Anthony Edwards goes No. 1 over LaMelo Ball in Rising Stars draft

Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball at Charlotte Hornets v Minnesota Timberwolves
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Remember when the NBA didn’t televise the All-Star draft, defeating the best purpose of an All-Star draft?

The league committed a similar own goal with the new Rising Stars draft.

Even with the star power of NBA legends Isiah Thomas, Rick Barry, Gary Payton and James Worthy selecting from the 28-player pool, the Rising Stars draft wasn’t televised. Initially, the league announced only the four rosters in alphabetical order.

But, unlike that first All-Star draft, at least the NBA eventually revealed the full draft results. Here are all 28 picks with where each player was selected in our Rising Stars mock draft in brackets:

Round 1

1 [2]. Isiah Thomas: Anthony Edwards (Timberwolves)

2 [4]. Ricky Barry: Evan Mobley (Cavaliers)

3 [1]. Gary Payton: LaMelo Ball (Hornets)

4. [12] James Worthy: Cole Anthony (Magic)

Round 2

5 [10]. James Worthy: Josh Giddey (Thunder)

6 [7]. Gary Payton: Scottie Barnes (Raptors)

7 [6]. Ricky Barry: Cade Cunningham (Pistons)

8 [14]. Isiah Thomas: Saddiq Bey (Pistons)

Round 3

9 [3]. Isiah Thomas: Desmond Bane (Grizzlies)

10 [8]. Ricky Barry: Franz Wagner (Magic)

11 [19]. Gary Payton: Jaden McDaniels (Timberwolves)

12 [15]. James Worthy: Jalen Green (Rockets)

Round 4

13 [16]. James Worthy: Herbert Jones (Pelicans)

14 [21]. Gary Payton: Ayo Dosunmu (Bulls)

15 [11]. Ricky Barry: Jae'Sean Tate (Rockets)

16. [23] Isiah Thomas: Isaiah Stewart (Pistons)

Round 5

17 [5]. Isiah Thomas: Tyrese Haliburton (Kings)

18 [17]. Ricky Barry: Isaac Okoro (Cleveland Cavaliers)

19 [13]. Gary Payton: Chris Duarte (Pacers)

20 [20]. James Worthy: Jalen Suggs (Magic)

Round 6

21 [9]. James Worthy: Tyrese Maxey (76ers)

22 [22]. Gary Payton: Davion Mitchell (Kings)

23 [18]. Ricky Barry: Alperen Sengun, Houston Rockets

24 [24]. Isiah Thomas: Precious Achiuwa (Raptors)

Round 7

25 [25]. Isiah Thomas: Jaden Hardy (Ignite)

26 [27]. Ricky Barry: Dyson Daniels (Ignite)

27 [26]. Gary Payton: Scoot Henderson (Ignite)

28 [28]. James Worthy: MarJon Beauchamp (Ignite)

Thoughts and observations:

  • I thought LaMelo Ball was a near-automatic No. 1 pick. His lead-guard skills, flashiness and overall level of play make him a great choice for Rising Stars. If anyone could challenge him for top pick, it was Anthony Edwards, whom Isiah Thomas did take No. 1. But Ball falling to No. 3 is surprising.
  • Cole Anthony going No. 4 would have made sense two months ago. But he has struggled since an ankle injury, shooting 38% on 2-pointers and 25% on 3-pointers in his last 15 games. Still, Anthony has the talent and mentality to justify this pick in the bright lights of All-Star Weekend.
  • How did Desmond Bane fall to No. 9? He, Edwards and Ball were the only Rising Stars getting serious All-Star consideration this year. Plus, Bane’s 3-point shooting and newfound driving ability make him a good fit for this event.
  • Another good NBA player who shoots well from the perimeter, Tyrese Haliburton lasted all the way to No. 17. He would’ve been a great fit on any roster and also should’ve gone much higher.
  • Isiah Thomas cleaned up on both Bane and Haliburton. Tom Haberstroh once rated Thomas the NBA’s best-drafting general manager for his time with the Raptors and Knicks.
  • Tyrese Maxey is a solid starting NBA point guard. That goes a long way in an exhibition of rookies and sophomores. A bonus: Maxey can create his own shot pretty well. Yet, he fell to No. 21.
  • Precious Achiuwa went last among NBA players in both our mock and the actual draft.