The Philadelphia 76ers’ Michael Carter-Williams, the New Orleans Pelicans’ Anthony Davis and the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard headline the list of 18 players selected for the 2014 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge to be played Friday, Feb. 14, in New Orleans during NBA All-Star 2014.
Carter-Williams, the Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in October/November, leads all first year players in scoring (17.4 ppg), assists (6.7 apg), rebounding (5.6 apg) and steals (2.41 spg). Davis, the league leader in blocks (3.27 bpg), is averaging a double-double with 20.4 points and 10.4 rebounds. Lillard, the 2012-13 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year has the Trail Blazers near the top of the Western Conference standings thanks to averages of 20.6 points and 5.6 assists.
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The BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge — televised live nationally on TNT at 9 p.m. ET and broadcast live on ESPN Radio, with live audio also available on NBA.com in multiple languages — features two teams each consisting of nine rookies and sophomores mixed together, drafted from a pool selected by the NBA’s assistant coaches.
Joining Davis and Lillard among sophomores selected to participate are the Golden State Warriors’ Harrison Barnes, the Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal, the Detroit Pistons’ Andre Drummond, the Houston Rockets’ Terrence Jones, the Boston Celtics’ Jared Sullinger, the Toronto Raptors’ Jonas Valanciunas and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Dion Waiters.
Carter-Williams is joined in the player pool by fellow rookies Steven Adams of the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Atlanta Hawks’ Pero Antic, the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Utah Jazz’s Trey Burke, the New York Knicks’ Tim Hardaway, Jr., the Orlando Magic’s Victor Oladipo, the Boston Celtics’ Kelly Olynyk, and the Brooklyn Nets’ Mason Plumlee.
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This marks the third straight year rookies and sophomores will be mixed together on teams. The BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge Draft is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 6, televised exclusively on TNT at 7 p.m. ET. General Managers for the teams will be announced at a later date. Last year in Houston, Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried scored 40 points (18-of-22 field goals) and added 10 rebounds en route to MVP honors as he led his team to a 163-135 win.
Following the announcement of each team on Feb. 6, fans will be able to vote online from both their computer and mobile device for the starters of each team. The starting lineups will be determined by the players garnering the top votes for their respective positions, with two backcourt and three frontcourt spots for each team. The announcement of the starting lineup will be made in broadcast and in-arena on the night of the game.
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Source: Markieff Morris Expected to Miss a Month
Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris is expected to miss approximately one month following surgery for a sports hernia, a source told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Morris had participated in his normal offseason workout routine before experiencing pain late in the summer. The surgery’s delay, according to the Washington Post, is a result of an ongoing aggravated assault trial involving his twin brother Marcus Morris, as well as other family obligations.
Morris, 28, averaged 14.0 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last season for a Wizards team that fell one game shy of advancing to the Eastern Conference finals.
Joel Embiid Yet to be Cleared for 5-on-5 Drills
76ers center Joel Embiid has not been cleared for 5-on-5 drills, and the team will take a cautious approach in his return from his injured left knee.
Embiid’s career has been riddled with injuries, and he missed his first two NBA seasons. Embiid played only 31 games last season and had surgery in March to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.
Team president Bryan Colangelo and coach Brett Brown said Wednesday the team will soon decide how to handle his playing time when training camp opens next week.
“If you walk in the gym, it looks like he could play 5-on-5 basketball,” Colangelo said. “But we’re going to take our cues from the people who know best.”
According to Colangelo, those people favor a “hyperconservative progression” for Embiid.
“Will he be ramping that up throughout the preseason?” Colangelo said. “Yes. How many games, we’re not certain. Is it every game? We don’t know. That will be based on what we’re told.”