Taking a cue from the NHL’s All-Star Game format, the NBA’s 2022 Rising Stars Challenge features four teams of seven players pit in a two-round format. After a draft, the roster is set. The NBA betting odds have this as a near-even contest as we break down each team’s path to victory.
The NBA has changed the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend into a mini-tournament pic.twitter.com/So1JXvjF52
—Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 25, 2022
4 Teams Each With Distinct Identities
Team Isiah (+225)
- Coach: Isiah Thomas
- Star Players: Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, Desmond Bane
Why They Will Win: Thomas is not messing around with his team. He drafted an all-sophomore squad that has the most potent backcourt with Edwards and Haliburton. On the front end, Bane is a prototypical “3-and-D” type while there is also plenty of muscle with Precious Achiuwa and Isaiah Stewart.
There is nothing this team cannot do and that is why they are the slight favorites on the sportsbook
Team Payton (+250)
- Coach: Gary Payton
- Best Players: LaMelo Ball, Scottie Barnes, Davion Mitchell
Why They Will Win: When everyone zigged, Team Payton zagged. His team isn’t filled with scorers or large players but boasts plenty of speed and physicality much like how Payton was as a player. He also has arguably the best player in Ball, who is the only All-Star in the tournament.
Adding Barnes and G-League Ignite star Scoot Henderson gives the team plenty of versatile players. If this team can outrun everyone else, it may just cash as a bet online.
Rising Stars Challenge Information
- Date: February 18, 2022
- Time: 9 p.m. ET
- Location: Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, Cleveland, OH
- Broadcast: TNT
Team Barry (+250)
- Coach: Rick Barry
- Best Players: Cade Cunningham, Evan Mobley, Franz Wagner
Why They Will Win: “Size matters.” At least, Rick Barry hopes it does as he drafted the biggest team in the tournament. No player on Team Barry is shorter than 6-foot-5. Mobley and Alperen Sengun will form the biggest frontcourt while the likes of Cunningham and Isaac Okoro can outmuscle smaller guards.
But the team’s secret sauce could be the chemistry. Barry drafted teammates together: Mobley and Okoro from Cleveland and Sengun and Jae’Sean Tate from Houston.
Team Worthy (+275)
- Coach: James Worthy
- Best Players: Cole Anthony, Josh Giddey, Jalen Green
Why They Will Win: Last and certainly not least is Worthy’s squad, which features a lot of underrated players like Anthony and Herbert Jones. The latter is a rookie but is already 23-years-old and played four years of college making him the most mature player here. Josh Giddey adds playmaking magic while Green can fill it up in a hurry.
On paper, Worthy’s team is not the greatest. But there are plenty of “dogs” in this team who may just outwork the more talented groups.
Pick: Who Wins?
Team Isiah will play Team Worthy while Team Barry takes on Team Payton in the semi-finals.
As far as the matchups, Team Isiah could be too strong or too prolific offensively for Team Worthy while Team Payton may just be too quick for Team Barry though it’s a toss-up. With Team Isiah in the final, it could just edge out any of the two hence why it’s the rightful favorite and our NBA prediction to win.