Posts Tagged ‘BBVA Rising Stars Challenge’

Wall Plenty Motivated To Stand Out At BBVA Rising Stars Challenge




ORLANDO — John Wall didn’t need any extra motivation.

The point guard was already sick to his stomach of the losing that’s gone with his Wizards at 7-26 at the season’s midpoint. But getting lost in Ricky Rubio mania earlier this season and more recently Jeremy Lin(sanity) certainly serves as extra reminders that if you’re not careful, folks will forget about you.

Wall figures he’ll get his chance to remind everyone exactly who he is tonight in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, a game where the No. 1 pick in the 2010 Draft will cede the headliner status to Clippers All-Star Blake Griffin, rookie point guards Kyrie Irving and Rubio and an undrafted member of his own draft class in Lin.

Griffin and all three of those other point guards were among the 11 players that came off the board before Wall in the draft for this game, conducted by TNT analysts Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley, who took Wall with the 12th overall pick.

A year and a half into his NBA career and Wall is already being marginalized. What elite competitor wouldn’t be hungry to prove his critics wrong after a snub like that?

“I know what people think but it’s really not just about this one game,” Wall said. “It’s using the second half of the season as motivation to get better for me. And if this game is a statement game for me, and there are supposed to be 11 or 12 guys better than me, then we need to play this game and see.”

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What Did John Wall Do To You?





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – It doesn’t matter if it’s choosing sides for kickball during recess or the NBA Draft, someone always feels slighted.

But the No. 1 pick of the 2010 Draft was done a grave disservice last night during the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge draft on NBA TV.  When John Wall has to watch 11 other players, rookies and sophomores, come off the draft board ahead of him … “Houston we have a problem!”

If anyone thinks there are 11 first-and second-year players in the NBA better than Wall, playing better than Wall or that would get picked before Wall in a pick-up game anywhere on the planet, they are crazy.

I understand that the Wizards have been a frustrating group this season and that Wall’s reputation has suffered because of it. But this notion that he’s anything other than one of the best young talents in the league is simply foolishness.

Wall’s reaction to the draft snub from both Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley, who ended up taking him, was classic. His response, via Twitter, “Motivation!!”

As my main man Michael Lee of The Washington Post pointed out to me last night and again today, Wall has been ballin’ as of late, doing it all in the shadow of Jeremy Lin‘s worldwide takeover of the game (and on The Post’s website, there’s a Lin feature above anything Wall or Wizards, which should tell you about the chip Wall will have on his shoulder by the time he arrives in Orlando next week):

Although his numbers are down this season, Wall still leads all second-year players in assists at 7.6 and ranks second only to the all-star Griffin in scoring average at 16.7 points (Yes, amidst the league-wide Linfatuation with the New York Knicks, Wall has actually produced better stats for the entire season).

Wall had a slow start to the season, but over his past 19 games, he is averaging 18.8 points, 8.0 assists and 5.3 rebounds. In his past six games, Wall is quietly averaging 21.8 points on 50.5 percent shooting and 9.8 assists

Wall has every reason to show out in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge. And this draft snub is all the motivation he needs to get loose. And I’m saying this after publicly endorsing Team Shaq last night.

#TeamShaq Rules Rising Stars Draft





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: (more…)

Get Lin In Rising Stars Challenge Draft!





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal have a chance tonight to do what 30 other NBA executives couldn’t, and that’s draft Jeremy Lin.

What more does the Knicks’ sensational point guard have to do to crash the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge draft party tonight? (7 p.m. ET on NBA TV.) All he’s done is spark the Knicks to seven straight wins and author the greatest underdog story in sports most anyone has ever seen.

So what if he wasn’t on the initial list of players considered for the game that will be played Friday night of All-Star Weekend in Orlando, pitting a mix of first and second year players selected by general managers Barkley and O’Neal.

With their TNT colleague Kenny Smith serving as the commissioner of the draft, all it would take is an executive order from him to grant Lin, and perhaps another deserving player who didn’t make the initial cut of 18 draft-eligible players, entrance into the draft pool. That would give us an even 20 and guarantee that Linsanity spreads its wings all the way through All-Star Weekend (the rumblings are he’ll be there anyway, might as well make it official).

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Shaq And Chuck Get Some Rest, We’ve Got The Rising Stars!





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Who says you have to wait for TNT’s Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal?

Here at the hideout, we wait for no one to pick our teams, not even the big boys who will serve as general managers for the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend.

Chuck and Shaq don’t hit the TNT set until tonight, and they don’t pick the squads until next week, which gives us (Micah Hart of the All-Ball Blog is my partner in basketball-related crimes today) all the time we need to make our picks for the game that used to pit rookies and sophomores against one another.

We flipped a coin and will kick off the draft right now, using the same 18 players on the official list instead of the ones we think should be on the list — the write-in campaign for Jeremy Lin starts in a few minutes — as if there was any doubt on that No. 1 spot:

Sekou Smith: If you thought I’d pick anyone other than this guy with the No. 1 pick, you were dreaming.

FIRST PICK

Hang Time: Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

Micah HartWell I might pick another guy first if this were a real game and not an exhibition but since we’re showing off , I’ll take …

All-Ball: John Wall, Washington Wizards

SS: If you’re going to show off, you should at least do it with the best. Say hello to my little friend …

SECOND PICK

Hang Time: Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves

MHI considered that, but I want a guy who can drop 30 along with his 10 assists as well. Besides, I’ll have chemistry on my side with Wall and my next pick …

All-Ball: DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins

SS: Did you just call a grown man “Boogie?” Don’t ever do that again. I hope your guards are ready, because when they see Ricky and his running mate coming at them, it could get ugly. I’ll take …

THIRD PICK

HT: Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers

MHAlright, well you seem to be cornering the market on the guards, so I guess I’ll press the advantage in the frontcourt. Gimme the best big man to come out of Georgetown since Othella Harrington

All-Ball: Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons

SS: I knew you wouldn’t be able to go more than five minutes without a shout-out to Murrah High (Jackson, Miss.), and for the record, Monroe’s ceiling is much higher than Othella’s was. That said, your bigs will struggle all night trying to keep up with my guys. I have a vision for this game and it includes lots of dunks and non-stop running …

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Stern: ‘We’re In Good Shape, Charles’





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Despite one unofficial diagnosis after another about the fragile state of on-court affairs in the NBA,  Commissioner David Stern didn’t waste any time Wednesday night at Philips Arena issuing a bill of health of his own, going so far as to mention one TNT analyst in particular by his first name in his retort.

“How do we measure how we’re doing? Well, there are two forms of measurement, one is what our fans think and the other one is what Charles [Barkley] thinks,” Stern said, smiling the entire time. “What our fans think is our ratings are at record highs over last year and they were at records last year, our attendance is the same as last year, which was a great year, and our consumer products and sales are up. Those are the three metrics that we usually use because we are watched in every single way.”

With a rash of injuries to players around the league and suggestions from Barkley and plenty of others that the overall play in the league has been sloppy, at best, with the abbreviated training camp and compressed season being pointed to as a significant part of the problem.

Stern offered another perspective on those theories that lockout has had a detrimental effect on the game action this season.

“There has been a lot commentary about the compressed season and I’ve seen it expressed in many different ways,” Stern said. “We’re putting 80 percent of the games into 75 percent of the season … I saw someplace today that said we made a mistake rushing in to play at Christmas and the only thing I’ll say about that is that we sat down with the players and together we said, ‘if we make a deal tonight we can play by Christmas and get 80 percent of the season and not to mention 80 percent of the gates and 80 percent of the salaries, and things like that.’ And I dare say that that was a good carrot for us, indeed a magnet, to stay there until 3 or 4 in the morning  and say, ‘okay, if we get a deal done tonight we can get off to a good start,’ which we did. Christmas Day was great and we are having a good season.”

Stern said that there would need to be more analysis done in a “look-back study” to gauge how teams are handling the compressed schedule and the distribution of minutes, based on how many players they have on their rosters and other factors.

In the meantime, he’ll rely on the reactions of the fans.

“The fans are saying good things about us,” said Stern, who was in Houston earlier in the day to announce the host city of the 2013 All-Star Game. “And despite what Charles says, he remains my favorite commentator, I think that our fans have a higher view of our product than he does.”

With All-Star Weekend on the horizon and Barkley and TNT’s Shaquille O’Neal set to serve as general managers for the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, Stern is looking forward to a little role reversal. With its new format, Barkley and O’Neal will choose sides for a game where the rookies and sophomores are mixed instead of opposing one another.

“I think it’s going to work, especially when you’ve got Shaq and Charles,” Stern said. “I can’t wait to critique Charles. Oh boy, I am on this, all over it, okay. I think that Shaq is going to be a better coach than Charles. And he was a better rebounder than Charles. I’ll even go to the question that he’s a better commentator than Charles … [but] that’s for after All-Star [Weekend].”

MIA From Rising Stars Challenge?





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We usually have to wait until Thursday night’s announcement of the All-Star reserves for all “snubbed” talk to kick up.

But with this afternoon’s unveiling of the names in the draft pool for the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend, the furor is here a day early. There were a few names people expected to see on the list that were missing in action, namely Heat rookie Norris Cole, Rockets forward Chandler Parsons, Kings rookie Jimmer Fredette and Knicks rookie Iman Shumpert.

Now with Clippers All-Star Blake Griffin, and rookie Kyrie Irving and Ricky Rubio headlining, the list of players TNT’s Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal will choose from to comprise the rosters, there isn’t a ton of room to complain. And in defense of the committee, there were only nine slots available for rookies and nine for sophomores. Click here to peruse the roster for yourself.

But the omissions are sure to draw the ire of fans in certain places. And this will serve as good practice for tomorrow night. So let the venting begin …