The NBA announced the participants in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star Weekend — previously the Rookie-Sophomore game, before it was re-branded — and the Chicago Bulls’ Jimmy Butler is not among them.
Now, on general principle, I feel I should be mad about this. I love Jimmy and he’s been playing as well as anybody over the past few weeks. He absolutely deserves a spot in the game. Including the game where Luol Deng got hurt — January 18th against Boston — Jimmy has scored in double-figures in six of his last seven games.
On the other hand, the rookie-sophomore game — or challenge or whatever — is typically a basketball game in only the loosest sense. Defense is optional at best and non-existent at worst. It’s entertaining, I guess, if you’re into that sort of thing, but I can’t say I’m particularly devastated by Jimmy’s non-inclusion. I’m actually slightly pleased, since now I don’t have to watch it.
UPDATE: Jimmy Butler was asked about how he felt about being left out of the Rising Stars Challenge before last night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. Per ESPNChicago’s Nick Friedell, Butler wasn’t worried about it.
“I let it fall off,” Butler said before Wednesday night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks. “I don’t look at things like that because I feel like that’s more of an individual thing. Kudos to those guys because they’re great players and they’re really talented, but I love this team and I want to play along with these guys. And I’ll do whatever it takes for this team to win. I’m a competitor; would I have (liked) to compete in that game? Of course. But I’m a Bulls player to tell you the truth.”
Jimmy’s not the type of guy to raise a stink over something like this. I’m sure he would have liked to play in Houston, near where he grew up, but at the same time, it’s hardly the end of the world. He’ll play in Houston again as a member of the Bulls.
Full BBVA Rising Stars List:
Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Hornets
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Bobcats
Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazers
Alexy Shved, Minnesota Timberwolves
Dion Waiters, Cleveland Cavaliers
Tyler Zeller, Cleveland Cavaliers
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
Kemba Walker, Charlotte Bobcats