January 31, 2013 10:15 AM by Dick Pepperfield
The NBA announced yesterday its 2013 Rising Stars rosters. The sophomore squad is comprised of Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Kenneth Faried, Brandon Knight, Chandler Parsons, Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, Tristan Thompson, and Nikola Vucevic. Irving is clearly the highlighter of this group, but Kenneth Faried is starting his own coming out party in Denver. And no that was not a joke about his two gay mothers. Okay, it was. Klay Thompson just had a filthy game last night against the Cavs, going off for 32 points (6-8 from beyond the arc). I think in 5 years he’ll be the second best player from this class.
The rookie squad is Damian Lillard, Dion Waiters, Anthony Davis, Harrison Barnes, Andre Drummond, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Bradley Beal, Alexey Shved, and Tyler Zeller. Going into the draft most people (including me) thought this was going to be a very weak draft class outside of Davis, but it has been surprisingly good. Beal and Barnes are still struggling to understand the terms “shot selection”, while Barnes and MKG are using some plus-defense with just enough offense to help contribute. The front runner, though, is Lillard. My Lillard mancrush is pretty violent right now, as he continues to exceed expectations in Portland.
There were some relatively big name players left off. Jimmy Butler has come into his own in Chicago with Luol Deng sidelined for the last week or two but a quiet rookie year followed by a slow start did not do him any favors. Ricky Rubio is one of the most exciting players in the NBA but after tearing his ACL he has been on a hard minutes limit and that has prevented his stats from competing with the rest of this list. Terrence Ross, who should be certainly be invited to the Dunk Contest, was most noticeably overlooked because he plays in Canada which I’m not even sure is still a real country.