Blazers G Damian Lillard Named To 2013 Rising Stars Challenge At All-Star Weekend

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Portland Trail Blazers rookie guard Damian Lillard has been selected for the 2013 Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend in Houston.

Portland Trail Blazers rookie guard Damian Lillard has been selected for the 2013 Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend in Houston.

Sophomores: Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets), Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers) Brandon Knight (Detroit Pistons), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs), Chandler Parsons (Houston Rockets), Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland Cavaliers), Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic), and Kemba Walker (Charlotte Bobcats).

Rookies: Harrison Barnes (Warriors), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards), Anthony Davis (New Orleans Hornets), Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Bobcats), Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers),Alexey Shved (Minnesota Timberwolves), Dion Waiters (Cavaliers), and Tyler Zeller (Cavaliers).

More details on the format of the game this year.

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.

Here's the release from the Blazers.

Portland Trail Blazers rookie guard Damian Lillard was selected as a participant in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge game at NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston by a vote of NBA assistant coaches, it was announced today by the league.

Lillard leads all rookies in scoring (18.1 ppg) and assists (6.5 apg) to go with averages of 3.3 rebounds, 1.04 steals and 38.4 minutes in 45 games (all starts).

"It's exciting to be a part of All-Star Weekend, and I appreciate the assistant coaches including me on the roster," said Lillard. "I'm happy to be named to the team and look forward to the experience."

The two-time Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month ranks 18th in the NBA in scoring, 13th in assists, seventh in 3-pointers made (102) and his 21 games of 20-plus points rank 12th among league leaders.

"Damian has been an integral part of our success this season and I'm glad his efforts were recognized by opposing assistant coaches," said Trail Blazers General Manager Neil Olshey.

This year's rookie-sophomore game will feature two teams drafted by TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal, who will serve as the opposing general managers. Each team will have nine-man rosters, consisting of both NBA rookies and sophomores drafted from a pool that was previously selected by the NBA's assistant coaches.

"Damian has been a crowd-pleaser for fans in Portland night in and night out this season," said Trail Blazers President and CEO Chris McGowan. "I'm thrilled that he'll have an opportunity to do it on a global stage at All-Star Weekend."

Lillard's appearance in the game is the 10th by a Trail Blazer, joining rookies Arvydas Sabonis (1996), Kelvin Cato (1998), Alvin Williams (1998), Brandon Roy (2007), Greg Oden (2009) and Rudy Fernandez (2009). Roy (2008), LaMarcus Aldridge (2008) and Wesley Matthews (2011) were voted to the game as sophomores.

The game will tip-off at Houston's Toyota Center on Friday, Feb. 15, at 6 p.m. (Pacific) and will be broadcast live on TNT.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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