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Luka Doncic and Ben Simmons Co-Favored to Win MVP at NBA Rising Stars Challenge

Trae Young defends fellow rookie guard Luka Doncic
Trae Young defends fellow rookie guard Luka Doncic (Photo by Austin McAfee/Icon Sportswire)
  • Ben Simmons will play both games during All-Star Weekend
  • Luka Doncic just missed out on being named an All-Star but will be part of the Rising Stars Challenge
  • We Identify the best Rising Stars value bets

It’s safe to say that this is the most talent-rich the NBA has been in decades.

Just check out the roster for the NBA Rising Stars Challenge for All-Star Weekend. We don’t know exactly how these first and second year players’ careers are going to fully pan out, but the potential is off the charts.

BetOnline has targeted some pretty game-ready studs as the head of the class to challenge for the game’s MVP award.

2019 NBA Rising Stars Challenge MVP Odds

Player Team Odds to Win NBA Rising Stars Challenge MVP at BetOnline (02/07/19)
Ben Simmons 76ers +400
Luka Doncic Mavericks +400
Jayson Tatum Celtics +700
Donovan Mitchell Jazz +700
Kyle Kuzma Lakers +1000
Deandre Ayton Suns +1000
De’Aaron Fox Kings +1200
Trae Young Hawks +1200
OG Anunoby Raptors +1200
Bogdan Bogdanovic Kings +1200
Lauri Markkanen Bulls +1200
Marvin Bagley III Kings +2000
Kevin Knox Knicks +2000
John Collins Hawks +2000
Jaren Jackson Jr. Grizzlies +2000
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Clippers +2000
Cedi Osman Cavaliers +4000
Josh Okogie Timberwolves +4000
Rodions Kurucs Nets +4000
Jarret Allen Nets +4000

Players to Watch

This is the 25th time this game will have been played, and you need only look at the Rising Stars MVP list to see that it could really be anyone.

You’ve got Hall-of -Famers like Allen Iverson, and current studs Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.

Then again, guys like Daniel Gibson and Kenneth Faried – who was on witness protection until the Rockets rescued him off Brooklyn – also earned the honors. In other words, I like Doncic and Simmons, but spread the wealth.

Let’s take a stab at who could emerge from this group.

Luka Doncic

It’s crazy that this guy was drafted third overall, and then dealt from the Hawks for Trae Young. Doncic is the real deal, posting better than 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists a game, and still years away from what his ceiling is going to be.

Ben Simmons

No jump shot, no problem. Simmons finds ways to impact the game in all facets, which makes people (sometimes) forget that his J can’t hit the broadside of a barn.

He’s putting up 17 points, 9.4 rebounds and eight assists while shooting better than 57% from the field. That’s good enough to have earned him a berth in the actual All-Star Game.

Donovan Mitchell

If you think NBA players have short memories, you’re nuts.

Mitchell still wears a very heavy chip on shoulder as he watched Simmons win ROTY in what was technically his second season in the league. Take that competitive edge, and mix it with arguably the best athleticism on the roster and +700 is looking mighty fine for a bet.

Bogdan Bogodanovic

No player has ever won the MVP back-to-back, but maybe Bogdanovic is the one who breaks through.

Don’t let the so-so stats fool you (14.5 points, four assists, 33.6% from three), he’s a key cog in the fun stuff that SacTo is running these days. I’d take him over the Kings De’Aron Fox or Marvin Bagley III.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

This is my long shot. I can just picture him quietly going to work slithering into the lane and getting to the tin, or finding guys to finish. Potential to rack up double-digit dimes.

Who Wins the 2019 NBA Rising Stars Challenge?

Which Team Will Win the 2019 NBA Rising Stars Challenge? Odds at BetOnline (02/07/19)
Team US -115
Team World -105

It’s a nice US backcourt with Fox and Mitchell, while Simmons will likely pair up with Doncic to make a super sized backcourt for the World team. The US can really batter them inside, if that was the game plan. Hoping this doesn’t break down into an outdoor pickup game where one guy is trying on both sides, while everyone else waits for alley-oops or spot-ups beyond the arc.

Pick: Team World (-105)


Our 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend Props Coverage:

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Having worked in and around sports since 1997, Eric is truly a knowledgable expert. The two-time journalism grad specializes in all things NBA and NFL. From TSN.ca to CTV's Olympic Broadcast Consortium, Eric's work has appeared in local and national publications alike.