutive season.
This season is a fourth in a row the Lakers have had at least one player selected. Ball and Kuzma were joined by Brandon Ingram, who is no longer eligible as a third-year player.
Ball and Kuzma mark the 13th and 14th all-time selections the Lakers have had for the showcase (including when it was named the Rookie-Sophomore Game). Additionally, they join Jordan Farmar, D’Angelo Russell and Ingram as Lakers who twice were named to the event.
The complete list of Lakers previously selected to appear in the contest are: Ball (2018 and 2019), Kuzma (2018, 2019), Ingram (2018, 2017), Russell (2017, 2016), Jordan Clarkson (2016), Farmar (2007, 2008), Andrew Bynum (2007), Bryant (1997), Fisher (1997), Knight (1997), Eddie Jones (1995, selected MVP), and Nick Van Exel (1994).
But like last year, Ball figures to miss the game because of injury as he remains on the mend from a Grade 3 sprained left ankle. Kuzma is dealing with a hip strain that’s sidelined him for the past two games but presumably will make a recovery in time to participate.
He had 20 points, seven rebounds and two assists in 18 minutes off the bench last year. Meanwhile, Ingram started and finished with eight points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal.
The 2019 Rising Stars Challenge will be played at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C., on Friday, Feb. 15, at 6 p.m. and air live on TNT.
Complete USA and World rosters included below
Team USA: Jarrett Allen (Nets); Marvin Bagley III (Kings); Lonzo Ball (Lakers); John Collins (Hawks); De’Aaron Fox (Kings); Jaren Jackson Jr. (Grizzlies); Kyle Kuzma (Lakers); Donovan Mitchell (Jazz); Jayson Tatum (Celtics); Trae Young (Hawks)
Team World: OG Anunoby (Raptors); DeAndre Ayton (Suns); Bogdan Bogdanovic (Kings); Luka Doncic (Mavericks); Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Clippers); Rodions Kurucs (Nets); Lauri Markkanen (Bulls); Josh Okogie (Timberwolves); Cedi Osman (Cavaliers); Ben Simmons (76ers)
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