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 bold prediction previews: Clippers ready to win West?

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With our PBT Extra videos, we are previewing the entire NBA by using bold predictions, starting in the Pacific Division (we already did the Warriors).

Some of those predictions come from fans on Twitter where I had sent out a request, including the bold prediction for the Clippers.

It could happen, they are certainly contenders. But two things need to happen.

The big one is their defense, which was middle of the pack last season, needs to move into the top 10 (and DeAndre Jordan needs to play consistently like a guy who is third in Defensive Player of the Year voting).

Second is the new and improved bench unit of Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith, and Jamal Crawford (he’s not new) need to mesh into a unit. Those are three guys who like to create for themselves and make questionable shot choices, getting them play well with others could be a bumpy road.

Stephen Curry gives high five while his shot is in air (video)

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Stephen Curry said the defending-champion Warriors would have no problem picking up where they left off.

His swagger certainly remains intact.