NBA All-Star 2018: Three takeaways from NBA Rising Stars Challenge

By Thomas Lott 17 February 2018 633
NBA All-Star 2018: Three takeaways from NBA Rising Stars Challenge

The World team took home its fourth straight Rising Stars Challenge with a 155-124 victory over the U.S. Friday in Los Angeles.

The World team won the event by getting the 3-point competition a day early.

Kings guard and Game MVP Bogdan Bogdanovic led all players with seven 3-pointers made and the World team knocked down 23 treys in the game.

It was impressive, but not nearly as impressive as what Philadelphia's Ben Simmons did.

1. Ben Simmons nearly had another triple-double

It's only fitting that the man who is one triple-double shy of tying Magic Johnson for second all-time with seven triple-doubles in a rookie season nearly accomplished the feat in the Rising Stars Challenge.

Simmons had 11 points, six rebounds and 13 assists in the win and made the World team look like a well-oiled machine rather than an assortment of All-Stars. 

The 20-year-old will surely match Johnson with his seventh triple-double at some point this season, but he will not set the record for the most as a rookie. That record will likely forever stand as Oscar Robertson had 26 in 1960-1961.

2. Donovan Mitchell, Dennis Smith Jr. warm up for dunk contest

Everyone's favorite NBA All-Star Weekend competition is set to begin Saturday, but Donovan Mitchell and Dennis Smith Jr. had some work to do Friday. The two rookies showed off their aerial prowess with massive dunks in the first half. 

Mitchell got things started with a massive alley-oop to himself in the first quarter.

Not to be outdone, Smith Jr. got in on the part on a long pass from Mitchell in the second quarter.

Saturday should be fun.

3. Jaylen Brown's development can't go unnoticed

Brown was a key part of the Celtics attack in the postseason last year, but he was clearly out there for energy and wasn't expected to truly produce offensively. He still had a lot of work to do both in the offense and with his shooting.

He has made leaps and bounds this season in both areas though and it was unmistakable Friday. Brown finished with a game-high 35 points with 10 rebounds. He also went 3 for 8 from 3-point range. He is shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc this year, up a good bit from last season, while taking three more per game. Brad Stevens has done a great job with the youngster and the sky appears to be the limit on his potential.

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Thomas Lott

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