The Rising Stars Challenge is ultimately a meaningless exhibition game that devolves into showmanship. Who can forget John Wall's many late-game dunks last year, as well as the hilarious (but jerk) move Greg Monroe pulled at the end?
But it's also a coming-out party for young players that haven't been on the national stage very much. That pretty much describes Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal.
After a slow start to the season, Beal fell off the national radar, and his recent play has only been enough to climb himself back to respectability. But if Beal can show out in the Rising Stars Challenge, he immediately jumps back into that discussion. Maybe more folks will notice that Beal has arguably been better than Blazers guard Damian Lillard since January 1.
The problem for Beal, though, is that an all-star game doesn't exactly showcase his strengths. He's not a isolation-heavy, highlight-seeking kind of guy, preferring instead to function within a team setting. You won't see him finishing or throwing alley-oops like Wall did last season. That means that his best shot at showing off in the Rising Stars Challenge is to spot up and hit a ton of three-pointers. It'll help that he'll have a pass-only point guard like Ricky Rubio feeding him, but there's also a good chance Beal slips under the radar as other players make more spectacular plays.
Hopefully, Beal at least shows that he belongs. Otherwise, the only goal is that he doesn't get hurt.
GAME TIME: 9 p.m. EST, TNT.
ALSO WORTH VIEWING: Rising Stars Challenge open practice is at 10:30 a.m. (aka, now) on NBATV.