The NBA unveiled the rosters for next month’s Rising Stars Challenge Tuesday night, which featured the presence of G League Ignite players for the first time.
Four top prospects playing for the Ignite — Jaden Hardy, Dyson Daniels, Scoot Henderson and MarJon Beauchamp — joined 12 players from both the 2020 and 2021 NBA Draft classes in making up the 28 players who will participate in the league’s annual showcase for its stars of tomorrow as part of All-Star Weekend.
Beauchamp (14th overall), Dyson Daniels (16th) and Jaden Hardy (17th) are all projected to go into the top 20 of this year’s NBA Draft by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz, while they currently have Henderson projected to go second overall in 2023. All four prospects are part of the league’s initiative to have some of the best future prospects skip playing college basketball and ply their trade in the G League for a season — like Jalen Green, the second overall pick by the Houston Rockets in the 2021 NBA Draft — did last year, in the first year the Ignite program was in place.
Green became one of 12 rookies named to the Rising Stars Challenge Tuesday night, which will have a new wrinkle this season. Rather than two teams playing a traditional game, there will instead be four teams made up of 7-man rosters, with the winners of two semifinal games to 50 points playing a championship game that will go to 25, a nod to the league celebrating its 75th anniversary this season.
Besides Green, the other rookies selected to the game were: Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham, the top overall pick in July’s draft; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley (3rd); Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes (4th); Orlando Magic guard Jalen Suggs (5th) and forward Franz Wagner (8th); Oklahoma City Thunder guard Josh Giddey (6th); Sacramento Kings guard Davion Mitchell (9th); Indiana Pacers guard Chris Duarte (13th); Rockets center Alperen Sengun (16th); New Orleans Pelicans forward Herb Jones (35th); and Chicago Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu (38th).
The sophomores selected to the game included Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards, the top overall pick in the 2020 draft, along with teammate Jaden McDaniels; Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball; Magic guard Cole Anthony; Philadelphia 76ers guard Tyrese Maxey; Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton; Cavaliers guard Isaac Okoro; Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate; Pistons forward Saddiq Bey and center Isaiah Stewart; Memphis Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane; and Raptors center Precious Achiuwa.
The four teams will be coached by Hall of Famers Rick Barry, Gary Payton, Isiah Thomas and James Worthy, along with an assistant coach from the East and West coaching staffs selected to participate in the All-Star Game this season.
The Rising Stars Challenge will take place on Friday, Feb. 18 in Cleveland, kicking off All-Star Weekend. The annual Saturday night events — including the Skills Challenge, 3-point competition and Slam Dunk Contest — will take place the following night, with the All-Star Game being held Sunday, Feb. 20.
Source: ESPN NBA