2020 NBA All Star Rising Stars Game Preview

Friday night is the official beginning of NBA All Star weekend. The first real event is the celebrity game at 7:00. Following that is the annual Rising Stars Game.

This game has evolved over the years and features more than just rookies. This game includes players in years 1 and 2 and is formatted as USA vs World.

The rosters are broken down like this:

U.S. Roster:

  • Miles Bridges (Charlotte)
  • Wendell Carter Jr. (Chicago)
  • Devonte’ Graham (Charlotte)
  • Tyler Herro (Miami, inured will not play)
  • Jaren Jackson Jr. (Memphis)
  • Ja Morant (Memphis)
  • Kendrick Nunn (Miami)
  • Eric Paschall (Golden State)
  • Collin Sexton (Cleveland)
  • PJ Washington (Charlotte)
  • Zion Williamson (New Orleans)
  • Trae Young (Atlanta)

World Roster:

  • Nickeil Alexander-Walker (New Orleans)
  • Deandre Ayton (Phoenix, injured will not play)
  • RJ Barrett (New York)
  • Brandon Clarke (Memphis)
  • Luka Doncic (Dallas)
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City)
  • Rui Hachimura (Washington)
  • Svi Mykhailiuk (Detroit)
  • Josh Okogie (Minnesota)
  • Moritz Wagner (Washington)
  • Nicolo Melli (New Orleans)

I want to break down the rosters further, as far as who is from 2018 vs 2019 draft classes and where these guys were picked.

2018 Draft picks – Deandre Ayon (1), Luka Doncic (3), Jaren Jackson Jr (4), Trae Young (5) Wendell Carter Jr (7), Collin Sexton (8), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (11), Miles Bridges (12), Josh Okogie (20), Mo Wagner (25), Devonte Graham (34), Svi Mykhailiuk (47), Kendrick Nunn (UDFA)

2019 Draft picks – Zion Williamson (1), Ja Morant (2), RJ Barrett (3), Rui Hachimura (9), PJ Washington (12), Tyler Herro (13), Nickeil Alexander-Walker (17), Brandon Clarke (21) Eric Paschall (41)

In total 23 players were chosen for this game:

  • 13 players from 2018 draft, 9 players from 2019 draft, plus 1 undrafted player from 2013
  • Both #1 overall picks (Ayton, Zion)
  • 6 out of 9 players from 2019 were lottery picks
  • 8 out of 13 players from 2018 were lottery picks
  • 3 total second round picks (Graham, Mykhailiuk, Paschall)
  • 2 undrafted free agents (Nunn and Melli
  • Grizzlies, Hornets, Pelicans each have 3 players

Notes on Snubs and Transactions

Matisse Thybulle was so angry about being snubbed, his agent released a statement. And it was justified, given how dominant Thybulle has been defensively this season.

Michael Porter Jr was one of the top high school players in the country in 2017, missed his entire freshman season and became the #14 pick in 2018. He missed all of last season and some time this season with injuries, but has really emerged as a go-to guy off the bench for the Nuggets. His numbers and overall performance certainly aren’t strong enough to warrant a spot, especially after missing last season. But he’s only considered a rookie this year so he should definitely be considered for a spot next year.

4 of the top 5 picks from 2018 are participating with the one omission from the top 5 being #2 overall pick Marvin Bagley. Kings forward is averaging 14.2 ppg and 7.5 rpg.

In 2018, Luka Doncic was drafted #3 by the Hawks and traded to the Mavs for #5 pick Trae Young. Hawks also acquired a 2019 first round pick, which was used on Cameron Reddish at #10. Both Young and Doncic probably should have skipped this game, as both players will play in their first All Star games on Sunday.

Hornets, who have 3 players in this game, actually drafted Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, but immediately traded him to the Clippers for Miles Bridges. Clippers used Shai as the centerpiece of a trade package to acquire Paul George over the summer

Grizzlies initially had the #23 pick in the 2019 first round, courtesy of the Mike Conley Jr trade with the Jazz. They moved up 2 spots from that pick to 21, to draft Brandon Clarke. The Thunder moves to 23 and took Darius Bazely.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker was the 17th pick to the Pelicans, a pick that was part of a trade with the Hawks. Hawks traded two picks to move up to #4 to draft Deandre Hunter. They also took Cameron Reddish at 10. Worth noting, neither of those guys are in this game, while Alexander-Walker is.

Svi Mykhailiuk and Mo Wagner were both drafted by the Lakers in 2018, and both traded by the end of the season. Svi during the season to Detroit for Reggie Bullock and Wagner right before the 2019 draft, to free up cap space and roster spot.

Nicolo Melli was a late add to the game, replacing an injured Deandre Ayton. He is also the oldest player in the game, at age 29. He was eligible for the 2013 draft but went undrafted and has been playing professionally in Europe. He signed with the Pelicans in July 2019.

Mike is a member of the FWAA (Football Writers Association of America) and an alum of the University of Cincinnati.

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