The NBA announced the 20 participants for the 2020 Rising Stars Challenge in Chicago on Feb. 14, and Wendell Carter Jr. was named to the United States team. Unfortunately due to his injury, Carter will not be playing, so Zion Williamson was named as his injury replacement:
Prior to injuring his ankle earlier this month, Carter was enjoying a stellar sophomore season. He’s averaging 11.7 points and 9.9 rebounds while shooting 53.7% from the field. He also anchored a defense that has been way better than expected.
Carter suffered his injury on Jan. 6 against the Mavs, and he was given a 4-6 week timetable to return. All-Star Weekend falls right in the middle of that timetable, so even if he’s technically healthy enough to play by then, there’s no reason to risk anything in the Rising Stars Challenge.
UPDATE: The Bulls announced that Carter isn’t expected back until after the All-Star break.
Zion, despite barely playing this season, is obviously a fun replacement who will put on a show, though some will take issue with that whole not playing thing.
You’ll also notice that Coby White didn’t make the game. White has certainly had his moments this season, but he has been rather hot and cold and hasn’t had one of his major explosions in a while.
The rookie guard is averaging 11.1 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists on the year. He’s shooting 37.6% overall and 34.6% from 3. It’s a bummer that he won’t be able to get buckets in front of the Chicago fans, but it’s understandable why he got left off the roster.