NBA All-Star 2019: Three takeaways from Rising Stars Challenge

first_img NBA All-Star 2019: Deandre Ayton ready for Rising Stars Challenge There it is: With 33 points, Kyle Kuzma has scored the most points by a Laker at Rising Stars. #MTNDEWICERisingStars— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 16, 2019Kuzma was named the MVP for his efforts.Jayson Tatum added 30 points with nine rebounds and Ben Simmons led Team World with 28 points on 14-of-17 shooting with six assists and five rebounds. Related News The World’s brief win streak is over as Team USA took home the 161-144 victory at the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday in Charlotte, N.C.Kyle Kuzma led all scorers with 35 points and passed Kobe Bryant for the most points ever by a Laker at the game. Ben Simmons vs. smaller guards is simply unfairEveryone knows Ben Simmons is good. He was nearly an All-Star in his first year, won the Rookie of the Year and was selected to his first All-Star team this season. All this after he was selected as the No. 1 overall draft pick three years ago.But something we don’t get to see a lot of — for good reason — is Simmons going up against smaller guards. Donovan Mitchell drew the unfortunate duty of guarding Simmons early and he gives up seven inches to the Australian. He couldn’t have done much to stop him even if he had tried.Simmons, while tall, is also quick with the ball and is nearly unstoppable going to the basket if he has a mismatch. Those size advantages he had in the first half led to a 9-of-10 shooting performance from the second-year man. Now it’s incredibly easy to see why smaller guards never wind up on him.John Collins — dunk previewJohn Collins was simply showing off in the first half. He was throwing down ridiculous dunks left and right and had the crowd in Charlotte oohing and aahing.JOHN. COLLINS. 😱 #MTNDEWICERisingStars— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 16, 2019It’s easy to see now why he is in the dunk contest.John Collins isn’t messing around tonight! 😤 #MTNDEWICERisingStars— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 16, 2019While he has your attention now, take the time to see what he has done this year.Despite playing for a bad team in Atlanta, Collins has quietly averaged 19.1 points and 9.5 rebounds. He is one of just seven players in the NBA putting up those numbers and is one of only two doing so who wasn’t selected to compete in the All-Star game.Collins is more than a dunker, but we honestly can’t wait to see what he has in store for the dunk contest Saturday.Rodions Kurucs is this year’s Bogdan BogdanovicThe Rising Stars Challenge is here to showcase young talent and it always seems like there’s a player you’ve never heard of who lights it up in the game. Last year, it was Bogdan Bogdanovic who won the MVP while hitting 3-pointers from Charlotte even though the game was moved to Los Angeles. This year it was Rodions Kurucs who also sent a message. While you might not be familiar with Kurucs, the second-round pick came out and showed he can hit shots from deep and work inside a bit as well.He’s not a big name yet, but he’s a good name to know moving forward.last_img

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