HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – With the 11th hour additions of both Jeremy Lin and Norris Cole, the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge draft got an extra dose of last-minute drama from the game’s honorary commissioner, TNT’s Kenny Smith.
By snagging both of the late additions to go along with No. 1 overall pick Blake Griffin and rookie point guard sensation Ricky Rubio, Shaquille O’Neal nailed his first ever draft (he showed up wearing the “Black Pat Riley” t-shirt) and Team Shaq goes into All-Star Weekend with the clear advantage over Team Chuck (Barkley).
Team Chuck has the sort of balance you strive for when putting together a team for the grind of an 82-game (or 66-game) regular season. But Team Shaq has the star power at guard, point guard especially, that you need to win games like the one we’ll see on All-Star Friday night in Orlando.
That didn’t stop Barkley from talking smack after he passed over Lin for a rookie point guard sensation of his own in Kyrie Irving with his first pick.
“It wasn’t very difficult [to pass on Jeremy Lin] to be honest because [Lin's] only been playing for a week and it’s been a fantastic week,” Barkley said. “But Kyrie Irving is terrific and he’s going to hand it to [Lin] and if Ricky Rubio wants some…he can come get some too.”
You’ve got to ride the hot hand Chuck. And no one in basketball is hotter right now than Lin.
Team Shaq didn’t even get the endorsement of NBA TV’s Dennis Scott, Shaq’s best friend and former Orlando Magic teammate. “As I go through the [rosters], at first I thought Shaq had the upper hand but he has too many point guards,” Scott said. “Shaq has more playmakers but Charles has more finishers…I think Charles may have the upper hand.”
Et tu 3D?
Being the long-range bomber that he was (and remains, to this day) 3D should know better than to bet against the guys who will have control of the ball throughout the game. Team Chuck’s bigs will need someone to get them the ball. All of the best playmakers other than Irving and John Wall will be working for Team Shaq that night.
Mark it down, we’re predicting a big win for Team Shaq that night!
Full rosters & a poll after the jump:
BBVA RISING STARS ROSTERS
TEAM SHAQ (#TeamShaq)
Blake Griffin – Los Angeles Clippers (Sophomore)
Jeremy Lin – New York Knicks (Sophomore)
Ricky Rubio – Minnesota Timberwolves (Rookie)
Greg Monroe – Detroit Pistons (Sophomore)
Markieff Morris – Phoenix Suns (Rookie)
Kemba Walker – Charlotte Bobcats (Rookie)
Landry Fields – New York Knicks (Sophomore)
Norris Cole – Miami Heat (Rookie)
Brandon Knight – Detroit Pistons (Rookie)
Tristan Thompson – Cleveland Cavaliers (Rookie)
TEAM CHUCK (#Team Chuck)
Kyrie Irving – Cleveland Cavaliers (Rookie)
DeMarcus Cousins – Sacramento Kings (Sophomore)
Paul George – Indiana Pacers (Sophomore)
Derrick Williams – Minnesota Timberwolves (Rookie)
MarShon Brooks – New Jersey Nets (Rookie)
John Wall – Washington Wizards (Sophomore)
Gordon Hayward – Utah Jazz (Sophomore)
Tiago Splitter – San Antonio Spurs (Sophomore)
Derrick Favors — Utah Jazz (Sophomore, injury replacement for Splitter)
Kawhi Leonard – San Antonio Spurs (Rookie)
Evan Turner – Philadelphia 76ers (Sophomore)