Do you want to see how strong a position the NBA is in not only for now, but also moving forward? Just check out the wealth of talent that will be on display at Friday night's Rising Stars Challenge.
This is the showcase for basketball's stars of tomorrow—or, in the case of Ben Simmons, an established star of today.
Below we'll look at the rosters, snubs and predictions for the 2019 iteration.
2019 MTN DEW ICE Rising Stars
Time: Friday, Feb. 15 at 9 p.m. ET
Place: Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C.
Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn Nets
Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento Kings
Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers (injured)
John Collins, Atlanta Hawks
De'Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings
Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies
Kevin Knox, New York Knicks
Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors
Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns
Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento Kings
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Los Angeles Clippers
Rodions Kurucs, Brooklyn Nets
Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls
Josh Okogie, Minnesota Timberwolves
Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
Let's start with a round of applause for the Association's assistant coaches, who assemble the rosters for this event.
There are no major gripes with these groups, especially after Kevin Knox—the East's Rookie of the Month in December—stepped into the spot vacated by an injured Lonzo Ball.
Still, subjective selections like these are always ripe for second-guessing, and there are a few up-and-comers with legitimate bones to pick.
Collin Sexton's pedigree (drafted eighth overall in 2018) and counting categories (14.9 points and 2.8 assists in 30.2 minutes) both make it somewhat surprising to see him denied a spot.
The undrafted Allonzo Trier has been a pleasant surprise for the New York Knicks (9.8 points and three rebounds), and No. 7 pick, Wendell Carter Jr., has been as steady as advertised for the Chicago Bulls (10.3 points and seven boards).
Atlanta Hawks sharpshooter Kevin Huerter could be the best sniper in this class (1.8 threes per game at a 39.3 percent clip). He could've been tons of fun in this environment had he caught fire from range.
Three names come to mind with the sophomore group, although each is a role player and likely paid the price for their lack of volume.
Still, Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat has produced the fourth-most win shares of the 2017 draft class (8.1). Josh Hart of the Los Angeles Lakers is only three spots behind with 5.2 win shares. Finally, there's the Denver Nuggets' Monte Morris, who's snatched a rotation spot on an elite team with a stellar 49.9/43.9/77.4 shooting slash and the best assists-per-turnover ratio among qualified players (6.31).
Since switching to the Team U.S. vs. Team World format in 2015, the latter has won three of the four meetings.
Look for that advantage to shift even further toward the World side in this one. The roster just has everything you'd want in this setting.
Simmons and Doncic are elite shot-creators already—not just among up-and-comers, but all-Association members. Ayton is a physical force near the basket. Markkanen can score inside and out. Gilgeous-Alexander is more than fine with sharing the sugar. Bogdanovic, Kurucs, Anunoby, Okogie and Osman can all fill various glue-guy roles.
It isn't hard to imagine Team U.S. putting on a superior aerial show, since its roster is overloaded with dynamic athletes. But whenever this game gets bogged down to half-court play, Team World should have an easier time getting all of its puzzle pieces to fall into place.
Team World 146, Team U.S. 138