Damian Lillard, Anthony Davis, Michael Carter-Williams headline Rising Stars Challenge
The NBA announced Wednesday an 18-player roster pool for the Rising Stars Challenge game that will take place on Friday, Feb. 14, in New Orleans during All-Star Weekend.
The Rising Stars Challenge, formerly known as the Rookie-Sophomore Game, will be headlined by 2013 Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard, 2012 No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis and Michael Carter-Williams, the early 2014 Rookie of the Year favorite.
Notable omissions include 2012 No. 2 pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, 2013 No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett, 2013 No. 3 pick Otto Porter and 2013 No. 4 pick Cody Zeller.
The full roster pool includes nine rookies and nine sophomores.
Sophomores: Harrison Barnes (Warriors), Bradley Beal (Wizards), Anthony Davis (Pelicans), Andre Drummond (Pistons), Terrence Jones (Rockets), Damian Lillard (Blazers), Jared Sullinger (Celtics), Jonas Valanciunas (Raptors), and Dion Waiters (Cavaliers)
Rookies: Steven Adams (Thunder), Pero Antic (Hawks), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), Trey Burke (Jazz), Michael Carter-Williams (Sixers), Tim Hardaway, Jr. (Knicks), Victor Oladipo (Magic), Kelly Olynyk (Celtics), and Mason Plumlee (Nets)
The rookies and sophomores will be mixed together in this format, rather than playing on separate teams as in some years past. The rosters will be set on Feb. 6 and a fan voting process — on computers and mobile devices — will determine which players get to start.
The group of sophomores includes six 2012 lottery picks, but does not include the class’s No. 2 pick (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bobcats), No. 5 pick (Thomas Robinson, Blazers), No. 8 pick (Terrence Ross, Raptors), No. 10 pick (Austin Rivers, Pelicans), No. 11 pick (Meyers Leonard, Blazers), No. 12 pick (Jeremy Lamb, Thunder), No. 13 pick (Kendall Marshall, Lakers), or No. 14 pick (John Henson, Bucks).
Absent from the pool of rookies are nine 2013 lottery picks: No. 1 pick (Anthony Bennett, Cavaliers), No. 3 pick (Otto Porter, Wizards), No. 4 pick (Cody Zeller, Bobcats), No. 5 pick (Alex Len, Suns), No. 6 pick (Nerlens Noel, Sixers, who has been injured), No. 7 pick (Ben McLemore, Kings), No. 8 pick (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Pistons), No. 10 pick (CJ McCollum, Blazers), and No. 14 pick (Shabazz Muhammad, Timberwolves).
Barnes, Beal, Davis, Drummond, Lillard and Waiters were all selected to the 2013 Rising Stars Challenge as well.