Get ready, because the future of the NBA is about to hit the court. Some of the league’s youngest talent will square off in the Rising Stars Challenge Game on Feb. 17, so tune in to see some future Hall Of Famers in action!
The BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge will allow first and second year players, selected by the NBA’s assistant coaches, to step into the spotlight during the All-Star Game weekend. Formerly called the “Rookie Challenge,” the Feb. 17 event will see players like Karl-Anthony Towns, 21, D’Angelo Russell, 20, and Devin Booker, 20, join Team USA.
On the other end, Kristaps Porzingis, 21, Nikola Jokic, 21, and Jamal Murray, 19, will join the rest of the league’s international rookies to form Team World. It should be a wonderful display of brotherhood and skill, so tune in when the game kicks off at 9:00 PM ET.
Joel Embiid, 22, was supposed to represent Cameroon, but he has to sit out due to a knee injury. Emmanuel Mudiay, 20, of the DR Congo, was also supposed to play, but he’s out due to a back injury. Spain’s Willy Hernangomez, 22, and Alex Abines, 23, were named as the replacement players. Overall, eight countries – Spain, Australia, Bahamas, Serbia, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, and Croatia – will be represented (ten if you include the injured players.)
Expect Karl-Anthony to have a big game, as the 2016 NBA Skills Challenge Champion and 2016 Rookie of the Year is having a monster season. As a sophomore, he’s averaging 23 points and 11 rebounds on 50% shooting, according to HoopsHype (per Bleacher Report.) The last sophomore to pull that stunt was Shaquille O’Neal in 1993-94. If he keeps this up, he’ll join the proper All-Star squad next year.
However, keep your eye on Nikola Jokic during this game. The Serbian player for the Denver Nuggets is on a hot streak, including dropping a 40-point game against the New York Knicks. He’s a heavy favorite to win the MVP award of this game, but with so many hungry, young players hitting the court, it’s anyone’s award to win.
Are you excited to see the young studs of the NBA play, HollywoodLifers? Which young player is your favorite? Who do you think will win the MVP?