Suns centre Deandre Ayton in action during the first half of a game on February 5 in Detroit. A nagging ankle injury will keep him sidelined during NBA All-Star weekend.
(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
A NAGGING ankle injury will keep Deandre Ayton sidelined during NBA All-Star weekend and forced his withdrawal from the 2020 NBA Rising Stars Game.
The Phoenix Suns centre will be replaced by Nicolo Melli of the New Orleans Pelicans in the game, to be hosted February 14 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
It was Ayton’s second consecutive selection to the game which features 10 first- and second-year NBA players from the United States against 10 first- and second-year NBA players from around the world in the league’s annual showcase of premier young talent.
Ayton has missed Phoenix’s last two games with the aforementioned left ankle injury.
Ayton has posted 15 double doubles in just 23 games this season, shortened by his 25-game suspension for violating the league’s anti-drug policy.
The second year centre is averaging 18.2 points and 12 rebounds per game.
The World Team also includes Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (Slovenia), New Orleans Pelicans guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Canada); New York Knicks guard/forward RJ Barrett (Canada); Memphis Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke (Canada); Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Canada); Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura (Japan) and center Moritz Wagner (Germany); Detroit Pistons guard/forward Svi Mykhailiuk (Ukraine); and Minnesota Timberwolves guard Josh Okogie (Nigeria).
Team USA features Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young, Charlotte Hornets forwards Miles Bridges and PJ Washington and guard Devonte’ Graham; Chicago Bulls center Wendell Carter Jr.; Miami Heat guards Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn; Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. and guard Ja Morant; and Golden State Warriors forward Eric Paschall.
Pelicans forward Zion Williamson was selected by the NBA as the replacement for the injured Carter.
Herro is injured and will be replaced by Collin Sexton of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Ayton made his NBA All-Star Weekend debut in the 2019 Rising Stars game and finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Team World lost 161-144 to Team USA.
In addition to the Rising Stars, Ayton was also one of three NBA players selected to coach top international prospects at the 5th Basketball Without Borders Camp which hosted the top 63 high school aged boys and girls from 31 countries and regions.