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NBA Rising Stars Challenge 2016 roster: Karl-Anthony Towns leads a talented U.S. squad

The Timberwolves' big man will team with a group of top American rookies and sophomores.

The NBA switched up the format for the Rising Stars Challenge last season, electing to divide the teams based on geography. Instead of pitting rookie against sophomores, the game featured Americans against players from the rest of the world. Behind a 22-point performance from game MVP Andrew Wiggins, the World Team was able to knock off Team USA, 121-112.

Wiggins' teammate, rookie of the year favorite and last year first overall Karl-Anthony Towns, will lead Team USA this year. Towns will be flanked by a talented group of first- and second-year players who should be able to exact some revenge on the World team for last year's defeat.

Towns is just one of three rookies on Team USA. The rest of the roster is comprised of sophomores, many of whom played in this game last year.

This year's BBVA Rising Stars Challenge will take place Friday, Feb. 12 at 9 p.m. ET in Toronto's Air Canada Centre. Below is the roster for Team USA.

Jordan Clarkson, G, Lakers: The second-year Lakers guard and former second round pick has become one of the few steady hands on Byron Scott's team. His scoring is up from his rookie campaign, and while Clarkson could benefit from improved playmaking and three-point shooting, he's been a revelation since entering the league last season. He is deserving of playing in this game.

Rodney Hood, G, Jazz: Now in his second year in the league, the 23-year-old guard has upped his numbers across the board for a Jazz team competing for a West playoff spot. Hood's performance has improved as the season has progressed as he's no doubt propelled himself into Utah's long-term plans.

Zach LaVine, G, Timberwolves: LaVine, the defending Slam Dunk champion, should be good for a number of highlights in this game and could even be a dark horse candidate for MVP. The talent is clearly there. The question is whether he can figure out how to put it to use at the NBA level. He hasn't yet, but he's still just 20 years old, making him one of the more intriguing players in this game.

Devin Booker, G/F, Suns: The 19-year-old rookie replaces Nerlens Noel, who suffered a minor injury just before the All-Star break. Amid tons of turmoil, Booker has been a bright spot in Phoenix. His jump shot is pure and he seems able to carry a large scoring load even now. He looks like a young Klay Thompson.

Jahlil Okafor, C, 76ers: It's been an rookie season for Okafor on the struggling Sixers. He's putting up big raw statistics, but defensive struggles and his questionable on-court fit with Noel have caused some problems. Those pale in comparison to a bar fight in Boston that resulted in a suspension. Still, the 20-year-old is one of the most skilled young big men in the game.

Jabari Parker, F, Bucks: Parker, the 2014 No. 2 pick, saw his rookie season end early due to a knee injury. He returned to the floor and remained healthy this season, though his play has been a bit uneven. He's shooting well overall, but he's struggled with his jump shot and on the defensive end. The Bucks are one of the NBA's most disappointing teams, and are going to need more from Parker going forward if they plan on turning things around at any point.

Elfrid Payton, G, Magic: Payton's inconsistent jumper remains an issue, but there's been improvement in both his three-point shooting and free throw shooting. The 21-year-old is a solid playmaker and a pesky defender on a Magic squad looking to take the next step in their rebuild.

D'Angelo Russell, G, Lakers: Russell has shown flashes of potential in a difficult situation in Los Angeles. The development of Russell and the Lakers' other youngsters has taken a backseat to the Kobe Bryant Retirement Tour, and the flashy guard has struggled to mesh with head coach Byron Scott. Despite these obstacles, Russell has a promising future ahead as the Lakers move on from Kobe.

Marcus Smart, G, Celtics: Smart may be an inconsistent shooter, but his tenacious defense and stellar all-around game is vital to the success of Boston. The second-year guard missed a good chunk of the season in November and December, but his play has been a key part of the Celtics' recent run to the top half of the Eastern Conference standings.

Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Timberwolves: The 20-year-old center has lived up to all the hype that made him the No. 1 pick in June, and he's only gotten better as the year has gone on. His huge numbers, especially of late, make him the front-runner to win Rookie of the Year. He hasn't added many wins to the Timberwolves record, but he's given them hope.