Knicks guard Lin smiles during player introductions before the start of the Knicks' NBA basketball game against the Timberwolves in Minneapolis

Jeremy Lin added to Rising Stars All-Star Weekend game


How about Jeremy Lin throwing ally-oops to Blake Griffin?

You got it. Thanks to a late add by the NBA and some drafting prowess by Shaquille O’Neal, Lin and Griffin will be playing together the Friday night of All-Star weekend at the Rising Stars Challenge (formerly the Rookie/Sophomore Game).

Lin was not on the original list of invitees — put together and announced before his run the last couple weeks — but when it came time to pick team’s for the event on Friday, “commissioner” Kenny Smith was given the power to add two players.

He added Lin. Which is something we at PBT had suggested the league needed to do. Norris Cole also got added.

You had to know the NBA would do this — they are too smart at marketing to leave their hottest player on the sidelines during their biggest weekend.

Rather than rookies vs. sophomores this year, a group of 20 first and second year players were thrown in a pool and drafted playground style (one at a time) by TNT personalities (and former All-Stars) Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley.

Team Shaq vs. Team Chuck.

Here’s how it shakes out:

Team Shaq: Blake Griffin (Clippers), Jeremy Lin (Knicks), Ricky Rubio (Timberwolves), Greg Monroe (Pistons), Markieff Morris (Suns), Kemba Walker (Bobcats), Landry Fields (Knicks), Norris Cole (Heat), Brandon Knight (Pistons), Tristan Thompson (Cavaliers).

Team Chuck: Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers), DeMarcus Cousins (Kings), Paul George (Pacers), Derrick Williams (Timberwolves), MarShon Brooks (Nets), John Wall (Wizards), Gordon Hayward (Jazz), Tiago Splitter (Spurs), Kawhi Leonard (Spurs), Evan Turner (76ers).

Predicting an exhibition game is futile. But first glance, in a wide open game without defense…. I’ll take Team Chuck.

The game is Feb. 24, a Friday night, live from Orlando. You can watch it on TNT. (And PBT will be at All-Star Weekend giving you all the coverage you can handle.)

PBT Extra: How did Thunder, Pacers move up in PBT Power Rankings?

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As they do every Monday during the season, the PBT Power Rankings came out and while the top three remained the same there were some climbers.

Specifically, the Thunder at No. 4 and the Pacers at No. 5.

Why they are there is the latest PBT Extra topic with Jenna Corrado. The simple answer is they are both excellent teams. Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Paul George are all playing like Top 10 players.

PBT Podcast: We’re back talking Kobe, 76ers, Warriors, Pistons, more

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The ProBasketballTalk NBA podcast is back.

Sure we’re a month into the season, but we’re going to get this podcast rolling again and you can expect us on each Monday and Thursday, with a variety of guests talking everything around the NBA.

Today NBC’s own Dan Feldman joins Kurt Helin to talk Kobe Bryant‘s retirement announcement, and what that means both for the Lakers going forward this season and beyond, but also what that could mean for Byron Scott’s future as the Lakers’ coach.

We also delve into the “showdown” between the Lakers and Sixers on Thursday, talk about the job Brett Brown is doing there as coach (a good one), we talk some Warriors, some Draymond Green, Pistons, Spurs and Pacers to round it all out.

Listen to the podcast below or you can listen and subscribe via iTunes.


Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins probable to play against Dallas Monday

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It’s this simple: The Sacramento Kings are 5-5 when DeMarcus Cousins plays this season, 1-7 when he sits. (And that win number is a big misleading, they looked like they would have beaten Charlotte with him, but when he left with back pain they lost, they could easily be 6-4 with him.)

So it’s good news that Cousins is expected to return to the Sacramento lineup Monday night. Well not good for Rick Carlisle and the Mavericks, but good for the Kings, as reported by James Ham at CSNBayArea,com.

This season Cousins is averaging 27.9 points and 11.2 rebounds a game, he has a true shooting percentage above the league average (56.3 percent for Cousins) and he has a PER of 27.1 which is sixth best in the league.

Combine him with the numbers Rajon Rondo has put up lately the Kings become much more dangerous. They’d be even scarier if everyone stayed healthy and George Karl would settle on a lineup.

PBT Extra: Kobe Bryant understands now is time to walk away

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It was expected Kobe Bryant would retire at the end of this season.

It was not expected Kobe would make that official on Nov. 29 — it’s caught the media at Staples Center Sunday (of which I was one) and the fans by surprise.

In this PBT Extra, I talk with Jenna Corrado about the mood inside Staples Center Sunday.

More importantly, I discuss the sense I got that Kobe understands it’s time to walk away, and he is at peace with that.