Kawhi Leonard Selected for 2013 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge Roster Pool
SAN ANTONIO – The NBA announced today that Spurs second-year forward Kawhi Leonard has been named as one of the 18 players selected to participate in the 2013 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge to be held on Friday, Feb. 15, in Houston during NBA All-Star 2013.
Joining Leonard from the Sophomore class are: Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets), Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), Brandon Knight (Detroit Pistons), Chandler Parsons (Houston Rockets), Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland Cavaliers), Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic), and Kemba Walker (Charlotte Bobcats).
Leonard has seen his numbers increase in scoring, steals and assists from his rookie season. Through 28 games, he is averaging 9.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.82 steals in 28.5 minutes while shooting .480 (95-198) from the field, .379 (33-87) from three-point range and .865 (32-37) from the foul line. This season he has scored in double figures 13 times. Leonard has grabbed two-or-more steals in 14 games, matching his career-high of 5 steals on three occasions.
Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Hornets and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers lead a group of rookies that includes Harrison Barnes (Warriors), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards), Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Bobcats), Alexey Shved (Minnesota Timberwolves), Dion Waiters (Cavaliers), and Tyler Zeller (Cavaliers).
This marks the second straight year rookies and sophomores will be mixed together on teams. The BBVA Rising Stars Challenge Draft is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 7, televised exclusively on TNT at 7 p.m. ET. TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal will again serve as the general managers of TEAM CHUCK and TEAM SHAQ. Last year in Orlando, Irving netted a game-high 34 points and MVP honors as he led TEAM CHUCK over TEAM SHAQ 146-133.
Following the announcement of each team on Feb. 7, for the first time ever fans will be able to vote online from both their computer and mobile device for the starters of each team. The starting lineups will be determined by the players garnering the top votes for their respective positions, with two backcourt and three frontcourt spots for each team. The announcement of the starting lineup will be made in broadcast and in-arena on the night of the game.
The head coaches for both teams will be the lead assistant coaches from the 2013 NBA All-Star Game coaching staffs. The East and West coaching staffs will be determined by the best record in each conference through games played Feb. 3. The Chicago Bulls’ and Oklahoma City’s staffs, by virtue of having helmed the sidelines of the 2012 All-Star game, are not eligible to coach this year’s game.
A limited number of tickets to the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge are now available. Fans can visit rockets.com or NBA.com/allstar2013 to purchase.
NBA All-Star brings together the top NBA players and performers for a week of competition, community service and world-class entertainment. Among the many other exciting All-Star events is the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night featuring Sears Shooting Stars, Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, and Sprite Slam Dunk. Other events at NBA All-Star 2013 include the Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and NBA All-Star Jam Session.