Commentary

Rookie Challenge: What to watch for

Originally Published: February 13, 2009
By David Thorpe | Scouts Inc.

Michael Beasley and Kevin DurantVictor Baldizon/Getty ImagesMichael Beasley and the rookies have a chance to upset Kevin Durant and the sophs.
Editor's note: It was announced Friday evening that Greg Oden will miss the rookie-sophomore game because of a sore knee.

In this year's rookie-sophomore game, the sophs have, by far, the best player on the floor, Kevin Durant. They also have the oldest and most experienced pro, Luis Scola, and five players with real playoff experience. But the rookies have everything else.

Their roster is deeper, their bigs are bigger, their guards are better on offense and defense, and their confidence is sky-high. This rookie class is one of the best we've ever seen. And considering how the rookies typically get blown out in these contests, we can presume this team will be on a mission, too.

Still, the sophs no doubt will play with pride. And they have the advantage of experience and the knowledge that this is a game they are expected to win -- so I wouldn't expect them to roll over and allow dunk after dunk. If the sophs lock in for most of the game, we should be looking at the best rookie-sophomore game ever played.

Let's take a closer look at the rosters:

David Thorpe is an NBA analyst for Scouts Inc. and the executive director of the Pro Training Center at the IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla., where he oversees the player development program for more than 40 NBA, European League and D-League players. Those players include Kevin Martin, Rob Kurz, Luol Deng, Courtney Lee and Tyrus Thomas. To e-mail him, click here.