Article Written by Hudson Stewart (@hudson_stewart6)
Yesterday, the NBA released the list of players that will be participating in the 2018 “Rising Stars Game”, as chosen by the league’s assistant coaches. The rosters are highlighted by Joel Embiid and Canadian Jamal Murray on Team World, and Lonzo Ball and Jayson Tatum on Team United States.
The rosters are filled with talented players, but what stood out to me was that none of the “Rising Stars” on the Raptors team made the cut for this game. OG Anunoby, Delon Wright, Fred VanVleet and Jakob Poeltl are each having great seasons for the 2nd place Toronto Raptors. But instead, players like John Collins, Kris Dunn, and Domantas Sabonis were chosen to play in the game. All three of the players I just mentioned play for non-contending teams, and while their individual numbers may be slightly better than those of Wright or Poeltl, I’d argue the assistant coaches who picked the rosters should’ve taken into account the success that this group of young players on the Raptors are having and put at least one of them in this game. It’s unrealistic to say that all four of the aforementioned Raptors’ players should be in the game, but I think that there should’ve been at least one Raptor playing in it (I would’ve gone with OG).
I don’t think this situation is one where the Raptors were disrespected by other people (like they usually are), but I think this is something where the assistant coaches should’ve looked beyond the individual stats of some of these players and looked at the overall success being generated from the young players on the Raptors. It’s a shame that we won’t be able to watch any of the Raptors play in this game. However, looking on the bright side, not playing in this game will give some of the younger players some much needed rest. This will be especially useful for Anunoby, who is playing in an 82-game season for the first time in his career, so this extra rest will help him get through the stretch run of the season. So, overall, I’m disappointed that there were no Raptors selected for this game, but I think it will be better for them, as they’ll be able to sit back, relax, and get ready to play in the 2nd half of the season.
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