The Pacers will be well represented in the NBA Jordan Rising Stars game on NBA All-Star weekend at Salt Lake City with both Bennedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard among the rookies selected.
On Tuesday, the league announced the pool of rookies and sophomore players along with the G-League team who will make up the four teams that will compete in the Rising Start tournament on Friday, Feb. 17.
No surprise that either player is included on the rookie list with Mathurin continuing to produce big numbers off the bench for the Pacers while drafting close behind Paolo Banchero for Rookie of the Year. While it seems like Bachero put this award away early, if Benn can continue his consistent effort, voters will have to let the battle play out and take another look. But the best part of Mathurin is that while he appreciates the nod for the Rising Stars game, you know he is wondering why he isn’t considered for the main All-Star game.
As for Nembhard, the unquestioned steal of the draft quickly established himself in the Pacers playing rotation and then forced the league to take notice with a dramatic game-winner against the Lakers. Now he needs to finish through the rookie grind which has taken a toll with Tyrese Haliburton out, but there is no doubt he belongs on this list. Walker Kessler as the No. 22 overall pick is the next lowest rookie to be selected.
Here is the list of players:
The NBA announced today the 28 players who have earned spots to compete in the 2023 Jordan Rising Stars.— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) January 31, 2023
The player pool consists of 11 NBA rookies, 10 second-year NBA players and seven NBA G League players. pic.twitter.com/hxlHTYd0OT
Can’t help but love the format for the games on All-Star Friday night. The pool of Rookies and Sophomores will be divided into three 7-man teams while the G-League squad with consensus No. 2 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, Scoot Henderson, will make up the fourth team. There will be two semi-final games to a set score (LOVE the Elam ending) of 40 followed by the winners playing for the championship in a game to 25.
Always fun to have Pacers involved in All-Star Weekend festivities and these rookies have certainly earned their shine.