The 18 player pool for the 2014 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge has been revealed.
Headlining the announcement is rookie sensation Michael Carter-Williams of the Philadelphia 76ers, and potential All-Stars Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Carter-Williams leads all rookies in scoring (17.4 ppt), assists (6.7 app), rebounding (5.6 rpg) and steals (2.4 spg), and is a hot favourite to earn Rookie of the Year honours after already being awarded the Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for October and November.
Meanwhile, Davis is the league leader in blocked shots (3.3 bpg) to go along with 20.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per night, and Lillard, the reigning Kia NBA Rookie of the Year, has led the Trail Blazers to a surprisingly successful start to the season, averaging 20.6 points and 5.6 assists.
Both Davis and Lillard are likely to earn All-Star selection when the reserves are announced later this week.
The BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge, formerly the Rookies vs Sophomores game, features two teams made up of nine rookies and sophomores mixed together. The pool is selected by the NBA’s assistant coaches, and is drafted on TNT before All-Star Weekend.
The sophomores selected alongside Davis and Lillard are Golden State Warrior’s forward Harrison Barnes, Washington Wizards’ guard Bradley Beal, Detroit Pistons’ centre Andre Drummond, Toronto Raptors’ centre Jonas Valanciunas, Houston Rockets’ forward Terrence Jones, Boston Celtics’ forward Jared Sullinger and Dion Waiters of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Joining Carter-Williams in the pool of selected rookies is Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo, Utah Jazz guard Trey Burke, New York Knicks’ guard Tim Hardaway Jr., Milwaukee Bucks’ forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Oklahoma City Thunder centre Steven Adams, Boston Celtics’ forward Kelly Olynyk, Atlanta Hawks’ forward Pero Antic and Mason Plumlee of the Brooklyn Nets
This season marks the third straight year since the drafting format was introduced and rookies and sophomores will be mixed between the two teams.
The BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge Draft will be held on Thursday, Feb. 6, and the game itself will be played on Friday, Feb. 14.