NBA Odds, Picks & Predictions: Our Best Bets for the 2022 Rising Stars Tournament (February 18)
Tyler Kaufman/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Desmond Bane of the Memphis Grizzlies.
NBA Rising Stars Odds
The NBA’s Rising stars game will look a lot different than it has in years past. What used to be the Rookies vs. Sophomores was recently changed to U.S.A vs. the World and is now a completely new competition.
Four teams comprising 12 rookies, 12 sophomores and four NBA G League Ignite members will compete in a series of three games on TNT at 9 p.m. ET.
Each game will be played to a final target score, ending with a made basket or free throw instead of with the clock running out, similar to the NBA All-Star game. Games 1 and 2 will be played until a team reaches 50 points; Game 3 will be played until a team reaches 25 points.
Click here for updated NBA Rising Stars rosters
Team Isiah: Precious Achiuwa, Toronto Raptors; Desmond Bane, Memphis Grizzlies; Saddiq Bey, Detroit Pistons; Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves; Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers; Jaden Hardy, G League Ignite; Isaiah Stewart, Detroit Pistons
Team Barry: Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons; Dyson Daniels, G League Ignite; Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers; Isaac Okoro, Cleveland Cavaliers; Alperen Sengun, Houston Rockets; Jae’Sean Tate, Houston Rockets; Franz Wagner, Orlando Magic
Team Payton: LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets; Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors; Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls; Scoot Henderson, G League Ignite; Jonathan Kuminga, Golden State Warriors (Injury replacement for Chris Duarte); Jaden McDaniels, Minnesota Timberwolves; Bones Hyland, Denver Nuggets (Injury replacement for Davion Mitchell)
Team Worthy: Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic; MarJon Beauchamp, G League Ignite; Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City Thunder; Jalen Green, Houston Rockets Herbert Jones, New Orleans Pelicans; Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers; Jalen Suggs, Orlando Magic
NBA Rising Stars Best Bets
If I was building an actual NBA team, I’d be all over Team Barry. Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Franz Wagner, Isaac Okoro … these are all winning players I’d want on my side in a real NBA game. But this is not a real NBA game, which means I’m not worried about defense or team construction or size or much of anything other than just runners and gunners who can go get buckets.
And that brings me to Team Worthy, which is led by a slew of guards with virtually no size. Tyrese Maxey has been a star all season, Josh Giddey is putting up triple-doubles on the nightly lately, and Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs bring chemistry from Orlando.
I also like this setting for Jalen Green, who has struggled as a rookie but should be able to run in space, jack 3s, and throw down some highlight dunks.
Team Worthy has a nice mix of shooting and bucket getters, with plenty of handling, passing, and self creation, and that’s really what I’m looking for in an All-Star setting like this. In a wide open event that could go anywhere, I’ll take my chances on the long shot.
And if you can find odds for it, I love the Desmond Bane and Tyrese Haliburton combo for the Clorox Clutch Challenge shooting contest, in which pairs of players will compete from five historic NBA shooting spots on the court.
Bane and Haliburton are easily the two best shooters of the eight competing, and I can’t believe we get them paired up together. I’d take that pair vs. the field if you can find odds for it.
Team Isaiah are the favorites for a reason. They have some of the top players in the last two classes between Desmond Bane, Anthony Edwards, and Tyrese Haliburton and I love their composition. With Precious Achiuwa and Isaiah Stewart they have size and strength and Saddiq Bey provides a sharp shooter as well. I think this is a well rounded team with multiple players capable of running an “offense.”
Additionally, these players are all used to playing bigger minutes with other stars, which I think is important because they will be able to play off of each other better. I think they have plenty of shooting, interior defense, capable handling, and Anthony Edwards is absolutely going to throw down a highlight dunk on some unsuspecting rookie’s head. This will be fun and I like the composition of Team Isaiah.
I also agree with Brandon regarding the Clorox Clutch Challenge. You’ve all see me consistently stan for Desmond Bane and Tyrese Haliburton this season and the fact that they are paired together is mind boggling. They should dominate that competition and I’d take them at any plus number against the field.
If Team Payton didn’t have multiple injury replacements, I’d be really tempted to jump on them, but I’m on Team Barry here.
Brandon noted that they have the most winning players, but those guys can hoop too — Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley and Franz Wagner are among the top-10 scorers in this crop of rookies and sophomores with Jae’Sean Tate just outside that group.
Plus this new format actually rewards playing defense because you’ve got to keep your opponent from reaching that target score. Isaac Okoro and Mobley can hold down the defensive front with the best of them.
The other teams may have a little more flash, but Team Barry has a balanced squad. I’ll take a flier on them.
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