NBA All-Star Weekend: Mike Budenholzer appointed Head Coach of East All-Stars; change in format for All-Star Friday event
With the Atlanta Hawks clinching their 14th consecutive win last night over the Indiana Pacers, they have sealed the top spot in the East till the February 1st deadline. The impressive 35-8 record of the team has sparked debates on which Hawks from the starting line-up should make it to the All-Star Game.
Kyle Korver, the starting shooting guard on the Hawks is just averaging 13.1 points this season but he is doing it while shooting 50% from the field and three point distance and 90% from the free throw line. At this rate he could become first player to finish a season averaging 50-50-90(percentage from the field, on three pointers and beyond the arc). Due to their style of play a very good arguement could be made for any other Hawks starter (Al Horford, Paul Milsap and Jeff Teague) to be in the All-Star Game as a reserve.
Players put us in this position: Budenholzer
The players results are still to be announced but by assuring the top spot for themselves, Atlanta’s Head Coach Mike Budenholzer and his coaching staff earn the chance to lead the East All-Stars in the All-Star Game in New York’s Madison Square Garden next month. The assistants who will be suiting up for the All-Star Game alongside Budenholzer are Kenny Atinkson, Darvin Ham, Taylore Jenkins, Charles Lee, Neven Spahija and Ben Sullivan.
“It’s a credit to our players, our front office and our entire organization,” Budenholzer said. “I really feel strongly about our assistant coaches; I think they do an amazing job. It’s a great honor but it’s our players that put us in this position. It’s the players that deserve the credit.”
The selection of an All-Star Coach for the East was as easy as it gets with the Hawks having a commanding 6 games lead over second seeded Washington Wizards, but the same can’t be said about the Western Conference.
Although the Golden State Warriors (33-6) have the league’s best record, four other teams in the Memphis Grizzlies (David Joerger), Portland Trailblazers (Terry Stotts) and Dallas Mavericks (Rick Carlisle) are in striking distance with 10 days for the February 1st deadline.
U.S vs World is new Rising Stars format
The Friday event of the All-Star Weekend, the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge was previously a showdown among the top 12 rookies against the top 12 sophomores. The format then changed to a competition between two teams picked by two TNT (Turner Network Television) NBA experts, last season it was Chris Webb and Grant Hill. Unlike the All-Star Game on Sunday, the Rising Stars Challenge will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Three years into the new format, the league has made another change for the Friday night event. The new format pits the best 12 USA national rookies and sophomore against the best rookies and sophomore in the rest of the world category.
The league’s assistant coaches will select 10 US players and 10 rest of the world players for the event. Each 10 man squad will have a minimum of three rookies and three sophomores. Each team will consist of 4 guards, 4 front court forwards and 2 players as wildcards.