• Tue. Aug 4th, 2020

All-Star Weekend: The Rising Stars Review

ByAaron Shapo

Feb 15, 2020

Nothing to say except: WOW! What a way to kick-off All-Star weekend! This is the future of the NBA, and it is one of the brightest we’ve ever seen!

Rui Hachimura kicked off the excitement with several dunks in the first quarter, and it only got better from there.

Zion Williamson nailed a few dunks, including the highlight of the night, the Ja Morant under-the-legs lob to Zion. There were a lot of dunks and alley-oops during the game that made it one of the most entertaining games to watch.

In the Second Quarter, Zion’s incredible dunks actually bent the rim. They had to fix it at halftime making it on of the funnier events of the night.

The first half was finished off with a Luka Doncic half-court heave with .03 seconds remaining on the clock. His shot put team World up 10 points going into the half, but it was still anybody’s game.

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – FEBRUARY 15: Luka Doncic #77 of the World Team reacts during the 2019 Mtn Dew ICE Rising Stars at Spectrum Center on February 15, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)(Streeter Lecka / Getty Images)

The third quarter saw Team USA explode. They outscored team World 44-24 in the third quarter and gave them the lead that they managed to keep for the rest of the game. Miles Bridges went off in the third with some epic dunks, including one off the backboard, and at halftime posted the famous meme:

Miles Bridges’s Twitter

The fourth quarter saw Team USA win by a mile, but that didn’t stop a dunk contest at the end of the game. Luka Doncic got a dunk, and then the fans wanted to see Zion with an epic dunk. Zion missed on all three dunks, but the attempts themselves were impressive enough.

The Rising Stars game had some of the best young players in the NBA going against each other. They’re all standouts on their own, but three of them looked like they were beyond the rest in this game. Here are the top three performances of this game:

3. Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson put on a show in the Rising Stars Challenge with several thunderous dunks, including one that left the backboard tilted.
DENNIS WIERZBICKI, USA TODAY SPORTS

Although he didn’t score many points, the man is a dunking machine! Zion Williamson looked absolutely incredible. His dunks seem impossible to do and he does them with ease. He shot 7-11, but three of those misses were when he was attempting the crowd-pleasing dunks.

His alley-oop dunk with Ja Morant is the best highlight play by far. Zion’s alley-oops are just so fun to watch. His 14 points, all on two-pointers, along with his dunks give him the third-best performance of the game.

2. RJ Barrett.

CHICAGO, IL – FEBRUARY 14: RJ Barrett #9 of Team World dunks the ball against Team USA during the 2020 NBA All-Star Rising Stars Game on February 14, 2020 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. (Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)

Another Duke player, Barrett scored the most points out of any player in the game. He didn’t have the same highlights as Zion, but the man scored 27 points on 11-17 shooting. Barrett was just incredible in the game and there were no answers for him, even when they started trying in the Second Half.

Barrett is going to be an incredibly dangerous player when he becomes more consistent, and this game shows it. The man has endless potential and showed why he deserves to be a Rising Star.

1. Miles Bridges

Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Who else to get the honors other than the Rising Stars MVP? Miles Bridges did a bit of everything in this game. He has an epic off-the-backboard dunk in the third quarter and an incredible windmill dunk in the fourth. He also went 3-7 from deep, pulled in five rebounds, dished out five assists, and nabbed three steals. He really did do a little bit of everything in this game.

Bridges is one of the more exciting players for the Charlotte Hornets, and he has shown that he is able to stand out, even against the best youth in the NBA. His performance earned him the honor of the game, being the MVP. This man is going to be a monster for a long time in the NBA.

The NBA is in great hands for the next decade. These rising stars are just amazing and everyone is going to love watching them. From sharpshooters like Trae Young, Luka Doncic and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, to dunkers like Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, and Miles Bridges. The NBA will have dozens of highlights to choose from this game, and they will bring in highlight reels for years to come.