Griffin, Rubio picked for Rising Stars Challenge

Wanna see Ricky Rubio throw lobs to Blake Griffin? How about John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins teaming up again, as they did at Kentucky?
It could happen in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, which revealed its player pool Wednesday.

As we reported Tuesday, the Rookie-Sophomore Challenge is no more. NBA assistant coaches picked the pool of nine rookies and nine sophomores listed below, but TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal will serve as GMs and draft teams Feb. 16 on the air that will meet each other on Feb. 24.

Ultimately, each team should have a mix of first- and second-year players – unless Barkley loses his mind and picks all rookies.

The rookies are:

MarShon Brooks, G, New Jersey

Kyrie Irving, G Cleveland

Brandon Knight, G Detroit

Kawhi Leonard, G-F, San Antonio

Markkieff Morris, F Phoenix

Ricky Rubio, G Minnesota

Tristan Thompson, F, Cleveland

Kemba Walker, G Charlotte

Derrick Williams, F Minnesota

Not making the cut were New York’s Iman Shumpert and Sacramento’s Jimmer Fredette.

The second-year players are:

DeMarcus Cousins, C, Sacramento

Landry Fields, G-F, New York

Paul George, G-F, Indiana

Blake Griffin, F, LA Clippers

Gordon Hayward, G-F, Utah

Greg Monroe, F-C, Detroit

Tiago Splitter, F-C, San Antonio

Evan Turner, G-F, Philadelphia

John Wall, G Washington

Cousins, Fields, Griffin, Monroe and Wall played for the Rookies a year ago. Not making the cut were Washington’s Jordan Crawford and Minnesota’s Nikola Pekovic, two of just six second-year-players averaging double figures.



  1. jwss says

    When will the NBA and media acknowledge this all-star draft idea was copied from the NHL. Hockey’s been running their All-Star game this way for the past two seasons. Hardly original Mr. Stern


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