For the third consecutive year, the Sacramento Kings will have a player in the Rising Stars Challenge — well, sort of.
On Wednesday, the NBA announced that Tyrese Haliburton has been named to the Rising Stars U.S. roster. However, there won’t be an actual Rising Stars Challenge this year because the league is cramming all of its All-Star festivities into one day this year.
Here are the full rosters:
#NBAAllStar @Zionwilliamson of the @PelicansNBA and 2019-20 #KiaROY @JaMorant of the @memgrizz lead the list of 20 players selected by NBA assistant coaches for the 2021 NBA Rising Stars rosters!https://t.co/jDjVYSzHle pic.twitter.com/alUV6kktMF— NBA (@NBA) March 3, 2021
Haliburton, the No. 12 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, is the latest in a long line of Sacramento Kings to be named to the Rising Stars Challenge. Marvin Bagley III, De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic were named to the Rising Stars Challenge last year, and Fox, Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield played in the game in 2018.
Haliburton has averaged 13.2 points per game on 49.4% shooting from the field and 43.3% shooting from behind the arc through 30 games with the Kings. He’s one of two rookies shooting above 40% from 3-point range while averaging at least five 3-point attempts per game. Haliburton has also averaged 5.4 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game. Haliburton is ranked third among rookies in points per game, and second in both assists and steals per game.
As a team, the Kings have been underwhelming (to put it as lightly as possible), but Haliburton has exceeded almost every expectation in his rookie season. He’s not just the future in Sacramento; he’s the present too.
Hopefully by this time next year, things will be safe enough for a full-fledged All-Star Weekend with a Rising Stars Challenge featuring Haliburton and whoever the Kings select with their first-round pick this year. And who knows? Maybe Haliburton can make a bid for the big game on Sunday next year.