Just as they did for the Team USA Select Team, the Lakers’ most recent lottery selections will be teammates in the Rising Stars Challenge held during All-Star weekend in New Orleans:
The league will again make the format of this game “USA vs. the World”, so sophomore Russell and rookie Ingram will be on the same roster facing off against the likes of Kristaps Porzingis, Joel Embiid, and Emanuel Mudiay among others.
This is a nice honor for both players. Every year there seem to be guys left off — last year, for example, Julius Randle did not play in this game even though he’s a former lottery pick who has a high upside — who have a good argument to make the team. This year, one might even argue that Ingram might not deserve to play in this game, regardless of his draft status. I’d counter with his play in the last 15 games as an example of why he should be there, but he made it so no need. Ha.
Anyway, I like any environment where the team’s young guys get exposed to more talent and good coaching. This game won’t be “serious” nor will it count for anything, but just to have these guys invited, seeing what the all-star experience is for the guys who make the big game, and getting enough of a taste to (hopefully) continue to inspire their work ethic to some day get there themselves is a nice carrot for them.