Much like the main event at All-Star Weekend, the Rising Stars Challenge isn’t exactly the pinnacle of competitive basketball. It’s mostly a lackadaisical display of effort in what ultimately amounts to a glorified pick-up game featuring some of the NBA’s brightest young players.
The No. 1 priority is to try to make sure nobody gets injured in an otherwise meaningless exhibition game. But that doesn’t mean it also won’t result in some highlight-reel plays. The rookies and sophomores still have those young legs at this point, not to mention that starry-eyed look under the bright lights that pushes them to showcase their incredible athletic ability.
That’s truly the best part of this annual game, and Hawks rookie John Collins seized the opportunity in the first have to show fans what he’s capable of and give them a little taste of what they can expect in the dunk contest on Saturday night, during which he’ll be one of the four participants. To get things started, he got a nice assist off the bounce from De’Aaron Fox for the beautiful two-hand alley-oop jam on the break.