As we said more than a month ago, this year’s Rising Stars challenge will feature a draft from a pool of rookies and sophomores. And just like I predicted, Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley are the GMs who will be picking the two teams. The pool of draft eligible players was released today, which means we finally have a chance to break down the most likely scenarios for the upcoming draft.

We’ll assume Barkley gets the first pick because he’s been on “Inside the NBA” longer and that the draft will proceed in a serpentine fashion.

  1. Barkley — Blake Griffin: Not only is Griffin the best player available, he’s also one of the guys that Charles has definitely heard of.
  2. Shaq — Ricky Rubio: The most fun name to say, for sure, so a definite O’Neal target.
  3. Shaq — DeMarcus Cousins: Shaq has a soft spot for big guys who look kind of chubby.
  4. Barkley — John Wall: Another guy who Charles Barkley probably knows.
  5. Barkley — Greg Monroe: He’s tall, so OK.
  6. Shaq — Gordon Hayward: A versatile scorer who Shaq thinks would look funny when he makes them dance.
  7. Shaq — Kyrie Irving: Doesn’t fill a need for Team Shaq, but it will allow the GM to wiggle his eyebrows like he found an uncovered gem.
  8. Barkley — Landry Fields: He starts for the Knicks, so he must be good, right?
  9. Barkley — Evan Turner: “No seriously Kenny, he’s been better this year.”
  10. Shaq — Kemba Walker: Shaq remembers he won a National Championship in college, so takes him because “I only care about winning.”
  11. Shaq — Derrick Williams: Just so he can yell “RUBIOOOOO!” again.
  12. Barkley — Brandon Knight: Charles doesn’t know much about him, but it says PG next to his name so whatever.
  13. Barkley — Paul George: Big-time slip for the Pacers wingman, mostly because the two GMs accidentally skipped over his name
  14. Shaq — Kawhi Leonard: The steal of the draft, and another prime eyebrow-wiggling moment for The Big Picker.
  15. Shaq — Tristan Thompson: Once again, rather than analyzing the pick, Shaq just wiggles his eyebrows.
  16. Barkley — MarShon Brooks: “Whoever that guy is.”
  17. Barkley — Markieff Morris: Charles calls him “Markeith” but everyone knows who he’s talking about and kind of expected it, really.
  18. Shaq — Tiago Splitter: He’s the non-famous foreign player, so this is destiny.

I’m not saying this is how the draft is going to shake out, but this is what the insiders are telling me. Stay tuned to this space for important updates as information changes.

Comments (16)

  1. Barkley — Evan Turner: “No seriously Kenny, he’s been better this year.”

    Haha, this one was funny.

  2. We could sell some merchandise if we change the name of Barkley’s team to “Team Turrible.” I’d buy that t-shirt.

  3. I kind of like this draft idea, but I am going to miss the actual rookies playing against the sophmores.

    I’d love to see a legends pickup game like what the NHL does though. See some of the retired guys come back and play a quick game for fun.

    • And yes, I know they somewhat do that in the celebrity game, but I mean a game of JUST the retired NBA guys.

  4. Question. So there is no “rookie” team or “sophmore” team? It’s mixed now?

  5. shouldn’t i be in this game? wouldn’t that be great?

    • I have a broken toe, right? People? People?

      And speaking on behalf of players who have had a broken foot: Why was Omer Asik left off the list when Tristain Thompson and Kawhi Leonard made the cut?

  6. I want to see Shaq draft Cousins last and have him meltdown and refuse to play.

  7. jeremy lin>>john wall

  8. no jimmer? He would be entertaining with no defense.

  9. Kawhi Leonard > Omer Asik > Tristan Thompson… Also, Asik is a sophomore and the other 2nd year bigs are Griffin, Cousins, Monroe, and Splitter. Hard to take him over the others, especially when he only plays 16 mpg.

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