With all three Europeans in Friday’s NBA Rising Stars game being selected by Grant Hill for his team to go up against Chris Webber’s selection, BiE pays tribute to Giannis Antetokounmpo, Pero Antic, and Jonas Valanciunas.
No need to divide your loyalties this Friday night. If you are European and watching the NBA Rising Stars game, there’s only one possible team to root for. All three Europeans have been selected to play for Team Hill. Here’s a look at all three of them.
Pero Antic – Atlanta Hawks
Season stats: 5.8 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 15.5 MPG
The Macedonian big man was a cult favourite in Europe and nothing has changed since moving to the NBA where, at 31, he is the oldest man in this year’s Rising Stars line-up. Antic started slowly but a few double digit explosions have secured Antic’s place in this game.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – Milwaukee Bucks
Season stats: 7 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.7 APG, 24.2 MPG
Even most of his countrymen were unsure of what the Greek Freak would offer in the NBA. The answer, in a word, is explosiveness. Antetokounmpo has evolved from possible Euro-stash to fundamentally important player in half a season. If he keeps up this pace and performs well at the FIBA World Cup, the Greek Freak has to be favourite for young European player of the year.
Jonas Valanciunas – Toronto Raptors
Season stats: 10.8 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 28 MPG
The Lithuanian big man is on course to make the playoffs in his second season in the NBA, albeit in the dreadfully weakened East. Valanciunas continues to grow, despite still having some vulnerabilities. This game came too soon for Valanciunas in his rookie season but he is more than deserving of his spot this time around.
Here are the full rosters for the NBA Rising Stars game -
Team Webber: Anthony Davis, Michael Carter-Williams, Tim Hardaway Jr, Trey Burke, Jared Sullinger, Mason Plumlee, Victor Oladipo, Steven Adams, Kelly Olynyk.
Team Hill: Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Andre Drummond, Harrison Barnes, Terrence Jones, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jonas Valanciunas, Dion Waiters, Pero Antic, Mason Plumlee.