The Lakers may be on a break for another week, but a few of their players are in New Orleans for All-Star Weekend to compete in various events. The first of those commitments is tonight when D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram join up on the U.S. Team in the Rising Stars Challenge to face off against their World Team counterparts. A full roster and background of the game can be found here.
It’s a nice honor to be included in this game, but this isn’t something which should be be taken too seriously be fans since history tells us it certainly will not be by the players involved. There will be little to no defense played, players will be gunning for highlights, and guys will be hunting for their shots. It’s less a basketball game and more a game of 2K brought to life by 19-22 year olds.
In other words, this game will have little to no intensity and we’re all (including the coaches of both teams) just going to have to live with that.
That said, it should be fun to see if either Ingram or Russell can catch fire and show off their respective talent. Neither player has had as good a year as, I think, many fans would like but they have shown enough flashes to reinforce their overall talent level. I’d love to see one or both be “on” tonight and put up some numbers while drawing some “oohs” and “ahs” from the crowd.
Of course, they won’t be alone out there and won’t be the only guys looking to show off their skill. I expect Devin Booker, Karl Anthony Towns, and Kristaps Porzingis to all show out. Two my sleeper picks to have really good games are Jamal Murray of the Nuggets and Jonathan Simmons of the Spurs. The former will not be bashful about getting up long jumpers and the latter is a high flyer who knows how to get out in the open court. This type of environment is built for guys like them.
Anyway, enjoy the game. It may not be “competitive” in the classic sense, but it is fun enough game before we get into the real fun on Saturday and Sunday.
Where you can watch: 6pm start time on TNT.