The NBA is implementing a new format for Rising Stars at All-Star Weekend.
Instead of one game between the brightest young stars of the game, it will a mini-tournament between four teams of seven players.
The four teams of seven players will come from a pool of 28 players in total.
These 28 players will be comprised of 12 NBA rookies, 12 NBA sophomores, and four NBA G-League Ignite players.
Sources: The NBA has a new format for Rising Stars at All-Star Weekend, featuring four seven-player teams competing in a three-game tournament and each game having final target score.
28 players: 12 rookies, 12 sophomores – and for the first time, four G League Ignite players.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 25, 2022
NBA assistant coaches will choose the 24 rookies and sophomores from the NBA while G-League head coaches will choose the four G-League Ignite players.
Each team will be drafted and coached by a member of the NBA 75 Team and assistant coaches from the 2022 NBA All-Star Game.
The coaches and the draft details will come later.
There will be three games in the tournament as well as a “Clutch Challenge” that will take place between the second and third games.
Games one and two will be played to a target score of 50 while game three will have a target score of 25.
To go along with the theme of the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Season, the winning team of the tournament will have scored 75 total points.
The “Clutch Challenge” will be a timed shooting competition between eight NBA and NBA G-League Ignite players broken up into four teams of two.
Each team will share one ball and alternate shots, trying to make five shots from different spots on the court that coincide with iconic NBA playoff moments.
Just like what the NBA did with the All-Star Game a few years back, they are trying something new to inject more life into All-Star Weekend.
All-Star Weekend Can Showcase G-League Talent
Maybe the biggest wrinkle in the new Rising Stars format is that it will feature players from the G-League Ignite team.
The NBA G-League Ignite is a developmental basketball team that was founded in 2020.
It plays exhibition games outside of the traditional G-League schedule and is part of a one-year development program for elite NBA prospects.
Ignite is offered as an alternative to college, allowing prospects to make up to $500,000 while preparing for the NBA Draft.
Green (No. 2), Kuminga (No. 7), and Todd (No. 31) were all first-round picks in the 2021 NBA Draft.
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) January 22, 2022
They are joined by other four- and five-star recruits such as MarJon Beauchamp, Dyson Daniels, Scoot Henderson, and Fanbo Zeng.
Allowing four Ignite players to play in the Rising Stars Challenge will let the public be able to see the next wave of NBA stars before they get drafted.
Instead of waiting until Summer League, everybody can watch the top prospects in the upcoming draft duel against the top rookie and sophomore players in the NBA.
It should not only drum up more excitement for the Rising Stars Challenge but also potentially for the NBA Draft next year.
Especially if one of the Ignite players has a sensational performance in the Rising Stars Tournament.
Old Rising Stars Format Was Boring
One of the reasons the NBA decided to shake things up for the Rising Stars portion of All-Star Weekend was the lack of competition.
Similar to what had happened with the All-Star Game, there was just no intensity or competitiveness in the game.
Players had no incentive to try and win, so the game lacked the excitement that fans were used to.
Prior to last season’s game getting canceled, the Rising Stars Challenge featured scores of 151-131, 161-144, 155-124, and 150-141.
Sure, there were highlight-reel plays left and right.
But with no one caring who won or lost, there was no incentive for fans to tune in.
This new format should change that.
Whether or not there are financial incentives tied to winning the tournament or “Clutch Challenge”, guys should still take it more seriously than in the past.
Having a set score to play to will allow for all the alley-oops and deep threes that fans love to watch to still happen in the beginning.
But once the target score gets closer, players should lock-in and up the magnitude of the game.
I like that the NBA is including G-League players in the Rising Stars Challenge this year. Gives those players more exposure and the league overall.
— Matthew Cardenas (@Matt__Card) January 25, 2022
Especially the Ignite players who may feel this is a chance to better their draft stock.
The new format brings a welcome change to the Rising Stars Challenge.
It should bring added excitement and allow fans an early look at the next wave of NBA stars.NEXT: NBA World Remembers Kobe Bryant On Anniversary Of His Death