After forward Grant Hill retired as a player, there was a brief rumor swirling that the Phoenix Suns were interested in hiring him as the team's next general manager. The Suns ended up hiring Ryan McDonough out of the Celtics' front office, but if Hill really had an itch to act as GM, well, he got to scratch it as a TNT analyst.
Hill drafted his own roster for the 2014 Rising Stars Challenge, where his team of rookie and sophomore NBA players will take on Chris Webber's squad on Saturday.
Team Hill has far and away the more experienced backcourt. Indiana Pacers assistant coach Nate McMillan will likely turn to Portland Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard and Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal to carry much of the load, and their experience as NBA starters will make up for the lack of guard depth. On top of it all, they're arguably the two best shooters for either Rising Stars team. Lillard hits 40 percent from three-point range, and Beal is hitting 43 percent of his deep balls this season.
Team Hill came into question during the live draft because it initially didn't select three guards. Cleveland Cavaliers gunner Dion Waiters will provide some punch off the bench and is the only true guard after Lillard and Beal.
If a three-guard lineup won't work, especially if Lillard is limited because he's competing in five All-Star events, Milwaukee Bucks rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo could slip into what would be a big backcourt. The 6'9, 205-pound swingman is raw but could put on a show in such circumstances.
The center position is deep for Team Hill and includes three NBA starters.
Double-double machine Andre Drummond will bring rebounding, interior defense -- if that's to be had -- and likely, rim-rattling dunks. He's averaging 13.1 points, 13.0 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game for the Detroit Pistons this season, and most of his scoring has come at the rim.
Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas will provide a traditional low-post presence for McMillan's squad, and gives it the ability to play inside-out, again, if that's something that will organically happen in a glorified pick-up game. Phoenix Suns center Miles Plumlee, the injury replacement to Hawks big man Pero Antic, will also see time in the middle, and with his athleticism, he could thrive in a loose defensive atmosphere.
At forward or guard, Antetokounmpo can handle the ball and will act as facilitator. The Greek Freak's length on the defensive end could help his team find easy transition opportunities, as well.
Golden State Warriors forward Barnes can play either forward spot and stretch the floor, and he'll be complemented by Houston Rockets starting forward Terrence Jones, who will likewise bring versatility and a floor-spacing presence to Team Hill.