Pistons’ rookies Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren selected to 2023 Rising Stars roster

Detroit News

Detroit — The young Pistons roster will be well-represented at NBA All-Star Weekend next month in Salt Lake City.

Rookies Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren were two of 11 first-year players selected to the 2023 Rising Stars Challenge, the NBA announced on Tuesday.

The 28 participants are comprised of 11 rookies, 10 sophomores and seven NBA G League players. The NBA players were selected by assistant coaches throughout the league and the G League players were selected by the league office.

The Rising Stars Challenge, formerly known as the Rookie-Sophomore Game, is the NBA’s annual showcase of the best young talent in the league. It will be held on Friday, Feb. 17 at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. The game will be televised by TNT and will air at 9 p.m. ET.

Ivey, the fifth overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, is averaging 15.1 points (third among rookies), 4.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game (first among rookies) this season. He has four double-doubles this season, which is fifth among rookies. He’s getting 30 minutes per game, second among rookies, behind No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero, who was also named to the Rising Stars roster.

The 20-year-old guard out of Purdue has assumed the responsibility of leading the Pistons’ offense over the past four games since his transition to the point guard position. He’s one of the fastest players in the league and can use his speed to go coast-to-coast, which creates scoring opportunities for himself of his teammates.

Duren, the 13th overall pick, who was acquired in a trade with the New York Knicks on draft night, has developed into a steal for the Pistons. He’s averaging 8.4 points and leads all rookies with 8.5 rebounds per game. The 19-year-old center is also tied for first among rookies with 10 double-doubles.

After initially starting the year on the bench, Duren’s role has been expedited in light of injuries and the Pistons’ need to play with two bigs. His insertion into the starting lineup has been a plus for the team, due to his relentless effort on the boards.

Both players possess natural athleticism, which has led to several highlight dunks throughout the season.

Ivey and Duren are the first Pistons selected to the Rising Stars Challenge since last season, when Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart were participants in the junior-varsity version of the All-Star Game. Cunningham was named MVP of last year’s event after leading Team Barry (coached by Brent Barry) to a win over Team Isiah (coached by Pistons great Isiah Thomas).

Cunningham, the No. 1 pick of the 2021 NBA Draft, was on pace to qualify for this year’s event until he was sidelined after 12 games due to a lingering stress fracture in his left leg, which required season-ending surgery. He averaged 19.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 6.0 assists in his brief sophomore campaign.

The Rising Stars Challenge will follow the same format as last year’s newly-revamped event, which features a mini-tournament with four teams and three games. Each semifinal game will be played to a final target score of 40, while the final two teams will play to 25.

The game’s honorary coaches are former NBA players Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah, Jason Terry and Deron Williams. Terry will coach the team of G League players, while Gasol, Noah and Williams will draft from the pool of 21 NBA players.

Ivey and Duren join 14 other Pistons who have previously competed in the Rising Stars Challenge since its inception in 1994.

That list includes Lindsey Hunter (1994); Mateen Cleaves (2001); Zeljko Rebraca (2002); Tayshaun Prince (2004); Rodney Stuckey (2009); Jonas Jerebko (2010); Greg Monroe (2011-12); Brandon Knight (2012-13); Andre Drummond (2013-14); Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (2015); Svi Mykhailiuk (2020); and the aforementioned Cunningham, Bey and Stewart (2022).

Wizards at Pistons

Tipoff: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Little Caesars Arena

TV/radio: BSD/97.1

Outlook: The Pistons (13-39) have lost six of their last seven games and they are 3-10 in the month of January. The Wizards (24-26) have won six straight games and have risen to ninth place in the Eastern Conference.

mcurtis@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @MikeACurtis2

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