- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 3, 2021

There won’t be a Rising Stars Challenge game this year due to the pandemic, but a pair of Washington Wizards forwards were still on the roster when the teams were unveiled Wednesday.

Rui Hachimura and Deni Avdija — the team’s first-round picks from 2019 and 2020 — made the World Team roster, which would normally compete against Team USA. This is Hachimura’s second straight year earning the honor, while it is the first for Avdija, a rookie. 

This season, Hachimura is averaging 12.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. The 22-year-old Japanese native has notably improved on the defensive end and has become a reliable starter for the Wizards.

Avdija, meanwhile, has settled into a bench role for Washington. After opening the year as a starter, Avdija was demoted to the second unit because of defensive struggles. But the Israeli rookie is averaging six points and 4.6 rebounds per game. 

Eight others players were named to the World Team: Precious Achiuwa (Miami), Nickeil Alexander-Walker (New Orleans), RJ Barrett (New York), Facundo Campazzo (Denver), Brandon Clarke (Memphis), Luguentz Dort (Oklahoma City), Theo Maledon (Oklahoma City) and Mychal Mulder (Golden State).

The All-Star Game takes place this weekend in Atlanta this Sunday. The NBA will also have the 3-point shooting contest and the Slam Dunk Contest take place on the same day. 



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