2012 NBA Rookie-Sophomore Game: Picking Teams Adds Spice to Lackluster Event

Matt Shetler@@buccos12Correspondent IFebruary 7, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 21:  Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on January 21, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The NBA already has the best All-Star weekend among the four major professional sports, and now it looks like it's found a way to make it a little more interesting.

The Rookie-Sophomore Game as we know it is no more, as it will now be known as the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, and it could become a little more fun to watch.

First of all, it's no longer a game featuring first-year players against second-year players.

Instead, there will be a pool of players. Participants in the game will be announced Thursday night.

The big change, though, is that the two head coaches, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal, will draft their teams live on TNT, February 16, similar to the way the NHL drafts its All-Star teams.

The game will still be played on Friday, February 24, but this time it could have a lot of spice to it.

The most intriguing aspect will be the possible player combinations we wouldn't have seen in years past.

Imagine last year's No. 1 pick Kyrie Irving potentially in the same backcourt as 2010 No. 1 pick John Wall. Something like that could happen this year.

The only sophomore that we won't likely see in the game is Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, who was voted as a starter in the All-Star Game, but this game won't be lacking in talent.

In addition to Wall and Irving, guys like Ricky Rubio, Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins, Brandon Knight and many others will likely be participating.

The rookie game has always been exciting and fun to watch, but this latest tweak could make it more interesting and competitive as well.