2014 NBA All-Star Weekend saw a bit of change come its way this week, most notably an influx of talent and a change in format to the Slam Dunk Contest. This comes a year after they changed the format of the Rising Stars Challenge.
In previous years, the Rising Stars Challenge was the rookie/sophomore game that pitted the first-year players against the second-year players. Though the game still consists of rookies and sophomores still, last season they put the players in a pool and had two coaches, Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley, pick their teams from the pool.
Maintaining that same format this season, two different captains—Chris Webber and Grant Hill—picked their teams on Thursday night in preparation for All-Star Weekend, which is now about a week away.
With the first pick, Webber unsurprisingly took Anthony Davis. Hill followed up with another unsurprising selection in Damian Lillard. After that, there were no really shocking picks and the two teams ended up like so.
Webber’s team consists of Davis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke, Michael Carter-Williams, Kelly Olynyk, Mason Plumlee, Jared Sullinger, Steven Adams and Victor Oladipo. Hill’s team includes Lillard, Pero Antic, Bradley Beal, Dion Waiters, Jonas Valanciunas, Terrence Jones, Harrison Barnes, Andre Drummond and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Fan voting will determine the starting five for each team, but all of the guys will surely see their fair share of playing time. Looking at the rosters, it should be a competitive game with the potential for some highlight plays. As always seems to be the case, the Rising Stars Challenge could end up being one of the better events of the weekend, even with the new-look dunk contest taking form.