At least those lack of touches won’t hold Bojan Bogdanovic back from the Rising Stars Challenge. The NBA announced today that the rookie Bogdanovic will join second-year Nets center Mason Plumlee as the lone Brooklyn-based participants in All-Star weekend, as the two will go head-to-head in the newly formatted Rising Stars challenge, sponsored by BBVA Compass.
The contest, which used to pit rookies against sophomores, now pits a mixture of the two in a U.S.A. vs. World format. Plumlee, who also played on the U.S. Men’s National Basketball Team this summer, will represent America, while the Croatian-born Bogdanovic will play for the world squad.
Plumlee has improved on a decent rookie season and entered the starting lineup after a slow start, averaging 10.4 points and 6.7 rebounds in 22.7 minutes per game, with averages of 14.8 points and 8.3 rebounds on 68.3 percent shooting since December 12th. He’s also set to participate in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
The rookie Bogdanovic started the season in the starting lineup, but fell out of favor with coach Lionel Hollins, getting pushed to the bench in favor of Sergey Karasev on December 10th, returning to the starting lineup one month later. He holds averages of 7.4 points and 2.5 rebounds per game, shooting 41.2 percent from the field and 29.9 percent from three-point range.
Plumlee will play in the Rising Stars challenge for the second straight season, joining Brook Lopez and Kenyon Martin as the only other Nets to play in the game in both their rookie and sophomore years.
Plumlee is joined on the U.S.A. team by Jazz guard Trey Burke, Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, 76ers guard Michael Carter-Williams, Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine, Timberwolves forward Shabazz Muhammad, 76ers center Nerlens Noel, Magic guards Victor Oladipo & Elfrid Payton, and Hornets forward Cody Zeller. Bogdanovic will play with Thunder center Steven Adams, Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Timeberwolves center Gorgui Dieng, Jazz guard Dante Exum, Jazz center Rudy Gobert, Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic, Celtics center Kelly Olynyk, Hawks guard Dennis Schroder, and Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins. The U.S.A team is coached by Warriors assistant Alvin Gentry, the World by Hawks assistant Kenny Atkinson.