All-Star Grades: Rising Stars

In the new USA-versus-world format, the league's best young stars took the court at Barclays Center. How did the youngsters fare under the bright lights in Brooklyn?



Trey Burke, Jazz | Grade: B+

Stats: 17 PTS (8-14) | 1 REB | 4 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK

Analysis: A really, really nifty layup highlighted his night. Maybe he can build off this after recently being taken out of the starting lineup in Utah.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Pistons | Grade: C-

Stats: 8 PTS (3-15) | 0 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK

Analysis: A fun player to watch -- even if he missed the majority of his shots. Caldwell-Pope tried to throw an alley-oop pass to himself off the backboard in the second half. It didn't work. He has done a solid job on the wing in Detroit.

Robert Covington, 76ers | Grade: D+

Stats: 2 PTS (1-6) | 3 REB | 1 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK

Analysis: The fact that Covington was even playing in the game was a phenomenal story for a guy who has really paid his dues to get here. Philly is lucky to have a player who provides the type of intangibles he does.

Zach LaVine, Timberwolves | Grade: A+

Stats: 22 PTS (9-11) | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK

Analysis: The 19-year-old stole the show with his crossover dribble and emphatic, one-handed hammer dunk in the first half. LaVine looked like he was having a blast out there, his speed, high motor and explosiveness on full display. Sure, he's been inconsistent in his first season in Minnesota, but his potential seems limitless.

Shabazz Muhammad, Timberwolves | Grade: B

Stats: 10 PTS (4-8) | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK

Analysis: Muhammad did a little of everything -- displaying some really smooth footwork before finishing in the post on one possession. His vast improvement has been quite the pleasant surprise for the young Wolves.

Nerlens Noel, 76ers | Grade: B-

Stats: 4 PTS (2-5) | 4 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 2 BLK

Analysis: In a game with little to no defense, Noel, at least, played some. The mere threat of him protecting the paint caused some of the World players to have second thoughts. Noel is a long, wing-spanned project the Sixers are happy to have.

Victor Oladipo, Magic | Grade: A

Stats: 22 PTS (8-21) | 3 REB | 4 AST | 4 STL | 0 BLK

Analysis: One of the best parts of the game? Watching Oladipo try to break guys down off the dribble. He did a little bit of everything: finish, drain 3-pointers and put together some highlight-reel moments. He's a fast-growing building block for Orlando going forward.

Elfrid Payton, Magic | Grade: C

Stats: 2 PTS (1-1) | 3 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK

Analysis: Payton made a couple nice passes, but otherwise, there wasn't much to remember. If he can figure things out offensively for the Magic in terms of shot-making down the road, he'll be a very nice point guard.

Mason Plumlee, Nets | Grade: A

Stats: 13 PTS (5-7) | 9 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK

Analysis: This type of game is made for Plumlee, who showcased his explosiveness and athleticism with several dunks and a beautiful block in the second half. He even played a little point-center at times. A great showing in front of the home fans.

Cody Zeller, Hornets | Grade: A-

Stats: 12 PTS (6-7) | 4 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK

Analysis: Zeller showed a nice touch, draining some deep jumpers. He willingly ran the floor and finished off a nice alley-oop. All in all, it was a solid showing for the young Hornet.


Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks | Grade: B+

Stats: 12 PTS (4-9) | 10 REB | 5 AST | 4 STL | 2 BLK

Analysis: The Greek Freak didn't get the memo that this was an exhibition. He went all out in this one. Look no further than in the first half, when he chased down Plumlee and fouled him on a fast-break dunk attempt like it was no big deal. The 20-year-old was a little sloppy in this one, but you have to love the effort.

Bojan Bogdanovic, Nets | Grade: A

Stats: 16 PTS (6-10) | 0 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK

Analysis: The hometown hero had himself a game, maybe his best game in the NBA. Too bad it didn't really count. The Brooklyn Net drained 3s from all over the floor and got to the rim. With no rebounds, Bogdanovic had one mission: get buckets.

Matthew Dellavedova, Cavs | Grade: B-

Stats: 4 PTS (2-6) | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK

Analysis: A late add, this wasn't the best night for Dellavedova. Style isn't really his forte and he was ice-cold from downtown, but his passes were extra crisp, so it's OK.

Gorgui Dieng, Timberwolves | Grade: B

Stats: 14 PTS (6-8) | 4 REB | 3 AST | 3 STL | 1 BLK

Analysis: This was a dunkfest, but, oddly enough, Dieng struggled to put them down at times. Not acceptable in a Rising Stars game. He was one of the few players who actually played some defense in this one.

Dante Exum, Jazz | Grade: B-

Stats: 4 PTS (2-4) | 3 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK

Analysis: The Australian point guard showcased his ridiculous handle, but he wasn't able to capitalize on the separation. Just like his rookie season, he was a tad underwhelming in this one. He'll be back next season.

Rudy Gobert, Jazz | Grade: A+

Stats: 18 PTS (7-10) | 12 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 3 BLK

Analysis: He's just not fair. A coast-to-coast dunk from the Stifle Tower? It happened. As expected, the Jazz center, who has a 9-foot-7 standing reach, was a beast around the rim on both ends. Just ask Noel, who got swatted by Gobert so badly that he fell to the floor. Gobert even flashed his handle a bit. Jazz teammate Exum needs to watch his back.

Nikola Mirotic, Bulls | Grade: A-

Stats: 16 PTS (6-9) | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK

Analysis: The Spanish-Montenegrin elder statesman rained from deep, splashing a trio of 3-pointers in the opening minutes to help push the World to an early lead. The 24-year-old was a little misplaced in this game, but he took advantage of the lax defense by nailing outside jumpers.

Kostas Papanikolaou, Rockets | Grade: C

Stats: 2 PTS (1-4) | 3 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK

Analysis: The highlight of his night was when he ambushed a sideline James Harden interview with TNT's Rachel Nichols. Like Mirotic, Papanikolaou is basically a savvy veteran, but he wasn't at his best in this one. The Greek duo flashed its versatility on Friday, but Papanikolaou couldn't get his shot going.

Dennis Schroder, Hawks | Grade: A

Stats: 13 PTS (6-11) | 0 REB | 9 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK

Analysis: He was a magician out there. With Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer in the audience, Schroder cut into the paint and floated some picture-perfect lobs to Gobert. He looked like a young Tony Parker out there, slicing into the lane and laying it up easily.

Andrew Wiggins, Timberwolves | Grade: A+

Stats: 22 PTS (8-11) | 6 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK

Analysis: The rookie of the year favorite put on a show, kissing the sky and flushing down dunks in traffic. He put down a 360-degree dunk on a fast break like it was on a four-foot hoop. No one generated more oohs and ahhs than the Canadian top pick. He dunked six times in all and iced the game with a late and-1.