When our little website started its main focus was on the impact and presence of international players coming into the NBA, so please keep that in mind when we say that we think it’s a shame that deserving rookies and Sophomores that should be in the NBA’s Rising Star’s Challenge during All-Star weekend will be sitting at home.
Talented players were left off the 10-man roster because the NBA’s format for the game went from rookies vs. second year players to Team USA vs Team World in 2015.
Deserving American Players Snubbed Hard
A short list of players that certainly have the right to be bothered by their omission include Sophomore players Collin Sexton, Duncan Robinson, Michael Porter Jr., Kevin Huerter, Landry Shamet as well as rookies Jaxson Hayes and Matisse Thybulle. Each and every one of those players were more than deserving enough to have been selected for the team over a few players that were chosen to satisfy the international portion of format.
No offense to Moritz Wagner, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Josh Okogie and Nickeil Alexander-Walker because they didn’t choose themselves and had no control over the format, but they simply aren’t nearly as deserving based on stats, performance or team performance.
|Michael Porter Jr.||39||8.0||4.4||0.7|
Objectively on the list of rookies and Sophomores that have earned their way into the game — Wagner, Mykhailuk, Okogie and Alexander-Walker shouldn’t be participating over nearly a dozen of their peers. In the case of Alexander-Walker, the least-deserving, hasn’t had a better season than teammate Hayes, who was left off the roster and really unhappy about it.
That’s not to mention other snubs in Donte DiVincenzo, Anfernee Simons, Aaron Holiday and Coby White. On this list of U.S. snubs, many of them aren’t just playing well, but playing well for some of the top teams in the league including DiVencenzo (Bucks), Porter Jr. (Nuggets), Shamet (Clippers), Robinson (Heat), Simons (Blazers) and Thybulle (Sixers).
Forget Format, Get the Best Players Into the Game
These surplus of deserving players that should be included in the game still have a chance to make the roster in a couple ways. First, chosen players may have an injury that doesn’t allow for them to participate and second, if Rising Star players that are also participating in the NBA All-Star game they can opt not to play in both games.
Luka Doncic has already missed a few games due to a sprained ankle. He and Trae Young were both voted starters in the All-Star game so they both can choose not to play in the Rising Stars game to open up a spot.
With rosters limited to a certain number of spots, there will always be “snubs” no matter what happens.
However in these unique instances where there’s this huge discrepancy and very clear problems, the league should make the decision to scrap the format to better reflect the players that have earned their way. Considering the laughable omissions, we also support the idea of adding two more spots to each roster.
The Rising Stars Challenge will be played in less than two weeks. Hopefully the league can make amends before Friday, February 14, 2020.