The festivities have officially kicked and all star weekend 2019 in Charlotte is upon us. Even though no Utah Jazz players ended up in the main event on Sunday evening, it’s still fun to see Donovan Mitchell in a game like the rising stars challenge tonight. Donovan finished with 20 points 7 Rebs and 9 assists and a game high +23 for team USA.
For an exhibition game, the rising stars challenge is almost as intriguing as the actual all-star game for the simple reason that there are a lot of budding stars on the court who are trying to prove something and they’re young in the NBA so they aren’t trying to preserve their energy for anything in particular. One such player tonight was Kyle Kuzma, who it seems has the competitive fire to play for a very long time in this league.
Kuzma led all scorers tonight with 35 points and took home MVP honors saying, “I played last year and was lackadaisical……so I didn’t want to do that again”. Although the game was close at several points in the second half, team USA took a lead in the first quarter that they would never relinquish thanks to strong games from Kyle Kuzma, Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell.
This game, like the all-star game, is for bragging rights mostly(the winning team players get a $25,000 bonus too). But it was still refreshing to see a game where it’s lighthearted on one hand and the players also care enough to make it a little bit competitive. Now the only question that remains is how long before we get to see many of these players in the actual all-star game in the coming years?