Team Chuck vs the heavily favoured Team Shaq, We are in a for a hell of a Rising Stars Challenge[caption id="attachment_14347" align="aligncenter" width="637"] Photo Credit:
Cary Emondson-USA TODAY Sports[/caption] It's that time of the year again where all the best players come together and showcase what makes the NBA so good. This year, the All Star Weekend is being held in Houston, and it looks like they are ready to put on one hell of a show! Let's take a look at one of the main events for the weekend; The Rising Stars Challenge.
The Rising Stars game features the best rookie and sophomore players in the league. Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley are the general managers of the two teams and both drafted their respective teams.
GAME TIME & VIEWING OPTIONSTime & Date: Saturday, February 16, 2013 1:00pm AEDT Location: Toyota Center, Houston. Viewing Info: NBA League Pass
- Damian Lillard
- Kyrie Irving
- Andre Drummond*
- Klay Thompson
- Harrison Barnes
- Chandler Parsons
- Dion Waiters
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
- Tyler Zeller
- Kemba Walker
- Anthony Davis
- Kenneth Faried
- Kawhi Leonard
- Bradley Beal
- Ricky Rubio
- Tristan Thompson
- Nikola Vucevic
- Brandon Knight
- Isaiah Thomas
- Alexy Shved
First off I would just like to ask; what was Charles Barkley thinking?! When Shaq selected Damian Lillard with the first pick, you would think the automatic second selection would've been Kyrie Irving, right? Wrong, Anthony Davis was chosen, no disrespect to Davis, but who didn't want to see Irving V Lillard? That was Chuck's first mistake, his second you ask? Selecting Kawhi Leonard in favour of Klay Thompson! Thompson is one of the very best shooters in the league and can shoot the lights out on any given night. Leonard is a very good player and I'm sure we'll see him in many more All Star weekends to come, but I sure know who I'd want on my team.
DEFENCE, WHAT DEFENCE?This might sound like a Charles Barkley bashing but let me explain myself. Everyone who has ever watched a game played on All Star weekend knows that defence is barely a factor and offence is the best form of defence. Barkley mustn't have gotten that memo, with Anthony Davis, Kenneth Faried, Tristan Thompson and Nikola Vucevic forming a loaded front court. If, all of a sudden, this match turns into a defensive slog, look for Team Chuck to dominate. That's not why we watch these games though, we watch them for the big dunks, outside shooting and ankle-breaking crossovers. Team Chuck's best choice was selecting Kenneth 'The Manimal' Faried. I love this guy's game and would pick him over anyone, bar Irving and Lillard. I can't wait to see Faried in the Dunk Contest and hope he can pull out a huge slam in this game. I would love nothing more than seeing Faried and Harrison Barnes in an all out, back and forth dunk contest.
GETTING TO THE POINTTeam Shaq has the two best point guards in Lillard and Irving. Kyrie won the MVP (scoring 34 points, off 8/8 3pt shooting) for this game last year and I wouldn't put it past him to win that honour again. It will be interesting to see if the minutes are shared between the two or if both find themselves on the court at the same time. Either way I wouldn't be surprised if one of them adds to an already great season by bagging the MVP. Ricky Rubio will play a large role for Team Chuck, he will have his hands full playing the point against Irving and Lillard. Rubio is starting to get the form back that he had last season before he went down with an ACL injury. If Rubio can handle the ball well along with Brandon Knight, Team Chuck might have a slim chance of making this a contest.
DARK HORSESMy two dark horses for this game are Chandler Parsons and Nikola Vucevic. Both players are making noise with their respective teams, Houston and Orlando, and I'm expecting them to thrive playing against players of own their experience. Parsons has been an absolute steal from the 2011 NBA draft, he was selected with pick 38, and has looked great this season playing alongside James Harden. Vucevic is a double double machine. Orlando landed him in the Dwight Howard trade and what a great pick up he has been. Vucevic is the back bone of the Orlando defence and pulled down a whopping 29 rebounds earlier this season against the Heat. That was enough for the Magic franchise record, eclipsing Shaquille O'Neal's previous record of 28.
PREDICTIONI can see this match being a blow out in favour of Team Shaq. That being said, you won't see Team Chuck lie down and just let Team Shaq run over the top of them. I'm really looking forward to the battle between Bradley Beal and Dion Waiters. These two guards love to shoot and are going to powerhouses in the years to come. If one of these two catch fire, look for their team to keep feeding them the ball.
Prediction: Team Shaq: 109 - Team Chuck: 95 MVP: Klay Thompson