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3 things to watch in the Rising Stars Challenge

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NBA: NBA Draft Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Can I tell you how much I love All Star weekend? Maybe not the game itself on Sunday, which can range from terrible to passable, but the entire weekend is one of my favorites all year.

Friday night with the up-and-comers, Saturday with the overly long broadcast showcasing skills, shooting, and dunks, then the fanfare of Sunday? As a whole package, it’s a whole lot of fun. I plan on recording a lot of it and showing the best parts to my toddler son.

Since 1994 the game was known as the Rookie Challenge, where first and second year players battled. In 2015, they changed up the format. After the multi-decade influx of foreign born talent, it just made sense to change up the rosters and since 2015 it’s been Team World versus Team USA. The history of the game is really a lot of fun, if you’re into that sort of thing.

With all that said, you should watch the game. Here are some reasons why:

This game show cases the future

I still remember the 2004 game. Amar’e Stoudemire simply destroyed the rookie team, pouring in a then-record 36 points on all the dunks. I bring that up as an example of these games often being showcase games for the cream of the crop.

Just look at these rosters. Team world has Ben Simmons, OG Anunoby, DeAndre Ayton, and Luka Doncic. Team USA has Jaren Jackson Jr., Trae Young, Jayson Tatum, and Donovan Mitchell. Just out of these eight there are already four guys I’d consider NBA stars right now. Someone, most likely Ben Simmons or Jayson Tatum, will simply dominate this game.

The world is different now and we have a lot more exposure to players earlier, so perhaps this game isn’t as impactful as it once was, but I am exceptionally excited.

Team World is going to own

Again, the rosters. The World team is simply better, from top to bottom, with ridiculous amounts of length and and just better players.

Oh and there’s the matter of the better coach. The U.S. Team is coached in part by Kyrie Irving who keeps making the news for being a jerk to his younger team. At the helm of the World team is our living legend Dirk Nowitzki. And he’s already made big in-roads with his squad:

(really, the whole thread is fun, give it a click).

Oh, and Luka Doncic is playing

If we can all get past the mockery of boring-ass LaMarcus Aldridge making the All Star game over Luka, this game will be an excellent showcase of the truly insane stuff Doncic is capable of.

I don’t have any guesses so with that,, I’m going to leave y’all with this Luka Doncic video that’s very good. Watch it all:

How to watch

The game’s on TNT with a late-ish start at 8:00pm CST. See you there.