The 2019 MTN DEW ICE Rising Stars game will be held on Friday, February 15th at 9 p.m. ET at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
This year’s format will be Team U.S.A versus Team World, marking the fifth straight year the game has been played in this format. Team World has won three out of the previous four installments of this rivalry. Last year, Bogdan Bogdanovic led Team World to a 155-124 win over Team U.S.A. marking the first back to back wins for either teams.
This year’s squads have equally talented lineups and we should have a good exciting game ahead on Friday night. Here are the complete line-ups for both squads:
- Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn Nets
- Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento Kings
- Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers (injured)
- John Collins, Atlanta Hawks
- De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings
- Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies
- Kevin Knox, New York Knicks
- Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers
- Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
- Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
- Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
- OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors
- Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns
- Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento Kings
- Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Los Angeles Clippers
- Rodions Kurucs, Brooklyn Nets
- Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls
- Josh Okogie, Minnesota Timberwolves
- Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers
- Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
As we stated at the top of this article, Team World holds a 3-1 SU lead in their all-time head to head meetings. Team World has won the last two installments of this game and the smallest margin of victory was three points by Team USA in 2016. Team World has won by nine points twice while last year’s 31-point win was the largest winning margin.
Guards and three point shooting have been the key to winning this game for Team World in the last two years as the past two MVP have been guards and both made at least 7 three pointers each in their respective games. The big difference last year was Team World made 12 more three pointers and the big difference the year before was that Team World had 14 more assists. This year could be different as Team USA have the advantage in both departments.
Team USA has the better guard lineup with De’Aaron Fox and Trae Young at the point guard spot then Donovan Mitchell at the starting two-guard position. Mitchell is averaging 22.4 points per game this season while Fox And Young are better three point shooters combined than their Team World counterparts. Sure, Team World still has the reigning MVP Bogdan Bogdanovic but Jamal Murray, who was MVP in 2017 and scored 21 last year is no longer around. Likewise, Kings guard Buddy Hield who also scored 29 points last year for Team World is no longer playing in this game.
When we move to the forward position, only Lauri Markkanen and Doncic (if you consider him a forward) are big time scorers for Team World. When you take a look at Team USA, you have Jayson Tatum, Kyle Kuzma, Marvin Bagley III and Kevin Knox who all can light up the scoreboard. In the middle, Team World has DeAndre Ayton but the Americans counter with John Collins, Jarrett Allen and even Jarren Jackson Jr who all can block shots and dominate the paint in this game.
Team World vs Team USA Odds
Odds from betonline.ag as of 2/15/19
I think that Team USA is the deeper team and their advantage in the guard position are going to be the keys here. Team World lost key players Jamal Murray and Buddy Hield and while their backcourt has the size advantage, Team USA’s guards are quicker and better three point shooters.
I’m picking Team USA to beat Team World in the 2019 MTN DEW ICE Rising Stars Game.
Luka Doncic and Ben Simmons could have easily made cases for themselves to be playing in the big game on Sunday but as it is, both are playing in the “prelims” and both are playing on the same squad. Doncic has dazzled the crowds not only with his basketball skills but his maturity inside the basketball court. At 18, he’s established himself as the new face of the Dallas Mavericks. Similarly, Ben Simmons won last season’s Rookie of the Year with uncanny playmaking ability for a player his size. Except for his lack of an outside shot, Simmons is a complete player who can do it all inside the basketball court. With both players playmakers, expect them to play a big role for Team World and expect both to figure in the race for the MVP.
Odds to win Rising Stars MVP
|Jaren Jackson Jr.||+2000|
|Marvin Bagley III||+2000|
Odds from betonline.ag as of 2/15/19
For Team USA, Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum are the obvious favorites because they are the sophomores who stood out last season. Mitchell took over as the franchise player in Utah while Tatum became a vital cog in Boston. Both have followed up their rookie seasons with equally spectacular sophomore years and given their proven ability to play in the big stage, both are rightfully the favorites to win the MVP in this game.
However, I like Trae Young in this contest because Young doesn’t just score, he can shoot the three ball and pass the rock as well. Remember that the last two MVPs of this game- Bogdan Bogdanovic and Jamal Murray have combined to score 62 points, 17 assists and 16 three pointers. Among all the players in this game, I think Trae Young is closest to the mold as both Doncic and Simmons aren’t as prolific in shooting.
Prediction: Trae Young