Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell named NBA All-Stars for a third consecutive season

Despite the Jazz’s poor January, and their stars’ respective injuries, the Western Conference coaches voted to make both players reserves for the Feb. 20 game in Cleveland.

What once was novel and new has now become an annual tradition: the Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell are NBA All-Stars.

Both were selected as reserves for the All-Star Game for a third consecutive season on Thursday.

Gobert is averaging 16.0 points, 15.1 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game, while shooting 70.7% from the field. Though he has missed Utah’s past five games with a left calf strain, he is expected to return in time to play in the All-Star Game.

Mitchell, who is set to return Friday from an eight-game absence following a concussion, is averaging 25.5 points, 5.2 assists, and 4.0 rebounds, while shooting 45.0% from the field.

Both Jazz players have made the All-Star Game in exactly the same seasons, becoming first-time All-Stars in the 2019-20 season in Chicago, and then following up again last season in Atlanta.

Jazz point guard Mike Conley, who made his long-awaited All-Star debut last season as an injury replacement, was not selected this time around.

The other Western reserves, as selected by Western Conference coaches (who could not vote for their own players), include Suns guards Devin Booker and Chris Paul, Dallas’ Luka Doncic, Golden State forward Draymond Green and Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns.

Green revealed on the TNT broadcast announcing the selections that he will not return from injury before the All-Star Game, which will necessitate a replacement selection by commissioner Adam Silver.

Gobert was thought to have a chance to gain one of the West’s three frontcourt starting spots this season, owing to the combination of his outstanding performance and some injuries and down seasons by other contenders. However, with fan voting weighted more heavily than media selections and player voting, the Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins became a surprise starter next to surefire locks LeBron James (Lakers) and Nikola Jokic (Nuggets).

Golden State’s Steph Curry and Memphis’ Ja Morant are the West’s starting backcourt.

In the Eastern Conference, the reserves announced Thursday included Jimmy Butler (Heat), Darius Garland (Cavaliers), James Harden (Nets), Zach LaVine (Bulls), Khris Middleton (Bucks), Jayson Tatum (Celtics) and Fred VanVleet (Raptors).

The East starters are Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), Kevin Durant (Nets), Joel Embiid (76ers), DeMar DeRozan (Bulls) and Trae Young (Hawks).

After the Jazz faced the Cavaliers earlier this season, Mitchell was a strong public advocate for Garland making the All-Star Game.

The team captains, James and Durant, will draft rosters on Feb. 10 from among all the players selected, first among the starters, then alternating choices from among the reserves.

Last year, Mitchell and Conley joined forces on Team Giannis, while Gobert was on the victorious Team LeBron squad helmed by Jazz coach Quin Snyder.

This season’s All-Star Game will be played Feb. 20 in Cleveland.