On February 15th, 2013, the festivities will begin for the NBA’s All-Star Weekend. On Friday night, the first and second-year NBA players will take part in an all-star game, the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge. Last year, Charles Barkley coached one team and Shaquille O’Neal coached the other team. The rookie players include Anthony Davis (New Orleans Hornets, soon-to-be Pelicans), Damon Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers), Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards), Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Charlotte Bobcats), Alexey Shved (Minnesota Timberwolves), Dion Waiters (Cleveland Cavaliers), and Tyler Zeller (Cleveland Cavaliers).
The sophomore team consists of Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets), Brandon Knight (Detroit Pistons), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs), Chandler Parsons (Houston Rockets), Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland Cavaliers), Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic), and Kemba Walker (Charlotte Bobcats).
Barnes and Zeller are playing for a couple of up-and-coming teams in the Warriors and the Cavaliers. The Warriors rank seventh in points per game (101.3), fourth in rebounds per game (44.6), seventh in assists per game (23.1), and 23rd in points allowed per game (100.3). Barnes most recent per game-averages are 9.2 points, 1.5 assists, and 4.3 rebounds. The Cavaliers rank 16th in points (96.0), 20th in rebounds (41.4), 28th in assists per game (19.9), and 26th in points allowed per game (101.2). Zeller is currently averaging 8.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks per game. If the playoffs started today, Golden State would be the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference. The Cleveland Cavaliers would not qualify for the playoffs.
Based on these numbers, the Warriors are further ahead in their progression in comparison to the Cavaliers. Both of these former Tar Heel stars play a role in their team’s success. We may see these two players again during the 2014 All-Star Weekend possibly playing as sophomores in this game and during the game on Sunday; like former the former Blue Devil, Kyrie Irving, is doing this year.