The NBA All-Star festivities begin tonight as the NBA hosts its All-Star Celebrity Game and the Rising Stars Challenge.
The Celebrity Game is fun to watch, but the most exciting event on Friday is the Rising Stars Challenge. This event is where rookie and sophomore (second-year) players come together and compete against each other. This year’s format is different, as there is a four-team tournament, and the two remaining teams will play in the finals. This 2020 and 2021 draft class has some talented players, and tonight, there is a good chance we’ll see some of them shine.
Here are five players to keep an eye on in the Rising Stars Challenge.
1.) Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers
Evan Mobley is not only one of the front runners for Rookie of the Year, but he is also a hometown player. Mobley is one of four players representing the Cleveland Cavaliers this weekend, and it’s well deserved. Mobley is an effective player on both ends of the floor, and he has given a young Cavaliers team a much-needed boost.
Mobley averages 14.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. The Cleveland Cavaliers have a special player on their hands, and despite his quiet demeanor, there is a good chance he’ll have some exciting highlights during the Rising Stars Challenge.
2.) LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets
Ball averages 20.0 points, 7.5 assists, 7.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals. Like Mobley, Ball does a little of everything, and with Ball’s flashy style of play, the Rising Stars Challenge is the perfect stage. Ball will have several highlights in this event, and by the end of the night, he could be the MVP.
3.) Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder
Josh Giddey is a player on the rise. He is climbing up the Rookie of the Year ladder, and his recent performance shows why. On February 12, Giddey recorded a triple-double. He had 11 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. In his next game, he finished with 28 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds. He put on a show in Madison Square Garden and led the Thunder to a 127-123 win over the Knicks. Then, when you thought it was over, he had a 17-point triple-double against the San Antonio Spurs.
Giddey is another versatile player that is bound to have highlights. And one of his (Rising Stars Challenge) teammates won’t be too far behind.
4.) Jalen Green, Houston Rockets
Jalen Green is a talented guard with the potential to be a star. While he hasn’t had the best rookie season, he is still a player to look out for.
Green averages 14.6 points and 3.1 rebounds this season. One of his best games was a 30-point performance against the Boston Celtics.
Green will be in this year’s dunk contest, and the Rising Stars Challenge could be a preview of what’s to come. So, pay close attention to Green in this event.
5.) Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons
Cade Cunningham was the first pick of the 2021 draft. He came into the league with high expectations, and after a slow start, he is living up to the hype. Cunningham averages 15.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists.
Cunningham is similar to a lot of players on this list and can do a bit of everything. And being the first pick of his draft class, the Rising Stars is a great time to make a statement. So, we’ll see if he does.