Cleveland Cavaliers fans should expect big things from the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night.
With four members of the Wine and Gold taking part in the rookie and sophomore game, it will be a great chance for at least a few of the Cavaliers to shine.
Last season, Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving took over the game and was the MVP. Irving shot a perfect 8 for 8 from behind the three-point arc and scored 34 points. His team, Team Chuck, defeated Team Shaq by a score of 146 to 133.
This season, I think Irving will have a good game, but he will not have a huge game. Irving will play hard and will try to set up the other players on his team while also looking for some highlight reel plays of his own. After winning the MVP of the game last season, though, he is bound to be more focused on playing in the NBA All-Star game on Sunday. That will be his first All-Star game, and he will want to have his biggest game of the weekend there.
Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters, on the other hand, will likely be hyped up for a huge game in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge. Waiters is one of the leading scorers among all rookies, but he doesn’t receive much national attention. Most casual NBA fans probably just know that he didn’t start in college at Syracuse and they know he is playing with Irving.
Waiters is a dynamic scorer, and he will be looking to pour in some points while he lets the nation know that the Cavaliers have two young stars in the backcourt, not just one.
Of course, if Waiters comes out with this attitude, he will either score 33 and look great, or score 7 and shoot about 3 for 15. I’m going with the big night for Waiters. I don’t think he’ll win MVP, but he’ll do well.
Cavaliers forward/center Tristan Thompson has been a force as a rebounder this season, and his scoring is improving. He’ll most likely come into the game looking to get as many dunks as possible, and he’ll probably put up a few ill-advised shots. The team defense in the game won’t be very good, though, so he may score 10 or 15 points and do pretty well. It will be interesting to see if he gets matched up against any of his Cavaliers teammates during the game.
Cavaliers forward/center Tyler Zeller will come into the game trying to just get a few good shots up and pull down some rebounds. He’ll most likely have a quiet game, but will still get a few buckets.
And for the game, I predict Team Chuck wins by a score of 144 – 138.
I’ll also say that either Ricky Rubio or Damian Lillard wins the MVP, although my upset candidate is Klay Thompson.
I’m also looking for plenty of dunks and very little defense. Watch for Chandler Parsons, Kenneth Faried and Harrison Barnes to have some exciting dunks, Rubio to throw some great passes and Thompson to rain in jumpers from all over the floor.