The Rising Stars Challenge got off to a sleepy start in the first quarter Friday, and Team World took a 10-point halftime lead despite equipment damage courtesy of New Orleans Pelicans power forward Zion Williamson.

But Charlotte Hornets small forward Miles Bridges flipped a switch in the second half, and Team USA ultimately turned the game around by 39 points to take a 151-131 victory in a showcase of the top rookies and second-year players.

We graded all 20 players who were able to participate on a national stage at Chicago’s United Center on NBA All-Star Weekend.

Team USA

Zion Williamson
New Orleans Pelicans
Forward | Grade: A

Game stats
14 points | 7-11 FGs | 2 rebounds | 1 assist

Analysis
About the only blemish to Williamson’s All-Star Weekend debut was that he couldn’t put down one of the three contest-worthy dunks he attempted in the closing seconds of a blowout win. Before that, Williamson had made seven of his eight shot attempts, five of them dunks. Oh, and did I mention he literally tilted the hoop? That’s an easy A, in my book.


Trae Young
Atlanta Hawks
Guard | Grade: A-

Game stats
18 points | 4 rebounds | 7 assists | 1 steal

Analysis
The people demanded deep 3-pointers from Young and he obliged, hitting one over RJ Barrett from the edge of the oversized logo and another in the final minutes from similar distance but to the side of midcourt. Though Young shot just 3-of-5 inside the arc, he handed out a game-high seven assists.


Ja Morant
Memphis Grizzlies
Guard | Grade: A

Game stats
10 points | 5 rebounds | 6 assists | 5-9 FGs

Analysis
Nobody needs to tell Morant how to entertain in an exhibition setting. The No. 2 overall pick enjoyed the opportunity to play with top pick Williamson, setting him up for four alley-oop dunks (as well as a fifth to Memphis teammate Jaren Jackson Jr.). The best of them came when Morant went in between his legs in midair before dishing off to Williamson above the rim, and another was thrown from beyond half court. When Morant kept the ball himself, he had a 360 dunk and another he pulled back and dunked hard with two hands.


Jaren Jackson Jr.
Memphis Grizzlies
Forward | Grade: B-

Game stats
12 points | 4-7 FGs | 3-4 FTs | 7 rebounds

Analysis
A 30-foot 3-pointer would have been the highlight of Jackson’s night, but it rimmed out. He shot 1-of-4 from beyond the arc but made all three of his 2-point attempts and grabbed seven rebounds.


Kendrick Nunn
Miami Heat
Guard | Grade: A-

Game stats
16 points | 2 steals | 2-4 3s | 7-11 FGs

Analysis
For a moment, it looked as though the Chicago native might win MVP in his homecoming. Nunn’s best stretch came midway through the fourth quarter when, after an extended dribbling exhibition, he stepped back into a 3-pointer and then followed it with a steal and a run-out dunk.


Eric Paschall
Golden State Warriors
Forward | Grade: A

Game stats
23 points | 1 steal | 1-1 3s | 10-13 FGs

Analysis
You can take the rookie out of Villanova but you can’t take the Villanova out of the rookie. Paschall used an old-school game to score a team-high 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting, doing much of his damage from just inside the arc. Paschall was so hot the USA isolated him against switches on consecutive plays at the end of the third quarter, resulting in a shooting foul but then a turnover.


Miles Bridges
Charlotte Hornets
Forward | Grade: A

Game stats
20 points | 5 rebounds | 5 assists | 3 steals

Analysis
Bridges’ 20 points, 5 assists and 3 steals earned him MVP honors. Bridges anchored the USA second unit that pulled away in the second half, outscoring the World team by 33 points while on the court. Bridges did it with style, turning off the “no fun” sign after halftime with a windmill dunk and a pass off the backboard to himself for a dunk that was one of the night’s top highlights.


Devonte’ Graham
Charlotte Hornets
Guard | Grade: B

Game stats
6 rebounds | 5 assists | 3-7 3s | 9 points

Analysis
While Graham wasn’t a prominent figure in the USA second unit, going 3-of-7 on 3-pointers that made up all of his shot attempts, his five assists did help set up his teammates.


PJ Washington
Charlotte Hornets
Forward | Grade: B

Game stats
1 steal | 8 points | 4-5 FGs | 5 rebounds

Analysis
The lowest-scoring member of the USA second unit, Washington attempted only five shots in 20 minutes but made four of them. The best of the bunch was a dunk that left the basket shaking.


Collin Sexton
Cleveland Cavaliers
Guard | Grade: B+

Game stats
21 points | 5 rebounds | 3 assists | 1 steal

Analysis
With the exception of a step-back 3 on a switch, it wasn’t flashy, but Sexton had 21 points on 9-of-14 shooting as part of the dominant USA second unit. Apart from that 3, his most impressive play was an instinctive cut that set up an uncontested floater in the paint.

Team World

Luka Doncic
Dallas Mavericks (Slovenia)
Guard | Grade: B+

Game stats
16 points | 5 assists | 1 steal | 4-9 3s

Analysis
Along with Young, Doncic is one of two players pulling double duty this weekend in both the Rising Stars game and Sunday’s marquee event. Given that busy schedule, it’s no surprise Doncic played at something less than full speed, though that didn’t stop him from delivering 16 points and five assists. Most spectacularly, Doncic ended the first half by firing and hitting from beyond half court — despite having enough time to still leave some on the clock after the shot swished through. Now that’s showmanship.


RJ Barrett
New York Knicks (Canada)
Guard | Grade: F

Game stats
27 points | 6 rebounds | 5 assists | 3 steals

Analysis
Barrett led all scorers with 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting and delivered a handful of highlights, including a steal that resulted in a pick-six finish on the other end. He even finished with his right hand, something of a work in progress for the southpaw. Yet Barrett earns an automatic failing grade for fouling Williamson to prevent his former Duke roommate from dunking. There’s no place for that in an All-Star setting.


Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Oklahoma City Thunder (Canada)
Guard | Grade: B-

Game stats
16 points | 3 assists | 1 block | 3 rebounds

Analysis
There were two different Gilgeous-Alexanders on Friday. One focused on shooting pull-up 3s with little success, going 1-of-7 from beyond the arc. The other glided to the hoop for a variety of running layups, making 6 of 8 2-pointers. Gilgeous-Alexander also showcased his defensive potential by blocking a Morant fadeaway.


Nickeil Alexander-Walker
New Orleans Pelicans (Canada)
Guard | Grade: C-

Game stats
4 assists | 1 steal | 1 block | 6 points

Analysis
Given Alexander-Walker played more minutes (20) than he has in the past three weeks, it’s perhaps no surprise that he looked a bit rusty as a shooter. Alexander-Walker missed 10 of his 12 shot attempts, 10 of which came from beyond the arc. He did hand out four assists, including a drop pass to Brandon Clarke for a layup.


Brandon Clarke
Memphis Grizzlies (Canada)
Forward | Grade: A

Game stats
22 points | 8 rebounds | 1 steal | 11-15 FGs

Analysis
Had the World team won, Clarke would have been a strong contender for MVP. It’s no surprise that Clarke, shooting 65% inside the 3-point line this season, went 11-of-14 on 2-point attempts. He had a powerful two-hand finish and went way above the rim to finish a Doncic alley-oop in addition to grabbing a game-high eight rebounds.


Rui Hachimura
Washington Wizards (Japan)
Forward | Grade: B+

Game stats
14 points | 4 assists | 1 steal | 7-11 FGs

Analysis
A popular target above the rim for his World teammates, particularly early in the game, Hachimura dunked home six of his seven field goals. That could have been even more had Hachimura finished an alley-oop from Clarke, but he reciprocated with a nice extra pass to set up a Clarke dunk on the next play — one of four assists on the night.


Moritz Wagner
Washington Wizards (Germany)
Center | Grade: B

Game stats
16 points | 2 steals | 1-2 3s | 6-9 FGs

Analysis
With 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting, Wagner was the only member of a weak World bench to reach double-figure scoring. However, he might need to adapt to an All-Star style of play. Wagner played hard on defense, which resulted in a strip of Sexton and a forced Paschall miss but also back-to-back fouls at the end of the third quarter.


Svi Mykhailiuk
Detroit Pistons (Ukraine)
Guard | Grade: D+

Game stats
6 points | 4 rebounds | 2 assists | 2-9 3s

Analysis
The night began ominously for Mykhailiuk when he airballed his opening 3-point attempt. A later try caught nothing but glass as Mykhailiuk — a 42% 3-point shooter this season — went 2-of-9 beyond the arc. He also just missed a highlight going up to try to tip-dunk a teammate’s miss. Mykhailiuk did contribute a nice left-hand pass to set up Wagner out of a pick-and-roll, one of his two assists.


Josh Okogie
Minnesota Timberwolves (Nigeria)
Guard | Grade: C+

Game stats
5 assists | 1 block | 5 points | 3 rebounds

Analysis
Serving as a playmaker for the World team’s second unit, Okogie handed out five assists, equal to his season high. He also showcased his defensive prowess by blocking Nunn on a step-back 3 attempt. However, the ballhandling also led to a game-high five turnovers.


Nicolo Melli
New Orleans Pelicans (Italy)
Forward | Grade: B-

Game stats
1-2 3s | 3 points | 5 rebounds | 2 assists

Analysis
Melli could have been in the Bahamas on vacation Friday, his plans before being tapped as a last-minute replacement for the injured Deandre Ayton. Melli’s game isn’t really built for this style, but he delivered a three-quarters-court outlet to Wagner for a dunk and hung in by stripping Paschall when he was targeted in an isolation defensively.


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