Team World vs. Team USA – 2/15/19 NBA All-Star Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Before the NBA’s established elites take control of Windy City at the upcoming All-Star Weekend, the stars of tomorrow get the first crack at wowing the Chicago faithful in Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge.
Or, in the case of Luka Doncic and Trae Young, sometimes the stars of tomorrow also double as established elites. Each will double-dip in the weekend exhibitions suiting up in both Friday’s tilt and Sunday’s headliner.
But we’re here to talk about the Rising Stars Challenge, and we’ll preview the game with a look at the rosters, snubs and predictions for the 2020 edition.
2020 NBA Rising Stars
When: Friday, Feb. 14 at 9 p.m. ET
Where: United Center, Chicago
Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets
Wendell Carter Jr., Chicago Bulls
Devonte’ Graham, Charlotte Hornets
Tyler Herro, Miami Heat (injured, will not play)
Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies
Kendrick Nunn, Miami Heat
Eric Paschall, Golden State Warriors
Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers (injury replacement)
PJ Washington, Charlote Hornets
Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, New Orleans Pelicans
Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns
RJ Barrett, New York Knicks
Brandon Clarke, Memphis Grizzlies
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder
Rui Hachimura, Washington Wizards
Svi Mykhailiuk, Detroit Pistons
Josh Okogie, Minnesota Timberwolves
Moritz Wagner, Washington Wizards
Any time subjective distinctions are thrown on players, there will always be gripes about which ones weren’t selected. By and large, though, the assistant coaches who assembled these groups got a lot more right than wrong.
Matisse Thybulle thinks he belongs. Jaxson Hayes is less than thrilled by his omission. Terence Davis has people talking about his absence from the list.
Like we said, gripes are unavoidable with this kind of thing, but were any players egregiously wronged by being excluded? It would be a stretch for anyone other than these players and their immediate family members and agents to characterize it as such, but they all had arguments for consideration.
Hayes ranks second among rookies in win shares. Thybulle is tied for fourth on that list. The undrafted Davis could have been a fun story given his unexpected emergence as a rotation regular for the Toronto Raptors.
Of all the players under consideration, Mitchell Robinson trails only Doncic in win shares. But the 21-year-old didn’t get any assistance from the Knicks. It would be tough to label any second-year player as a rising star when he’s seeing fewer than 23 minutes per night for a team with a .315 winning percentage.
Landry Shamet (Los Angeles Clippers), Donte DiVincenzo (Milwaukee Bucks), Grant Williams (Boston Celtics) and Jalen Brunson (Dallas Mavericks) all contribute to winning teams, which might matter to some.
Among all the exclusions, though, a couple of net-shredders stand out as the top snubs. Duncan Robinson and Kevin Huerter could have been show-stoppers if either caught fire from distance. The former is even going to be at All-Star Weekend already, since he’s participating in the three-point contest.
The field could have included both, but even then, they won’t go down as glaring omissions.
Upon adopting the Team USA vs. Team World format in 2015, the latter has claimed victory in three of the five matchups. But this is a tremendous opportunity for the former to even the score.
If you drafted from the combined player pools, Team World might have the top pick with Doncic, but Team USA could go on a long run from there. Morant, Young and Williamson could all fight for No. 2, and Jackson probably rounds out the first five when the dust settles.
Between Young, Graham and Nunn, Team USA boasts at least three shot-creators with dangerous long-distance strokes. Morant is a wizard with the basketball, and both he and Young will connect on some memorable lobs with Williamson, Jackson and Bridges.
Doncic and Gilgeous-Alexander should keep Team World’s offense under control, but it doesn’t have as many self-sufficient scorers. Ayton’s post game could be tricky to use in this setting, Clarke’s glue-game skills work better in real games and this team has too many supporting actors for a star-driven contest.
Unless the game is close enough late enough for Doncic and Gilgeous-Alexander to work their half-court mastery, this should be an opportunity for Team USA to run and gun its way to victory.
Final Score: Team USA 157, Team World 143