Joel Embiid, Ja Morant headline 2023 NBA All-Star reserves

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant headlined the 2023 NBA All-Star reserves, who were announced Thursday night.

Embiid, who just missed being a starter in the Eastern Conference when starters were announced last week, was joined by Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown (second All-Star selection), Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (second), Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday (second), Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan (sixth), New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (second) and Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton, who is a first-time All-Star.

"It's everything," DeRozan said of being picked. "I just hope anybody out there, whatever field you work in, never listens to the outside noise, to people doubting you, counting you out, everything. As long as you're true to yourself, believe in yourself, you keep putting in the work with a genuine heart and genuine passion, you'll be rewarded.''

Meanwhile, the Western Conference All-Star reserve selections besides Morant are Sacramento Kings center Domantas Sabonis (third), Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (seventh) and LA Clippers guard Paul George (eighth), in addition to first-time selections in Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen and Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr.

"It means a lot," Morant said on the TNT broadcast of the announcements. "Obviously, it shows my work that I've put in day in and day out. ... Hopefully, Jaren gets picked on the same team as me."

After the starters from both conferences were announced last week, the seven reserves from the East and West were selected by the league's head coaches in voting conducted over the past several days.

The reserve groups are made up of two backcourt and three frontcourt players from each conference -- mirroring the starters -- as well as two "wild-card" selections that could come from any position.

"It's an honor, man," Randle said after the Knicks' 106-104 win over the Heat on Thursday. "It's something I'll never take for granted, obviously. It's an individual award but I look at it as a team award. There's plenty of guys who are playing great in this league, but obviously winning, you look at that list, winning is what's most important. I look at it as a team award. My team trusts me to go out and do what I do every night, and we're winning games, so just want to take it up another level."

Several previous All-Stars just missed the cut this season, including Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, Los Angeles Lakers center Anthony Davis, Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young, Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam and Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler. Former MVP James Harden was another omission, breaking his streak of 10 consecutive All-Star appearances.

Embiid took to Twitter to express his disappointment at his co-star's snub.

Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, who is set to coach Team LeBron at the All-Star Game, called it a "travesty" that forward Aaron Gordon did not make the team.

"Aaron Gordon deserves to be an All-Star," Malone said ahead of Thursday's game against the Golden State Warriors. "When you have the best record in the Western Conference, and you've had it for a while now, and you've been able to sustain that high level, and you look at the year that Aaron Gordon is having, to me it's just a travesty that the coaches didn't vote him in."

All-Star starters Kevin Durant and Zion Williamson are both currently out with injuries and if either of them, or any other selection, cannot play in the All-Star Game on Feb. 19, commissioner Adam Silver will choose a replacement.

This year's All-Star Game will mark the sixth time the NBA has conducted a draft of the 24 players with each team helmed by a captain who was the top vote-getter in each conference -- Giannis Antetokounmpo in the East and LeBron James in the West.

The new wrinkle this year, however, is that the draft itself will take place shortly before the game begins, as opposed to in a pre-taped segment aired in advance of All-Star Weekend.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.