The NBA is doing something different than the normal Rookie Challenge at All-Star Weekend in Orlando this year. Instead of teams featuring the best rookies and second-year players facing off, Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley will each be drafting teams from a pool of the top rookies and second-year players.
The NBA announced the pool today. Only one Sacramento King -- DeMarcus Cousins -- was included, leaving rookies Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette on the outside. Nine players from each class were picked; the rookie guards who made it over Zeke and Jimmer were Kyrie Irving, Ricky Rubio, Brandon Knight, Kemba Walker and MarShon Brooks. Kawhi Leonard, Tristan Thompson, Markieff Morris and Derrick Williams also made the cut.
It's really too bad neither of our prominent rookies will make the game (unless there's an injury replacement for the nicked-up Brooks); Cousins, Omri Casspi and Tyreke Evans have been loads of fun in this event. Cousins should be no worse than the No. 4 pick in this game, and would be my pick at No. 2 behind Blake Griffin. See the full pool at SBNation.com.