In a game that featured as much defense as one of the pickup games at your local YMCA, Team USA led fairly comfortably all game against Team World, and ended up winning 161-144. Kyle Kuzma was voted the game’s MVP, scoring 35 points while jacking up 27 shots. I also did not realize how many stupid tattoos Kuzma has, so kudos to him. Laker culture.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ended up being featured quite a bit in this game, as Team World really only had three playmakers between him, Ben Simmons, and Luka Doncic. Shai did not disappoint, with a nice line of 15 points, 6 assists, 5 boards, and 3 steals on 5-10 from the field and 3-7 (!) from three. One of the first things I noticed was how comfortable Shai was joining the jack fest and shooting all those triples, no hesitation from there. His first triple was in the corner, a corner he is familiar with as a Clipper. Shai also did well handling the ball during most of his stint playing tonight, as he got to the paint fairly easily and created for his teammates. Shai probably played the most defense out of anyone in this game, and for a moment it seemed like him and De’Aaron Fox were going to go at each other in the third quarter in another Kentucky duel. Then both realized it was the Rising Stars Game and no defense was played.
The game as a whole was a fun little scrimmage filled with highlights and dunks. John Collins had some nice preview dunks for tomorrow night with a sick reverse as well as a 180 alley oop. The end of the game sputtered into multiple people missing between the leg dunks. Simmons showed off in the first half but was mostly quiet in the second. Kuzma took a ton of shots, Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell looked fairly bored, and Trae Young really shined in a game that was pretty much made for him, nutmegging and throwing fancy passes all over the place. Trae had 25 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds, and probably would have been my pick for MVP. Tatum had a cool 30 points and Simmons had 28 points. Team World had some nice players, but outside of Shai, Doncic, Simmons, and maybe Deandre Ayton, not many guys have that obvious star potential. Team USA is loaded with them. Team World shot 16-52 from deep, nearly half of their 112 total field goal attempts. In what was a bonafide scrimmage.
Anyways, I had fun just watching Shai. He’s good. This is a special draft class. There’s lots of good talent in the league these past couple of drafts.