NBA Lord's NBA Blog

NBA Lord's NBA Blog

Friday, February 17, 2017

Fadeaway Friday: What to look for in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge

Tonight at 9:00 PM EST on TNT, the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge will tip off to begin the 2017 NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans. Here are some things to look for in this game.


Team USA: Devin Booker (Suns), Malcolm Brogdon (Bucks), Marquese Chriss (Suns), Brandon Ingram (Lakers), Frank Kaminsky (Hornets), Jahlil Okafor (76ers), D'Angelo Russell (Lakers), Jonathon Simmons (Spurs), Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves), and Myles Turner (Pacers).

Team World: Alex Abrines (Thunder)*, Danté Exum (Jazz), Buddy Hield (Pelicans), Nikola Jokic (Nuggets), Trey Lyles (Jazz), Willy Hernangomez (Knicks)**, Jamal Murray (Nuggets), Kristaps Porzingis (Knicks), Domantas Sabonis (Thunder), and Dario Saric (76ers).

*Injury replacement for Joel Embiid (76ers). **Injury replacement for Emmanuel Mudiay (Nuggets)

What to watch for: The first thing to note about this game is that it is a USA vs. World format. They've done this for a couple of years now, but nonetheless it is a shakeup from the classic East vs. West format. What is most interesting is to see how such a format is actually competitive. Years ago, there wouldn't have been enough international players to form a competitive roster against the United States, but now there absolutely is, which is exciting for the game of basketball.

The second thing to look for are the guys who don't get as much national spotlight. Guys like Devin Booker, Malcolm Brogdon, and Nikola Jokic are having fine seasons, but they are flying under the radar due to playing for small market teams. It will be interesting to see how these guys do playing on a national stage. I'm sure they will relish the moment and do their very to put on a show.

The third thing to look for will be who steps up should this game get close. All of these guys are either in their first or second seasons in the NBA, so they are still getting used to having to take over a game at the NBA level. A lot of these guys have veterans to look to when the game gets close. Some of these guys are in situations where they have to be that guy for their teams already. I think it will be fascinating to see which of these young bucks decides to be the go-to guy in the clutch should this game get competitive. It could provide a window of sorts into which one has the best potential to be the next superstar of the NBA.

Predictions: I'm going to pick the United States to win this game. Even with the world catching up rapidly, the United States still has the better roster. Of course, this game is an exhibition, so anything can happen, but I do think the United States will come out on top. They have the more talented team. I'm going to say the United States wins 130-118.

                                              (Credit: Basket Streaming. Click here for source) 
In regards to an MVP, I've got my money on Karl-Anthony Towns of the Timberwolves. He is averaging 23.7 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game this season. He's the best player on the floor in this game and I expect him to play like it. Look for him to be the main guy that leads the United States to victory.

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