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Best lineup strategy for Team World vs. Team U.S. in NBA Rising Stars Game

We’ve got the rookie and sophomore showcase to start of NBA All-Star Weekend on Friday. Let’s go over the featured Showdown on DraftKings.

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic lays the ball up to the basket after getting past Utah Jazz guard Joe Ingles during the first quarter at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The rookies and sophomores of the NBA will square off in the NBA Rising Stars Game on TNT at 9 p.m. ET on Friday night. It will showcase the best young players in the League, including a few All-Stars in Luka Doncic and Trae Young, and of course Zion Williamson. As always, DraftKings is providing a Showdown contest for the game between Team World and Team U.S. Here, we’ll go over some thoughts on how to construct your lineup for what should be a high-scoring affair.

Who should I play at Captain?

Doncic ($14,700) and Young ($14,400) aren’t bad places to start. We’ve seen what both are capable of this season. Luka has consistently put up triple-doubles and Young has hit some insane 3-pointers in 40+ outings. Both possess the highest ceiling of any players in the game and should be in the spotlight. My issue with both of them is conservation of energy. They are competing in the All-Star Game on Sunday and Young is in the 3-Point Contest on Saturday night. I think they may save the best for last in this case.

I’ll give you two darkhorse candidates for Captain. Devonte’ Graham ($12,900) has been one of the surprises of this NBA season. He’s emerged as the Hornets best player and has a knack for hitting outside shots. Graham also isn’t a bad passer and his price is decent given the field. Rui Hachimura ($9,600) is affordable and this is a format he should dominate in — mostly against College-level competition. When the playing field evens out a bit, we could see Hachimura use his size and he’s Team World’s best big.

Who should I stack with the Captain?

Stacking Doncic and Young isn’t a bad idea if you want to play it safe, but I really don’t think either of them will go absolutely crazy. Team World has fewer big-name players outside of Doncic, so I don’t mind stacking some of the guys priced up on their side. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander stands out a bit at $8,400, which seems too low. SGA has been one of the better guards in the League this season, seemingly out of nowhere. He’s another player who could take over if Luka takes a back seat and we’ve seen his ceiling once or twice this season — a triple-double.

I feel the need to talk about Zion ($9,000) because he isn’t playing in the ASG and this could be his only time to shine this weekend in Chicago. He’s coming off consecutive career highs in points (31, 32) heading into the All-Star Break and I’d expect at least a few highlight reel plays for Williamson in this game.

Where can I find value in the contest?

A lot of these prices are arbitrary, so value isn’t tough to find. Brandon Clarke ($5,600) and Eric Paschall ($5,400) may be the two most polished bigs not named Zion in this entire field. Nothing against Jaren Jackson Jr., of course. Paschall looked like a Rookie of the Year candidate early on in the season before injuries popped up. Clarke has been arguably the most efficient rookie on a per 36 minute basis this season. Both are insanely talented and really there aren’t too many front court bodies on either team.

My deep sleeper would be Nickeil Alexander-Walker ($2,800), who is the cheapest player in the contest for some reason. Somebody had to take those honors. Alexander-Walker has shown flashes of real upside for the Pelicans this season, but is just buried on the depth chart behind so many stud guards. Early in the season we saw Alexander-Walker post 27 points in 30 minutes against the Heat, something polished veterans aren’t capable of doing.

Who should I fade?

I don’t know if I’d fade anyone in an All-Star Game type of environment. I would say don’t really take price into consideration much in this contest. Like I’ve mentioned, I question how much Doncic and Young will play in this game. Doncic just came back from an ankle sprain and I doubt the League wants him tweaking something on Friday night with Sunday’s ASG in mind. I think the best way to approach making a lineup for this game is to go with some chalk, but also mix in off-the-wall picks in the event that somebody surprising goes off.