Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
We know it’s just an exhibition in L.A., but last year’s rookies beat the Sophs; can this year’s rooks beat last year’s
Steve Aschburner::Of course they can. If Blake Griffin can singlehandedly revive the “other” L.A. franchise and make the Clippers must-see TV, anything is possible. There’s a turncoat factor to his spot on the Rookies roster, though – he was drafted with the guys on the Sophomores squad – so the second-year players won’t want to get shown up by one of their own. Best strategy: Have big men Serge Ibaka or Taj Gibson whisper into DeMarcus Cousins’ ear that all those alley-oop passes to Griffin ought to be going to Cousins.
Fran Blinebury: Two names: John Wall and Blake Griffin. It’s not every year that the Rookies get a pair of No.1 overall picks playing on their team and the pitch-and-catch tandem should produce some fireworks and a win.
Art Garcia: Two words: Blake Griffin. The should-be-sophomore gives the rooks an All-Star advantage, though on paper the second-year guys have too much depth and too much scoring. Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings, Wesley Matthews and last year’s Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evens may be more than the newcomers can handle. But, again, the rooks have the BlakeShow. I predict a few dunks are in order.
Scott Howard-Cooper: Pretty desperate for a third question, I see. OK then, clearly the sophs have an advantage. Most have been in this pressure-packed environment before, and several played together in the 2010 showdown in Dallas. I’d hate to be the rookies trying to overcome those tremendous odds. Lots of pressure on soph coaches Lawrence Frank, Carmelo Anthony and Steve Kerr to keep that one-game win streak going.
Shaun Powell: You know when a draft is lacking when you must really reach back to remember who went where. With few exceptions, one being John Wall, this year’s class does almost nothing for me; of course, that could change in another year or two. But not by Saturday. So what should we expect to see at Staples Center? In a town that’s all about show business, there might be more interest in the celebrity game. I predict Justin Bieber will lead all players in squeals.
John Schuhmann: I think the Rookies have the talent to win the game, but it’s so hard to pick against the Sophomores, because they almost always take the game more seriously. This Sophomore team has five guys (Blair, Gibson, Holiday, Ibaka and Matthews) who are contributors on playoff teams and a sixth (Jennings) who started on a playoff team last season. So I think they’ll play just enough defense to win the game.
Sekou Smith: Of course, the rookies can win again this year. Blake Griffin and John Wall on the same team is worth the price of admission alone. But the sophomores have either seen, heard or experienced Griffin’s above-the-rim routine already. And Wall’s not as polished as most of us wish he was.So I could see the sophs going at this crop of rookies and making an example of them.