Tag: NBA Rookie/Sophomore challege


All-Star rookies vs. sophomores game may see changes


It’s one of the “highlights” — and we use the term loosely — of Friday night of All-Star weekend: NBA rookies taking on NBA sophomores (officially called the Rookie Challenge). There’s a lot of showboating and not a lot of defense — basically a less interesting version of the All-Star game itself. But this year things may be different. We’re reserve our judgment on better, but different. Here are the rumblings, via Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.com.

There have been rumblings that this year’s Rookie-Sophomore game won’t pit the two draft classes against each other, but rather feature two teams with a combination of rookies and sophomores. We’re hearing that two TNT personalities – possibly Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal – will assemble the teams from the pool of selected players and coach the squads, as well. That means we could see Kyrie Irving throwing alley oops to Blake Griffin or John Wall running a fastbreak with MarShon Brooks.

All changes to such an event are made in an effort to improve the television product. So, Shaq mumbling coaching instructions and Ricky Rubio looking at his teammates and asking, “What did he say?” in much clearer English does have the potential to be a better product. And funnier. But we’ll withhold judgment. We’re not sure much of anything can save this game.

If Blake Griffin makes All-Star Game, expect him to miss Rookie Challenge

Los Angeles Clippers v Dallas Mavericks
1 Comment

Blake Griffin is on the bubble for being selected to play in the All-Star Game as a rookie (we have him in, but mostly for the entertainment factor). Everyone (including the Clippers) will find out Thursday.

If he does make the cut to play the game in his home arena, expect him to skip out on the Friday Night rookie/sophomore game, Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro suggested Wednesday night. Also, he expects Griffin to make it.

“I don’t expect that,” Del Negro said before the Clippers took on the Bulls. “I was talking to Neal (Olshey, Clippers GM), hopefully, because he’s in the Dunk Contest, if he’s selected (to the All-Star Game), which I think he is, there’s only so much energy the kid has. We (will be) coming off a tough road trip, with all the All-Star his schedule is pretty busy, but we’ll work that out as we get the final decision on what his weekend is going to entail.”

I’m not sure I totally buy the energy argument because we’ve seen how hard guys really play in the rookie challenge and the All-Star Game itself. Plus, Griffin is 21, at that age nothing should wear him out.

That said, with him on the bigger stages it makes sense to let another rookie have his place if he does get an invite to the big dance. Then again, if it means we miss John Wall lobbing ally-oops to Griffin, I’m not sure I can support the move.

Tyreke Evans, Blake Griffin headline rookie/sophomore game

Tyreke Evans All-Star

John Wall vs. Brandon Jennings. Serge Ibaka matched up on Blake Griffin. DeJuan Blair against DeMarcus Cousins.

Those would be facinating matchups if any of those players really cared about the NBA All-Star Rookie/Sophomore game (formally called the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge). But alas, they don’t, still we should get a few highlights. Wall lobbing ally-oops to Griffin certainly has potential. Still, as this is treated as a defense-less exhibition, watch at your own discretion on Friday night (Feb. 18).

Here are the teams for the game:

Sophomores: Tyreke Evans (guard, Kings), DeJuan Blair (forward, Spurs), Stephen Curry (guard, Warriors), DeMar DeRozan, (guard, Raptors), Taj Gibson (forward, Bulls), Jrue Holiday (guard, 76ers), Serge Ibaka (forward/center, Thunder), Brandon Jennings (guard, Bucks) and Wesley
Matthews (guard, Trail Blazers).

Rookies: Blake Griffin (forward, Clippers), John Wall  (guard, Wizards), Eric Bledsoe (guard, Clippers), DeMarcus Cousins (forward, Kings), Derrick Favors (forward, Nets), Landry Fields (guard, Knicks), Wesley Johnson (guard, Timberwolves), Greg Monroe (center, Pistons) and Gary Neal (guard, Spurs).

The rookies will be coached by Spurs lead assistant coach Mike Budenholzer with help from Amar’e Stoudemire and Kevin McHale. The sophomores will be coached by the lead assistant from the top team in the East — Boston will wrap that up tonight — helped by Carmelo Anthony and Steve Kerr. That way Anthony can talk to the sophomores about getting out of their contracts in a few years. Really teach them the tricks of the trade.

Last season, for the first time ever, the rookies beat the sophomores. This time we’d say the rookies have a real chance… if we thought anyone really cared about the outcome.