NBA All-Star weekend is rapidly approaching and the Dallas Mavericks will be a big part of the different events throughout the weekend. With the Rising Stars rosters announced, where are some young, deserving Mavs?
The Rising Stars game is a part of the NBA All-Star weekend that puts rookies and second-year players on the court together. It used to be a “Rookie vs. Sophomore” matchup, but has taken the form of “Team U.S.A. vs. Team World” in the past few years. With one of the best young foreign stars in the league, the Dallas Mavericks will definitely be represented in this game.
Luka Doncic will be playing in the game for Team World alongside such names as Ben Simmons, Deandre Ayton and Lauri Markkanen. They will be up against Team U.S.A, with players such as Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, De’Aaron Fox and John Collins. Since the “Team U.S.A. vs. Team World” format started in 2015, Team World has won 3 of the 4 matchups, with the lone loss coming in 2016.
The rest of Team World consists of: OG Anunoby, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Rodions Kurucs, Josh Okogie and Cedi Osman. For Team U.S.A., the rest of the roster is: Jarrett Allen, Marvin Bagley III, Lonzo Ball, Jaren Jackson Jr., Kyle Kuzma and Trae Young.
Now, you may have noticed that a certain 2nd year foreign player was missing from Team World. In fact, you may have noticed that he is the 2nd most famous player to ever come from Wurzburg, Germany. Maxi Kleber has been a nightmare for many opposing teams this season, proving to be a great finisher, a solid shooter and a top-notch defender around the league.
Maxi’s snub is not altogether surprising to most of us. Although we have seen the amazing things that he can do on the court, there are still few that recognize how effective he is when he gets minutes. His defense puts some fun highlights on the internet that have helped get his name out there, but not many understand how much he actually brings to the team.
Aside from Kleber, Dennis Smith Jr. was also left off the Team U.S.A. roster for guys like Lonzo Ball and Trae Young. DSJ may have lost his chance at the game just simply by the number of games he has missed, but he definitely had a case for a member of the team. His triple-double last night was a good indicator of the effect he is capable of having on a game.
There was no way the Mavericks were going to get three participants in this game to go with Luka, Dirk Nowitzki and DSJ already participating in other areas of All-Star weekend, but it does feel like Maxi was a snub from this Rising Stars game. Then again, now the Mavs get to keep him as their little secret for another little while.
The Dallas Mavericks will have Luka playing in the game and likely as the centerpiece of Team World. To tune in for the game between the youngsters around the world, the game will be televised on TNT on Friday, February 15th at 8:00 central time. Be ready to cheer on the rookie phenom, Luka.