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NBA Rising Stars Challenge 2014: Biggest Snubs in Rookie-Sophomore Showcase

Philadelphia 76ers guard Tony Wroten shoots during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Los Angeles. The Clippers won 123-78. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIFebruary 14, 2014

Snub is a funny word.

It implies that someone was passed over when he or she was perhaps more qualified than the person who officially got the nod.

It's often used in situations that don't always apply. For lack of an equally sexy term, we use it in sports whenever a player or team has performed well, but is denied an invitation of some sort.

In the NBA Rising Stars sense of the word—especially this season—there are a few players who are performing well, but are simply part of a logjam at their positions.

The dilemma becomes who do you leave out? Often, there are no right answers. Thus, someone will be left out no matter what. That said, here's a look at the players with the biggest gripes.

 

Khris Middleton, SG/SF - Milwaukee Bucks

Jan 2, 2014; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Milwaukee Bucks power forward Khris Middleton (22) warms up prior to a game against the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

With the Milwaukee Bucks struggling mightily and obviously tanking, the team has been leaning on its younger players heavily. One of those players is Middleton.

The second-year swingman is averaging 11.5 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Coincidentally, his teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo got an invite to play in the Rising Stars game.

Middleton is scoring more, averaging just 0.4 fewer rebounds and more assists than the Greek Freak. Antetokounmpo is a rookie, though.

To keep a balance between rookies and second-year players, Antetokounmpo got the nod.

 

Kendall Marshall, PG - Los Angeles Lakers

Feb 7, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kendall Marshall (12) is defended by Philadelphia 76ers guard Michael Carter-Williams (1) during the fourth quarter at the Wells Fargo Center. The Lakers defeated the Sixers 112-98. Mandatory Cr
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Marshall has finally found a home and a system he can excel in with the abysmal Los Angeles Lakers.

When is the last time you heard that reference?

In head coach Mike D'Antoni's point guard-friendly scheme, Marshall is averaging 10.3 points and 9.5 assists in 25 games. As Adam Spolane of Sports Radio 610 in Texas mentions, the two are a match made in heaven.

 

Tony WrotenSG - Philadelphia 76ers

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

If Wroten had a dependable jump shot, he might be a candidate for the real All-Star game. As a 23-percent three-point shooter, Wroten is averaging 12.7 points per game.

If he ever gets a handle on his perimeter shooting, look out. As it is, it's still hard to imagine him not being considered one of the best second-year players in the NBA.

Without question, Wroten is the biggest snub. He told Christopher A. Vito of The Trentonian:

“Check the stats, man. I definitely should’ve played in it. Nothing against the people who made it. Congrats to everybody who did make it. I definitely got snubbed, but (it’s) just motivation.

Perhaps that motivation will lead to even more work in the gym to improve his jump shot.

 

Terrence Ross, SG - Toronto Raptors

Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

He's started 32 games for the Raptors, and he's averaging 10.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and knocking down 40 percent of his threes. He even went for 51 points in a game this season against the Los Angeles Clippers in January. 

Ross seems to be set to turn the corner in his career. Unfortunately, his All-Star Weekend participation will be exclusive to defending his Slam-Dunk title.

 

Follow me. I'm addicted to hoops.

@BMaziqueFPBR

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