Evan Turner in NBA Rising Stars Challenge, Nikola Vucevic Out

After announcing recently that it's no longer a Rookies vs. Sophomores game (written in the staaaaaaaaaaaars) and will instead be a fantasy draft out of the pool of first and second year players, the NBA has released who is actually getting their feetsies wet in said pool. Evan Turner, thankfully, is in that list, but Nikola Vucevic, sad face, has been left out naked in the cold without a towel. No running!

Pool references aside, it's unfortunate but not surprising that Vuce didn't make the cut, even though he's been better than a few of the guys who did. The list of people who got in below.

ROOKIES: Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers), Derrick Williams (Timberwolves), Tristan Thompson (Cavaliers), Ricky Rubio (Timberwolves), Brandon Knight (Pistons), Kemba Walker (Bobcats), Markieff Morris (Suns), Kawhi Leonard (Spurs), Marshon Brooks (Nets).

SOPHOMORES: Blake Griffin (Clippers), John Wall (Wizards), Evan Turner (76ers), DeMarcus Cousins (Kings), Greg Monroe (Pistons), Gordon Hayward (Jazz), Paul George (Pacers), Landry Fields (Knicks), Tiago Splitter (Spurs).

I can agree with most of the sophomores, though I probably would have tried to find a way to get Ed Davis and Derrick Favors on the team. Regarding the rookies though, I've got a few major issues. Thompson, Williams, and even Markieff don't really have much business in there. 'Kieff is shooting under 40% from the field, Williams has a lower eFG% than Jimmer Fredette, and Thompson has just been uselss across the board.

Nikola, meanwhile, comes in second among all rookies with over 150 minutes played in win shares per 48 minutes. The only guy ahead of him? Lavoy Allen. Mr. 500 hasn't played enough and, picked as the worst player in the league, he doesn't have much in the way of publicity behind him.

But Vuce went to USC, has been one of the most effective rookies in the league, and plays a position that the Rookie/Sophomore game is currently light in. Only Monroe and Cousins can qualify as centers, and DMC leans into PF territory. Between Vuce, Favors, and Ed Davis, there's a big man conspiracy going on and I'm going to get to the bottom of it.

Basically, this isn't based on merit, but rather excitement level. Splitter, not an exciting player, marks the only international player on the squads, though he does deserve to be there. Vuce is just not close to exciting enough for the TNT/NBA guys to seek out advanced stats proving how good he has been so far.

Between Shaq and Charles, it'll be interesting to see who goes where. I'm hoping they publish when the players were picked - playground style. ET won't be the last one picked, but somebody's going to be the sad panda waiting for their name to be called. I'm thinking it's Kawhi. At least we have a reason to watch this game!

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