NBA Rising Stars Challenge 2019: Rosters, Snubs, Predictions for USA vs. World

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 16: Ben Simmons #25 of the World Team dribbles through traffic against the USA Team during the Mountain Dew Kickstart Rising Stars Game during All-Star Friday Night as part of 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend at the STAPLES Center on February 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

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.

TV: TNT

           

Team US

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

           

Team World

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

              

Snubs

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 Knoxthe East's Rookie of the Month in Decemberstepped 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).

          

Predictions

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.

           

Score

Team World 146, Team U.S. 138

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