The two most important things when it comes to exhibition basketball games are playmakers and athletes. You want guys that will push the tempo and set up their teammates, as well as guys that will finish with authority.

Well, there is no shortage of either in this year's T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam.

On the Sophomore squad, you have playmakers Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Raymond Felton. They will push the ball up the floor and get it to the athletes: Monta Ellis, Danny Granger, Luther Head and David Lee.

The Rookies don't exactly have any walk-it-up guards either. Brandon Roy is the leading candidate to succeed Paul as the Rookie of the Year. He's a very potent offensive player who can get to the rack or stick the mid-range jumper, and he's about as steady a rookie as you will ever see.

Roy's joined in the backcourt by three more talented offensive players: Jordan Farmar of the Lakers, Randy Foye of the Timberwolves and Marcus Williams of the Nets.

On the wings for the rookies will be Rudy Gay and Adam Morrison, two guys that have been a bit inconsistent in their first four months of NBA action. Still, Morrison has a very impressive offensive repetoire and Gay can get up and down the floor as well as anybody in the league.

And let us not forgot the big men, because the rookie bigs may be their strength. Both Andrea Bargnani and Jorge Garbajosa of the Raptors prefer to play on the perimeter, and they can be very dangerous if they got hot. Paul Millsap of the Jazz will do the dirty work. He's got great hands and a nose for the basketball. Rebounds find him.

Up front for the Sophs are a pair of Andrews: Bogut and Bynum. These guys will balance the free-flowing style by getting their work done down low. Bogut's passing ability should particulary benefit Head, who will be spotting up on the perimeter most of the night.

It's fairly easy to say that the Sophomores are the favorites to win their fifth straight Rookie Challenge this year. They have more experience, they're stronger and they've got a few guys that received All-Star consideration in the last few weeks.

But it's just one game, and anything can happen on a given night in the NBA. And the rookie squad has plenty of talent as well.

One thing we know is that it will be fun to watch, because all the ingrediants are there.

T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam Rules
1. Two twenty minute halves.
2. Each team can call one full timeout; however, two mandatory TV timeouts each half (under the 14:00 and 7:00 marks) will be called. Teams will lose their full timeout if they do not call it before the 14:00 (Rookies lose TO) and 7:00 (Sophs lose TO) mark.
3. Each team can call one :20 second timeout per half.
4. Individual fouls will be kept, but a player will not foul out. The penalty will apply after ten team fouls or after the second foul in the final two minutes of each half.
5. In the event of a tie game at the end of regulation, a 2-minute overtime period will be played.
6. Clock will stop after each successful field goal in the last minute of each half.
7. Twenty minute pre-game warm-up.
8. The Sophomores team will be considered the "home" team.
9. An MVP award will be given out at the conclusion of the game.