Minnesota Timberwolves: All-Star Friday, starring Josh Okogie

CHARLOTTE NC - FEBRUARY 14: Josh Okogie #20 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Michael J. LeBrecht II/NBAE via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE NC - FEBRUARY 14: Josh Okogie #20 of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Michael J. LeBrecht II/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Minnesota Timberwolves will be represented by two of their players over All-Star Weekend in Charlotte. Let’s get ready for Friday night’s action.

The Minnesota Timberwolves continue a solid streak of representation at NBA All-Star Weekend with participants in both Friday night’s and Sunday night’s action.

Friday night brings viewers the pleasure of the NBA All-Star Celebrity game on ESPN, followed by the NBA Rising Stars Challenge on TNT.

Once again, this game will bring us Team USA vs. Team World, with the differntiating factor being where a player was born. That means that Josh Okogie, who was born in Nigeria but was largely raised in the United States and attended high school in Georgia, will play on Team World.

Okogie will be joined by Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons, Toronto’s OG Anunoby, Dallas’ Luka Doncic, Chicago’s Lauri Markkanen, Cleveland’s Cedi Osman, Phoenix’s Deandre Ayton, Sacramento’s Bogdan Bogdanovic, Brooklyn’s Rodions Kurucs, and the Clippers’ Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

The Team USA roster includes Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, Boston’s Jason Tatum, Atlanta’s Trae Young, Sacramento’s Marvin Bagley III, Brooklyn’s Jarrett Allen, Atlanta’s John Collins, the Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma, Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox, Memphis’ Jaren Jackson Jr., and New York’s Kevin Knox as an injury replacement for Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball.

Both rosters are star-studded, with headliners Mitchell, Tatum, and Young drawing attention from Team USA and Simmons and Doncic leading Team World.

It remains to be seen how much some of the sophomores will actually play. Simmons, for instance is playing in the Big Game on Sunday, so he might not see the floor much at all on Friday night.

This game is typically a bouncier version of the big boy game that happens about 48 hours later, with optional defense, lots of 3-point attempts, and far more alley-oop and off-the-backboard dunk attempts than we’ll see on Sunday evening.

Who will win the Rising Stars Challenge MVP award?

Okogie seems like the type of player who is a more impressive in-game dunker, given his proclivity for dunking over opponents and being active and aggressive when others are not. But in a game like this, nobody will so much as consider allowing themselves to be dunked on, so Okogie’s high-flying exploits and impressive defensive play may not fit all that well.

Here’s hoping I’m wrong, but expect someone like Tatum or Mitchell to take home MVP honors. Players will defer to them automatically, and they’re both key contributors to playoff teams already while many of their co-Rising Stars are “starring” for lower-tier teams.

The bet here is that Mitchell takes home the award, but Tatum, Doncic, and Young are in my next tier, followed by darkhorse candidate Bogdanovic.

We’ll have a recap and a look at how Okogie did following the game, as well as some more Wolves content on Saturday as we get ready for Karl-Anthony Towns’ presence in the big game on Sunday night.

Next. Analyzing the Timberwolves' crunch-time issues. dark

Enjoy All-Star Weekend!