NBA Rising Stars Challenge 2013 Rosters: Breaking Down Underrated MVP Picks

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IFebruary 15, 2013

CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 11:  Kemba Walker #15 of the Charlotte Bobcats reacts after a shot during their game against the Boston Celtics at Time Warner Cable Arena on February 11, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. 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 Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Kyrie Irving, last year's Rising Stars Challenge MVP, is a safe bet to take home the award once again in 2013. 

The same goes for stud rookies Damian Lillard and Anthony Davis, who can both fill up a box score in an instant.

But if you're actually the kind of person—with a betting problem, probably—who gambles on the MVP of a rookie-sophomore All-Star game, then being safe probably isn't your thing.

Instead, you'll want to let it ride on these underrated young stars. 

Note: A complete look at the entire rosters can be found at the bottom of this page

Kemba Walker, Team Shaq

For some odd, inexplicable reason, Walker slipped to the final four picks, where there was then a random selection and he was put on Shaquille O'Neal's squad.

Well, lucky Shaq. 

Not only will Walker be playing with the closest possible thing to a chip on his shoulder during an All-Star game, but he has the type of deadly one-on-one game to thrive in this type of an environment. 

In last year's game, Walker tallied a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists to go with five rebounds and two steals. He can fill up a box score like few other guards, and it wouldn't be surprising if he improved on that performance on Friday night. 

Tristan Thompson, Team Chuck

Much like Walker, Thompson's performance last year was overshadowed by Irving's 34 points, 92.3 percent shooting, eight treys made on eight attempts and nine assists. 

The budding star didn't do much besides score (one rebound, one assist), but 20 points on 11 shots is hard to be mad at. 

Throw in the facts that Thompson is one of the most-improved sophomores in this game, has been playing his best basketball in the past month, is an athletic big man who can run the court and will be guaranteed an abundance of slams, and the young Canadian has a legitimate chance to shine brightest in Houston. 

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Team Shaq

This is by far my favorite underrated pick, just so you know. 

The Bobcat rookie isn't going to light it up from long distance, but once the game speeds up, which it will, he is by far one of the most dangerous players in transition.

As soon as Kidd-Gilchrist gets a head of steam towards the basket, stopping him is next to impossible—and undoubtedly impossible in an All-Star game. 

No one will benefit more from a transition-filled game than Kidd-Gilchrist. 

What's more is that the former Kentucky stud is the type of player who simply loves to play basketball. At the risk of sounding "Bilas-y," he has an endless motor and goes 110 percent no matter the game or situation.

In addition to racking up transition points, he's likely to crash the boards, make a bunch of plays on defense and turn a lot of heads.  

Go ahead and pencil in the rookie as the MVP. You know, super light pencil. 

2013 NBA Rising Stars Challenge Roster

Team Shaq

Pick (Overall)

Team Chuck

Pick (Overall)

Damian Lillard (PG, Portland Trail Blazers)

 1 (1)

Anthony Davis (PF, New Orleans Hornets)

 1 (2)

Kyrie Irving (PG, Cleveland Cavaliers)

 2 (3)

Kenneth Faried (PF, Denver Nuggets)

 2 (4)

Andrew Nicholson, PF, Orlando Magic (Replaces Andre Drummond)

 3 (5)

Kawhi Leonard (SF, San Antonio Spurs) 

 3 (6)

Klay Thompson (SG, Golden State Warriors)

 4 (7)

Bradley Beal (SG, Washington Wizards) 

4 (8) 

Harrison Barnes (SF, Golden State Warriors)

5 (9) 

Ricky Rubio (PG, Minnesota Timberwolves) 

5 (10) 

Chandler Parsons (SF, Houston Rockets)

6 (11) 

Tristan Thompson (PF, Cleveland Cavaliers)

6 (12)

Dion Waiters (SG, Cleveland Cavaliers)

7 (13)

Nikola Vucevic (C, Orlando Magic)

7 (14)

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (SF, Charlotte Bobcats)

8 (15) 

Brandon Knight (PG, Detroit Pistons)

8 (16)

Tyler Zeller (C, Cleveland Cavaliers)

9 (17)

Isaiah Thomas (PG, Sacramento Kings)

9 (18) 

Kemba Walker (PG, Charlotte Bobcats)

10 (19) 

Alexey Shved (SG, Minnesota Timberwolves)

10 (20) 


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