For the third consecutive year, the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge is comprised of 18 players drafted by TNT's on-air personalities. This time it's Chris Webber and Grant Hill, and C-Webb went the route of the big man with the first overall pick.
Overall, the roster is the younger of the two, but Webber has banked on length and athleticism helping his team to a victory.
Anthony Davis was selected before all others, which probably makes sense. Representing the hometown Pelicans, the forward headlines a team that's comprised of mostly rookies; and in a game that features hardly any defense, his high-flying, above-the-rim act should be a blast to watch. The injury replacement to Kobe Bryant on the Western Conference All-Star team is averaging 20.5 points, 10.1 boards and a league-leading 3.1 blocks per game this season.
The only other sophomore on the team is Celtics big man Jared Sullinger, who is quite a bit more grounded, you could say. Sullinger could complement Davis with his low-post game for an otherwise inexperienced frontcourt that includes bruising Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams and the athletic Brooklyn Nets reserve Mason Plumlee, whose older brother Miles will suit up for Team Hill. Adams is best suited banging in the paint and grabbing boards to open up fast-break opportunities, and Plumlee will provide a big man who can run with the guards to help them finish off those fast breaks.
Boston Celtics forward Kelly Olynyk rounds out the frontcourt and with his shooting ability brings a unique dimension to a squad coached by Thunder assistant coach Rex Kalamian.
Philadelphia 76ers rookie Michael Carter-Williams, who's likely the front-runner for Rookie of the Year at this point, was taken second for Webber and will be heavily relied upon for such a young squad. The long 6'6 point guard is averaging 17.1 points and 6.5 assists per game this year, and he's done so acting as the catalyst for the Sixers' fast-paced offense.
The 2013 draft's second overall pick, Orlando Magic guard Victor Oladipo, will likewise fit well by teaming with Carter-Williams. He can disrupt the Team Hill offense with his length, and if he jumps passing lanes can push the ball and finish in the open court.
Utah Jazz rookie Trey Burke is perhaps the most pure passer of the guards, and New York Knicks rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. will be crucial, perhaps as much as Olynyk, in providing some consistent outside shooting for Webber's team.