Timberwolves’ Anthony Edwards, Jaden McDaniels named to Rising Stars
Last season, the Rising Stars Challenge usually played with rookie and sophomore players across the NBA during All-Star Weekend, was scrapped due to COVID-19 concerns. It kept Timberwolves star and No. 1 overall pick Anthony Edwards from participating on a national stage.
This year, however, the game is back, and emerging Wolves second-year player Jaden McDaniels will join Edwards as part of the player pool.
The event is taking on a different look this year. While past iterations had a team of rookies take on the top sophomores and the most recent version featured a Team USA vs. Team World format, the 2022 game will feature four teams created from a 28-player pool.
The four teams will compete in a tournament beginning at 8 p.m. CT on TNT on the Friday of All-Star Weekend. The first two games will be played as a race to 50 points, with the “championship” game played to 25 points.
NBA legends and 75th Anniversary Team members James Worthy, Gary Payton, Isiah Thomas, and Rick Barry will draft the teams. The pool consists of 12 rookies, 12 second-year players, and four members of the NBA G League Ignite developmental team.
Edwards is clearly one of the headliners, along with last year’s Rookie of the Year and Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball, and this year’s favorite for the award, Cleveland Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley. This year’s No. 1 overall pick, Cade Cunningham of the Detroit Pistons, will play as well.
Other notable members of Edwards’ draft class to play include fellow lottery picks Saddiq Bey of the Pistons and Isaac Okoro of the Cavaliers, and Sacramento Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton.
Jaden McDaniels may not have gaudy per-game numbers, but he passes virtually every single eye test out there as a long, rangy, athletic forward with handles and a solid-looking jump shot. Of course, he’s best known for his ability to lock down defensively at this stage in his career, but the 20-year-old’s feel on offense is continuing to rapidly improve, as evidenced by his career-high 22 points in Sunday’s blowout win over the Utah Jazz.
This side of Cunningham, other notable rookies include the Toronto Raptors’ Scottie Barnes, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Josh Giddey, the Houston Rockets’ Jalen Green, and the Orlando Magic’s Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner, the former of whom is a Minnesota native.
Kudos to the NBA for thinking of a creative way to involve more players and add some excitement to All-Star Friday night.