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It’s USA vs. World in NBA’s All-Star weekend Rising Stars (rookie/sophomore) game

Phoenix Suns vs Milwaukee Bucks

Phoenix Suns vs Milwaukee Bucks

NBAE/Getty Images

It’s the USA vs. World.

For years the NBA has been looking for ways to bring excitement to the events around the NBA All-Star Game (and the game itself), thing such as the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night. You know, the one everybody still calls the rookie/sophomore game.

That’s where the USA vs. World idea comes in.

This year the NBA’s best rookies and sophomores will be divided into a team of US born players and one of international players. There will be 10 players per team, the players selected by a vote of assistant coaches around the NBA (the participants will be announced in the coming weeks). The teams will be coached by an assistant coach from the staff of the team coaching the All-Star Game itself (the teams in first place in their conferences on Feb. 1).

It’s an interesting twist — one that has been suggested for the All-Star Game itself. That exhibition pits the Eastern and Western conferences against each other, but there is not a lot of rivalry or pride on the line in that matchup. Playing for your country? Even in an exhibition that could bring out a little more energy.

The NBA will try the format out on the youngsters.

Before you say the World is in trouble, think about who they can role out there: Andrew Wiggins (Canada), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece), Nikola Mirotic (Montenegro), Anthony Bennett (Canada), Alex Len (Ukraine), Kelly Olynyk (Canada), Dennis Schroeder (Germany), Gorgui Dieng (Senegal), Dante Exum (Australia), and the list goes on. They might actually be the favorites.