An annual tradition during the Friday of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend is to showcase the league’s best young talent in the Rising Stars Challenge, once known as the Rookie-Sophomore Game. As of 2015, the rosters have been split between international and American players with both rookies and sophomores dispersed throughout. The 2017 matchup will feature three 76ers players: Cameroon’s Joel Embiid and Croatia’s Dario Saric on Team World and Chicago’s Jahlil Okafor on Team USA.
This marks the fourth straight year that at least one Sixer will participate in the Rising Stars Challenge, as Okafor played in 2016, both Nerlens Noel and Robert Covington did so in 2015, and the now-departed Michael Carter-Williams suited up in 2014.
Here is a look at the full rosters of both Team USA and Team World:
NBA announces rosters for rookie-soph game (aka "rising stars challenge"). pic.twitter.com/ovx4uxIfQD— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) January 25, 2017
On the surface, the two teams looked pretty fairly matched, as Myles Turner and Karl-Anthony Towns have already established themselves as talented, versatile big men in this league on the American roster and the same goes for Embiid, Nikola Jokic and Kristaps Porzingis for Team World. Malcolm Brogdon and Jamal Murray have been the strongest guards in this year’s rookie class and find themselves on opposite rosters. This should actually be pretty fun!
The prospects of Embiid and Porzingis likely being the starting frontcourt tandem for Team World surely won’t cause any buyer’s remorse for Sixers fans, I’m sure.
The game will take place on February 17 in New Orleans. It will start at 9 p.m. EST on TNT.