The rosters have been set for the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, the game featuring the league’s top rookies and sophomores that will kick off the All-Star weekend festivities on Friday, Feb. 15.
Teams were drafted from the pool of available players by TNT analysts Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley, with Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio and Sacramento’s Isaiah Thomas being added as potential draftees by Kenny Smith.
TEAM SHAQ took Damian Lillard with his first pick, and ended up with Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons), Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors), Chandler Parsons (Houston Rockets), Dion Waiters (Cleveland Cavaliers), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Charlotte Bobcats), Tyler Zeller (Cleveland), and Kemba Walker (Charlotte).
TEAM CHUCK is comprised of Rubio, Thomas, Anthony Davis (New Orleans Hornets), Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland), Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic), Brandon Knight (Detroit), Isaiah Thomas (Sacramento Kings), and Alexey Shved (Minnesota Timberwolves).
These games are always ridiculously high-scoring, and can be a lot of fun if the players take it at least a little bit seriously. On paper, Team Shaq would appear to have a huge advantage, as speed and guard play tends to rule these types of exhibitions.
Irving won the MVP of the 2012 game in Orlando by finishing with 34 points and nine assists, while going 8-8 from three-point distance.