The NBA Rising Stars Challenge, often known as the Rookie-Sophomore Game, is one of the first events of the upcoming All-Star Weekend, as well as a rare opportunity to watch some of the game's best young athletes run up big point totals in a fast-paced, who-cares-about-defense atmosphere.
Over the past five years, the winner of this event has scored an average of 138 points. Without doing much to put that number into perspective (138 is a big number, you know), it's pretty obvious what kind of game can be expected based on recent history.
Starting with the 2012 game, two captains have selected the rosters for the event from a pool of the game's best first-year and second-year players. This year's captains, Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley, took very different routes with their selections.
O'Neal's roster is dominated by speedy young guards, particularly now that Andre Drummond will be forced to sit out with an injury. His remaining roster features Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Dion Waiters, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Chandler Parsons and Tyler Zeller.
Barkley went with a more size-oriented approach, something that could prove unwise in a fast-paced, offense-focused game. His roster includes Anthony Davis, Kenneth Faried, Kawhi Leonard, Bradley Beal, Ricky Rubio, Tristan Thompson, Nikola Vucevic, Brandon Knight, Isaiah Thomas and Alexey Shved.
The game begins at 9 p.m. ET on Friday night from Toyota Center in Houston, broadcast by TNT.