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NBA Rising Stars 2022 – Rosters & Snubs

As the month of February tips off and the All-Star Weekend selections are unveiled, it is time to talk about the NBA Rising Stars. Whether official selections or major snubs, we will cover them all!

This season’s Friday Night Rising Stars event has been completely revamped – again! I must say the new format has a lot of potential to enhance the level of competition inside the court, resulting in a lot more fun for the fans outside of it.

The New Tournament Format

The NBA took advantage of an abundance of riches in young talent and expanded the Rising Stars selections to a total of 28 players. This pool is composed by 12 rookies, 12 sophomores and an exciting new twist of 4 G-League Ignite players!

These 28 players were drafted onto 4 teams, which will play a 3-game mini-tournament. The Semi-Finals games will be played until a team scores 50 points. The winners will face-off in the Final Game, which will end as the first team scores 25 points. The sum of points scored in the tournament by the Champion is 75 – alluding to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Season.

The celebration does not end with the final score. The teams will be coached by NBA Legends, members of the 75th Anniversary Team: Rick Barry, Isiah Thomas, Gary Payton and James Worthy.

The Rosters

As it is the case in most honors given these days in the NBA, there were far more deserving candidates than roster spots – even with the above mentioned expansion.

Before we dig into the Snubs, let’s see per category the ones who will actually play.

Below we break down each player category – G-League Ignite, Rookies and Sophomores – into subcategories Locks and Bubble selections, the latter which we will use in our Snubs Section.

In Locks are all the players that have proven with their game that they undoubtedly deserve a slot on the roster.

Bubble players are the ones who were selected, but will be compared to their counterparts on the Snubs Section, due to a less than stellar statistical case.

G-League Ignite

The locks
Jaden Hardy
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 17.7 points – 4.6 rebounds – 3.2 assists – 1.2 steals – 0.3 blocks – 3.5 turnovers
  • Top Categories Team Rank: leads the team in Points Per Game – 3rd in Assists per Game

MarJon Beauchamp
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 15.1 points – 7.3 rebounds – 2.5 assists – 1.5 steals – 0.6 blocks – 2.2 turnovers
  • Top Categories Team Rank: 2nd in the team in Points, Total Rebounds & Steals per Game

The bubble
Dyson Daniels
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 11.3 points – 6.2 rebounds – 4.4 assists – 1.9 steals – 0.7 blocks – 2.4 turnovers
  • Top Categories Team Rank: leads the team in Assists & Steals per Game – 3rd in Rebounds per Game

Scoota Henderson

  • Traditional Stats (per game): 14.0 points – 4.9 rebounds – 3.6 assists – 1.6 steals – 0.1 blocks – 2.5 turnovers
  • Top Categories Team Rank: 2nd in the team in Assists & Steals per Game

Rookies

The locks
Alperen Sengun
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 8.8 points – 4.6 rebounds – 2.4 assists – 0.8 steals – 0.9 blocks – 2.0 turnovers
  • Top Categories Rookie Rank: Top 10 in categories
    • 3rd in PER & DBPM – 5th in VORP & BPM – 8th in TS%, Rebounds & Assists per Game – 10th in Win Shares

Ayo Dosunmu
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 7.9 points – 2.6 rebounds – 2.7 assists – 0.6 steals – 0.4 blocks – 1.2 turnovers
  • Top Categories Rookie Rank: Top 10 in categories
    • leads in True Shooting % (as a guard!!) – 5th in Win Shares – 9th in Assists per Game – 10th in BPM, DBPM, Win Shares per 48 & Defensive Win Shares

Cade Cunningham
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 15.8 points – 5.5 rebounds – 5.2 assists – 1.3 steals – 0.7 blocks – 3.5 turnovers
  • Top Categories Rookie Rank: Top 10 in categories
    • 2nd in Points & Assists per Game – 5th in Win Shares – 6th in Rebounds per Game – 10th in VORP

Evan Mobley
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 15.0 points – 8.2 rebounds – 2.6 assists – 0.8 steals – 1.6 blocks – 2.0 turnovers
  • Top Categories Rookie Rank: Top 10 in 10 categories
    • Leads in Rebounds per Game, VORP, BPM, DBPM, Win Shares & Defensive Win Shares – 3rd in Points per Game – 4th in PER & Win Shares per 48 – 7th in Assists per Game

Franz Wagner
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 15.8 points – 4.6 rebounds – 2.9 assists – 0.9 steals – 0.5 blocks – 1.7 turnovers
  • Top Categories Rookie Rank: Top 10 in categories
    • Leads in Points per Game – 3rd in VORP – 4th in Win Shares – 6h in PER, Defensive Win Shares & Assists per Game – 7th in Rebounds per Game – 8th in BPM

Herbert Jones
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 9.6 points – 3.8 rebounds – 2.0 assists – 1.5 steals – 0.9 blocks – 1.1 turnovers
  • Top Categories Rookie Rank: Top 10 in categories
    • 2nd in DBPM – 3rd in Win Shares – 4th in Defensive Win Shares – 6th in BPM & Win Shares per 48 – 7th in True Shooting % – 10th in Points & Rebounds per Game

Josh Giddey
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 11.8 points – 7.6 rebounds – 6.1 assists – 1.0 steals – 0.4 blocks – 3.0 turnovers
  • Top Categories Rookie Rank: Top 10 in categories
    • Leads in Assists per Game – 2nd in Defensive Win Shares – 3rd in Rebounds per Game – 6th in VORP – 7th in DBPM – 8th in Points per Game – 9th in BPM – 10th in PER

Scottie Barnes
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 14.7 points – 7.8 rebounds – 3.4 assists – 1.0 steals – 0.9 blocks – 2.0 turnovers
  • Top Categories Rookie Rank: Top 10 in 10 categories
    • 2nd in VORP, Win Shares & Rebounds per Game – 3rd in Defensive Win Shares – 4th in BPM, Points & Assists per Game – 5th in PER & Win Shares per 48 – 8th in DBPM

The bubble
Chris Duarte
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 13.1 points – 4.2 rebounds – 2.2 assists – 1.1 steals – 0.2 blocks – 1.6 turnovers
  • Top Categories Rookie Rank: Top 10 in categories
    • 6th in Points per Game – 9th Rebounds per Game & Defensive Win Shares

Davion Mitchell
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 10.1 points – 2.3 rebounds – 3.4 assists – 0.7 steals – 0.3 blocks – 1.1 turnovers
  • Top Categories Rookie Rank: Top 10 in categories
    • 5h in Assists per Game – 9th in Points per Game

Jalen Green
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 14.3 points – 3.4 rebounds – 2.3 assists – 0.5 steals – 0.2 blocks – 2.3 turnovers
  • Top Categories Rookie Rank: Top 10 in categories
    • 5th in Points per Game – 10th in Assists per Game

Jalen Suggs
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 12.3 points – 3.7 rebounds – 4.2 assists – 1.2 steals – 0.4 blocks – 3.2 turnovers
  • Top Categories Rookie Rank: Top 10 in categories
    • 3rd Assists per Game – 7th in Points per Game

Sophomores

The locks
Anthony Edwards
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 22.3 points – 5.0 rebounds – 3.6 assists – 1.5 steals – 0.7 blocks – 2.9 turnovers
  • Top Categories Sophomore Rank: Top 10 in categories
    • Leads in Points per Game – 2nd in Defensive Win Shares – 3rd in VORP & BPM – 4th in PER – 5 in Win Shares – 6th in Rebounds & Assists per Game

Cole Anthony
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 17.8 points – 5.9 rebounds – 6.1 assists – 0.9 steals – 0.3 blocks – 2.7 turnovers
  • Top Categories Sophomore Rank: Top 10 in categories
    • 3rd in Assists per Game – 4th in Points & Rebounds per Game – 8th in VORP

Desmond Bane
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 18.0 points – 4.4 rebounds – 2.4 assists – 1.1 steals – 0.5 blocks – 1.5 turnovers
  • Top Categories Sophomore Rank: Top 10 in categories
    • Leads in Win Shares & Defensive Win Shares – 3rd in Points per Game – 4th in BPM & DBPM – 5th in PER & Win Shares per 48 – 7th in True Shooting % – 10th in Rebounds per Game

Isaac Okoro
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 9.2 points – 3.2 rebounds – 1.9 assists – 0.8 steals – 0.3 blocks – 1.1 turnovers
  • Top Categories Sophomore Rank: Top 10 in categories
    • 5th in Defensive Win Shares – 8th in Win Shares – 10th in DBPM

Jae’Sean Tate
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 12.3 points – 5.6 rebounds – 3.1 assists – 1.0 steals – 0.6 blocks – 1.8 turnovers
  • Top Categories Sophomore Rank: Top 10 in categories
    • 6th in Rebounds per Game – 7th in Win Shares – 8th in Points & Assists per Game – 9th in PER & VORP – 10th in True Shooting %

LaMelo Ball
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 19.8 points – 7.2 rebounds – 7.6 assists – 1.5 steals – 0.4 blocks – 3.1 turnovers
  • Top Categories Sophomore Rank: Top 10 in categories
    • Leads in PER, VORP, BPM & Assists per Game – 2nd in Points per Game – 3rd in Defensive Win Shares & Rebounds per Game – 4th in Win Shares – 6th in Win Shares per 48

Saddiq Bey
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 15.6 points – 5.8 rebounds – 2.7 assists – 0.9 steals – 0.2 blocks – 1.3 turnovers
  • Top Categories Sophomore Rank: Top 10 in categories
    • 5th in Rebounds per Game – 6th in Points per Game – 10th in Assists per Game

Tyrese Haliburton
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 14.3 points – 3.9 rebounds – 7.2 assists – 1.7 steals – 0.7 blocks – 2.2 turnovers
  • Top Categories Sophomore Rank: Top 10 in categories
    • 2nd in VORP, BPM, Win Shares & Assists per Game – 3rd in PER – 7th in Points per Game – 8th in Win Shares per 48 & True Shooting %

Tyrese Maxey
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 16.9 points – 3.5 rebounds – 4.8 assists – 0.6 steals – 0.6 blocks – 1.2 turnovers
  • Top Categories Sophomore Rank: Top 10 in categories
    • 3rd in Win Shares – 4th in Assists per Game – 5th in VORP & Points per Game – 7th in BPM, Win Shares per 48 & Win Shares – 8th in PER

The bubble
Isaiah Stewart
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 7.9 points – 8.3 rebounds – 1.1 assists – 0.3 steals – 1.1 blocks – 1.3 turnovers
  • Top Categories Sophomore Rank: Top 10 in category
    • Leads in Rebounds per Game

Jaden McDaniels
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 8.3 points – 4.3 rebounds – 1.2 assists – 0.8 steals – 0.7 blocks – 1.1 turnovers
  • Top Categories Sophomore Rank: Top 10 in category
    • 10th in Defensive Win Shares

Precious Achiuwa
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 7.8 points – 7.2 rebounds – 1.2 assists – 0.5 steals – 0.6 blocks – 1.0 turnovers
  • Top Categories Sophomore Rank: Top 10 in categories
    • 2nd in Rebounds per Game

Overall a very solid list, but there is definitely room for improvement.

The Snubs

In this section we will go through the main players who might have a case for feeling snubbed from the official selection list.

G-league ignite
Michael Foster
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 14.8 points – 8.7 rebounds – 2.0 assists – 0.8 steals – 1.9 blocks – 2.2 turnovers
  • Top Categories Team Rank: 1st in Rebounds per Game – 2nd in PER – 3rd in Points per Game

Rookies
Jonathan Kuminga
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 7.0 points – 2.6 rebounds – 0.5 assists – 0.4 steals – 0.2 blocks – 0.9 turnovers
  • Top Categories Rookie Rank: Top 10 in categories
    • 7th in Win Shares per 48 – 8th in PER – 10th True Shooting %

Omer Yurtseven
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 6.2 points – 6.2 rebounds – 1.1 assists – 0.4 steals – 0.5 blocks – 0.9 turnovers
  • Top Categories Rookie Rank: Top 10 in categories
    • Leads in PER & Win Shares per 48 – 4th in Rebounds per Game – 5th in DBPM – 6th Win Shares – 7th in BPM – 8th in VORP & Defensive Win Shares

Sophomores
Chuma Okeke
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 8.0 points – 4.5 rebounds – 1.5 assists – 1.4 steals – 0.5 blocks – 0.8 turnovers
  • Top Categories Sophomore Rank: Top 10 in categories
    • 2nd in DBPM – 4th in Defensive Win Shares – 9th in BPM & Rebounds per Game

Jordan Nwora
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 8.2 points – 3.8 rebounds – 1.0 assists – 0.5 steals – 0.3 blocks – 1.0 turnovers
  • Top Categories Sophomore Rank: Top 10 in categories

Onyeka Okongwu
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 9.0 points – 6.1 rebounds – 1.1 assists – 0.6 steals – 1.5 blocks – 1.2 turnovers
  • Top Categories Sophomore Rank: Top 10 in categories (due to not qualifying in number of games played)

Zeke Nnaji
  • Traditional Stats (per game): 6.6 points – 3.7 rebounds – 0.4 assists – 0.3 steals – 0.3 blocks – 0.5 turnovers
  • Top Categories Sophomore Rank: Top 10 in categories
    • Leads in Win Shares per 48 – 2nd in True Shooting – 10th in PER

Conclusion

As previously stated, the official list looks good and passes the overall eye test. Even so, each of the selection categories had at least one glaring mistake.

Often times people argue for the inclusion of other players in lists, but hardly ever tell you who should come out.

Below we will not only advocate for the inclusion of snubs in each category, but also provide context on who should be replaced.

Find out who made the AfroBallers’ cut!

G-league ignite

Michael Foster beats Scoota Henderson in 3 of the 5 major categories (points, rebounds and blocks per game), while also averaging less turnovers per contest. Advanced metrics also like Foster, as he is the second leading in PER within the team.

Foster’s case over Henderson makes sense as far as their current season production is concerned. Scoota’s Draft buzz probably made him the best choice for the league, as he is currently projected to be the no. 2 overall pick, per ESPN.

I would still reward the better player right now with the slot, therefore our first change to the selected roster is Foster over Henderson.

Rookies

This was a tougher one to properly compare players due to a big difference in playing time between the Bubble and Snubs groups.

Bubble guys averaged twice as much minutes per game than Snubs. That gave players in the Bubble better per game stats, but helped Snubs dominate the advanced metrics.

To equalize it, I decided to use a Per 36 Minutes comparison for the 6 players:

Provided by Basketball Reference.

Omer Yurtseven and Jonathan Kuminga clearly outplay their competition Per 36 Minutes. The fact is: when given more minutes they delivered with big performances.

Omer played 25 minutes or more 10 times this season. In those, his averages were 12 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 0.4 blocks and 2 turnovers, shooting 50% from the field.

In Kuminga’s 6 games playing at least 25 minutes he averaged 20 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block and 3 turnovers, shooting 61% from the field.

The 16 total games in which the snubbed players were given similar playing time to the bubble pool, they proved the Per 36 minutes simulation is actually an accurate projection of how they perform with more playing time.

The Jalens are more recognized names and Green in particular is a walking highlight reel, therefore they would always get the benefit of the doubt in the official selection process. They also are the least statistically impressive players on the pool.

Kuminga and Yurtseven dominate in advanced metrics and in traditional stats – when equalizing playing time. They also are important rotation players for title contending teams, which is unusual for rookies.

In conclusion, both Omer and Kuminga were indeed snubbed and the ones which they should replace are Green and Suggs.

Sophomores

The AfroBallers made an impact as sophomores this season! There were 3 African born (or first generation) among the 12 official selections and another 4 players in the Snubs pool.

Maintaining the same comparing criteria used with the Rookies, all 4 snubbed players have a case versus 1 of the Bubble guys.

Provided by Basketball Reference.

Onyeka Okongwu has – by a healthy margin – the best statistical case. He literally is Top 3 within this group in all major categories (FG%, TRB, AST, STL, BLK, PTS). The one thing against him is the number of games played – 20 out of a possible 52 games his team has played. This is the reason he does not appear on our rookies Top 10 ranks – mentioned in each player analysis in the above sections – as he did not qualify due to lack of games played (minimum of 30).

Precious Achiuwa and Isaiah Stewart are the safe players in the Bubble. They are the best rebounders in the group and trail only Okongwu in blocked shots. The Per 36 projection suggests both would be averaging a double-double, if given starter level minutes.

Zeke Nnaji, Jordan Nwora and Chuma Okeke all present solid cases, albeit in much different styles.

Nnaji is an aggressive slashing forward with great efficiency – second among all sophomores in True Shooting %, with the lowest amount of turnovers per 36 minutes in this group.

Nwora is a scoring guard whose nearly 40% 3 point accuracy this season has helped the Bucks in weathering the injury absences of Holiday and Middleton.

Okeke is an undersized PF who overcomes his height shortcomings with hustle plays and defense.

Zeke averaged 12 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 0.7 steals, 1 block and 1 turnover, shooting 57% from the field this season on the 3 games he played over  25 minutes. The small sample size is in line with the per 36 projections, which to me suffice to prove his case.

Onyeka might be excluded for some people, due to playing less than half of his team’s games, but if you only care about what he did when he was on the court, he is the best choice.

Whichever way you look at it, out of the 3 possible available slots (number of Bubble players), 2 of those should go to AfroBallers. With Achiuwa and Stewart locked in the roster, McDaniels should be replaced by either Okongwu or Nnaji.

 

The Rising Stars Tournament will be held on Friday, February 18th with a 9 p.m. ET tipoff.

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