The NBA Rising Stars Challenge changed its format last season to having the best rookies and sophomores from the U.S. take on the best young international stars. For the first game in the new format, Team World was victorious.
Team World will look to repeat its success, and will have the help of last year’s MVP of the game: Andrew Wiggins.
The Adidas-sponsored baller for the Minnesota Timberwolves dropped 22 points on the U.S. squad in the 121-112 win. Wiggins plays in a player’s edition of the Adidas Crazylight Boost 2.5. The guard will being playing opposite someone he usually plays on the same team with – Nike-sponsored Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns.
Towns, the rookie who is averaging 16.1 points and 9.8 assists per game, will suit up for the U.S. team, looking to avenge last year’s loss to Team World. The center will be playing alongside fellow rookie and No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, D’Angelo Russell. The Los Angeles Lakers guard – and fellow Nike-sponsored athlete – is averaging 12.2 points and 3.3 assists per game in his rookie campaign.
The World Team has a stellar young guard of its own in Under Armour-sponsored Emmanuel Mudiay of the Denver Nuggets. Mudiay, who was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 11.1 points and 5.7 assists per game this season. Joining Mudiay in the backcourt is Mario Hezonja of the Orlando Magic, who hits the court in Nike.
Although the Team U.S. has the No. 1 and No. 2 overall draft picks in the 2015 NBA Draft, Team World has arguably the best player selected in the draft: Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks. Porzingis – who hits the court in the Nike Kobe X Elite – is averaging 14 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.
The BBVA Rising Stars Challenge will take place Feb. 12 at 9 p.m. at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, and can be seen on TNT.