2012 NBA All-Star Game logo2012 NBA All-Star Game

NBA All-Star Weekend 2012: Player Pool for BBVA Rising Stars Game Released

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 14:  Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers goes in for a dunk in front of Metta World Peace #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 14, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  The Clippers won 102-94.  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 Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images
Zachary D. RymerMLB Lead WriterFebruary 8, 2012

Traditionally, NBA All-Star weekend has featured a game between rookies and sophomore players. It's always been a nice idea, but the games themselves tended to be a little lacking in entertainment.

This year, the NBA is switching things up a bit. Instead of a simple rookies vs. sophomores showdown, hoops fans will be presented with the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, in which rookies and sophomores will be mixed together on two different teams.

The roster pool was revealed on NBA.com on Wednesday. Let's take a look.

 

Eligible Sophomores

Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

John Wall
John WallStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings

Landry Fields, New York Knicks

Paul George, Indiana Pacers

Gordon Hayward, Utah Jazz

Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons

Tiago Splitter, San Antonio Spurs

Evan Turner, Philadelphia 76ers

John Wall, Washington Wizards

 

Eligible Rookies

Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers

Kyrie Irving
Kyrie IrvingKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves

MarShon Brooks, New Jersey Nets

Brandon Knight, Detroit Pistons

Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

Markieff Morris, Phoenix Suns

Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers

Kemba Walker, Charlotte Bobcats

Derrick Williams, Minnesota Timberwolves

 

Photo Credit: TerezOwens.com
Photo Credit: TerezOwens.com

Next Thursday on NBA TV (7:00 p.m. ET), a playground-style draft will be conducted. Shaquille O'Neal will be the captain of Team Shaq, and Charles Barkley will be the captain of Team Chuck. They will each get to choose nine players.

The game will be played on Friday, Feb. 24 at 9:00 p.m. ET. TNT will have the coverage.

It remains to be seen if this new format will result in a more competitive and therefore more entertaining game than the Rookie Challenge. Renditions of the Rookie Challenge consisted primarily of a whole lot of dunks and fancy tricks and very little real basketball. Dunks and tricks are all well and good, but they get old fast.

Compared to what we've seen in the past, things can only get better.

And who knows? Maybe we'll see Shaq and Chuck get out on the floor and show these youngsters how basketball is supposed to be played.

That would be beyond awesome.

 

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