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Mathurin, Nembhard, Miller selected to 2023 NBA Rising Stars Game

A trio of Canadians including Bennedict Mathurin, Andrew Nembhard and Leonard Miller have been selected to the 2023 NBA Rising Stars game.

Canadians Bennedict Mathurin, Ryan Nembhard and Leonard Miller have been selected to the 2023 NBA Rising Stars Game
Canadians Bennedict Mathurin, Ryan Nembhard and Leonard Miller have been selected to the 2023 NBA Rising Stars Game - Illustrations: Edilson J. Silva/BasketballBuzz

As previously mentioned, the 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend is expected to be a busy one for Canadians in the NBA and in G league.

The NBA announced the names of the 28 players selected to the 2023 NBA Rising Stars game. A trio of Canadians will participate as NBA rookies, sophomores and the best of the NBA G League will battle it out for the bragging rights on the big stage.

Indiana Pacers teammates Bennedict Mathurin (Montreal, Que) and Andrew Nembhard (Aurora, Ont.) will join G League Ignite forward Leonard Miller (Scarborough, Ont.) as the three Canadians in the game.

Bennedict Mathurin historic rookie season

Mathurin, currently in the running for a historic rookie and sixth-man of the year awards, is having arguable the best NBA rookie season by a Canadian all-time. Following in the footsteps of Andrew Wiggins, the six-foot-six Pacers shooting guard is in line to become the second Canadian to win the rookie of the year award. Averaging 17.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, he is amongst the league leaders in free-throw attempts at 6.4 per game.

Andrew Nembhard only second-round draft pick selected

After being slept-on throughout the NBA Draft combine and dropping to the second-round of the 2023 NBA Draft, Nembhard has risen to become a regular starter on an improving Indiana Pacers squad. The Canadian rookie point guard is the only second-round draftee to be selected to the 2023 NBA Rising Stars Game.

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Through the first 45 games of his career, Nembhard is putting up 8.5 points per game, 4.0 assists and 2.9 rebounds, The rookie currently trails only Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jamal Murray in total assists by Canadians in the NBA.

Leonard Miller’s master plan

From Fort Erie International, to making six-figures in G League, to now playing front and center in the biggest basketball weekend in the universe.

After much deliberation, it feels like the ultimate plan is unfolding like a masterpiece for Leonard Miller and his camp. The decision to skip NCAA college basketball and become the first Canadian to take his game to G League Ignite is proving to be a checkmate.

The six-foot-eleven, 19-year-old forward is holding his own in a league filled with older, grown men. As per the 2023 BasketballBuzz G-League stats tracker, Miller is averaging 15.1 points, 8.4 rebounds and shooting .553% percent on 11.4 shot attempts.

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Miller, is expected to be a first-round pick in the upcoming 2023 NBA Draft and will also take part in the inaugural G League NBA G League Next Up Game.

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The G League NBA G League Next Up Game

Looking to providing more buzz to the league and its players, NBA G League announced the Next Up Game. A total of twenty-four NBA G League players, including ten selected by fans, will bring their “A” game to the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 3 p.m.

Alongside Miller, a heavy presence of Canadians from the G League are expected to make the trip to Salt Lake City. Lindell Wigginton, Marial Shayok and Nate Darling are having outstanding seasons and should be prime candidates.

History of Canadians in the NBA Rising Stars Game

Steve Nash become the first Canadian to participate in the 1997 Rookie Challenge game, followed by Todd MacCulloch of the Philadelphia 76ers in 2000. It took another twelve years for a Canadian to be selected, with Tristan Thompson ending the NBA Rising Stars game drought in 2012.

Since then, a Canadian basketball player has participated in the rising stars game. In 2015 the game went to a Team World vs Team USA format, Andrew Wiggins was named the most valuable player.

A record five Canadian players were selected in 2021. However, the game was not held due to COVID-19 pandemic.

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NBA Rising Stars Game format

For the second year, the Rising Stars game will feature a three-game mini-tournament among four teams comprised of NBA rookies, sophomores and NBA G League players.

Selected by NBA assistant coaches, the 21 players NBA players will be drafted onto three seven-player teams, the G league team will make–up the fourth team.

2023 NBA Rising Stars game will take place on Friday, February 17, 2023 at 9:00 EST at Vivint arena in Salt Lake City.

Rookie Team

Paolo BancheroOrlando MagicForward
Jalen Duren
Detroit Pistons
AJ GriffinAtlanta HawksGuard
Jaden Ivey
Detroit Pistons
Walker KesslerUtah JazzCenter
Bennedict MathurinIndiana Pacers
Keegan MurraySacramento KingsGuard
Andrew NembhardIndiana PacersGuard
Jabari Smith Jr.Houston RocketsForward
Jeremy SochanSan Antonio SpursForward
Jalen WilliamsOklahoma City ThunderForward

Sophomore Team

Jose AlvaradoNew Orleans PelicansGuard
Scottie BarnesToronto Raptors
Josh GiddeyOklahoma City ThunderGuard
Jalen GreenHouston RocketsGuard
Quentin GrimesNew York KnicksGuard
Bones HylandDenver NuggetsGuard
Evan MobleyCleveland CavaliersForward
Trey Murphy IIINew Orleans PelicansForward
Jabari Smith Jr.Houston RocketsForward
Alperen SengunHouston RocketsCenter
Franz WagnerOrlando MagicForward

G League Ignite Team

Sidy CissokoNew Orleans PelicansGuard
Mojave KingToronto RaptorsForward
Scoot HendersonOklahoma City ThunderGuard
Kenneth Lofton Jr.Houston RocketsForward
Mac McClungNew York KnicksGuard
Leonard MillerDenver NuggetsForward
Scotty Pippen Jr.Cleveland CavaliersGuard
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