New Orleans Pelicans rookie Herb Jones has had a strong start to his rookie year. Strong enough to earn him a spot in Cleveland as a Rising Star on NBA  All-Star Weekend.

Jones leads all rookies in steals and is second in blocks after playing in 38 of the Pelicans' 50 games. He averages 9.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.9 blocks, and 29.8 minutes per game.

Jones has been a key piece for the Pelicans since injuries have kept Zion Williamson off the court all season and Brandon Ingram out for the last 14 games. He is arguably one of the best defenders in the league, ranking ninth among all players in steals.

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His shooting has only improved since his jump to the NBA from college ball as well, working with coach Fred Vinson to improve from every part of the field. He’s been shooting at about 50% from the entire field and 40% from three.

“I’m looking forward to it a lot man,” Jones said when asked about the honor in a press conference on Tuesday. “It’s a great feeling to get that accomplishment under my belt.”

The Rising Star Challenge on All-Star Weekend consists of 24 first and second-year players and four G-League Players competing on four different teams in a tournament-style challenge. Semifinal games are played up to 25 points and the final is played to 50 points.

You can see Jones in the rising stars challenge on February 18th in Cleveland, the first night of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend event with the All-Star game taking place on February 20th.

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