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Willie Cauley-Stein Left Off Rising Stars Challenge Roster

Kimani Okearah

The NBA announced the participants selected to play in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge this afternoon, and Willie Cauley-Stein was among other eligible Kings that didn’t make the cut.

Scott Howard-Cooper, Via

The rosters released Wednesday in a continuation of the format of the U.S. against the World were selected in a league-wide balloting of assistant coaches. Votes had to include a minimum of four guards, four front-court players and two at either position per side. The teams must also have at least three first-year players and three sophomores.

The U.S. roster consists of Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel (76ers), Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell (Lakers), Rodney Hood (Jazz), Jabari Parker (Bucks), Elfrid Payton (Magic), Marcus Smart(Celtics), Towns and LaVine.

The World roster is Kristaps Porzingis (Knicks), Bojan Bogdanovic (Nets), Clint Capela (Rockets), Mario Hezonja (Magic), Nikola Jokic and Emmanuel Mudiay (Nuggets), Nikola Mirotic (Bulls), Raul Neto (Jazz), Wiggins and Powell.

As Howard-Cooper mentioned, the NBA is using the same format for the Rising Stars Challenge that they used last season, leaving only 10 roster spots available for rookie and sophomore players born in the Unites States.

I don't hate the format in theory, but I am choosing to be selectively salty about it this year because it's a nice little bit of mid-season recognition, and I do believe Willie Cauley-Stein would have had a real case for a spot on that roster under the previous format.

Willie Cauley-Stein has been such an important part of the Kings' success this season. I don't even know how to realistically quantify what he means to this team, because as respectable as his rookie numbers are, they don't do his impact justice. Most importantly, he should like he's doing exactly what he needs to be doing for this roster, despite not being one of just three rookies selected to participate for the United States.

Does this matter? No, not really, but I do want to be a part of the movement that promotes Willie Cauley-Stein as a good basketball player that people should be talking about. If he won't get that recognition from the NBA this year, well, at least I can go to bed with a clear conscious knowing that I did my part. Consider yourself acknowledged, Willie.