2022 NBA Rising Stars Problem: Cade Cunningham earns MVP honors after main Group Barry to victory

The NBA’s 2022 All-Star Weekend received began on Friday night time, first with the Movie star Recreation after which with the Rising Stars Problem. This 12 months’s occasion was received by Group Barry, and No. 1 total decide Cade Cunningham of the Detroit Pistons was named MVP. 

There was a very new format this time round. Not like previous years, which featured a daily recreation between Rookies and Sophomores, or Group USA vs. Group World, this 12 months’s occasion was a mini-tournament between 4 totally different groups. NBA legends Rick Barry, Isiah Thomas, Gary Payton and James Worthy every drafted and coached a group of seven gamers. Rookies, sophomores and even G League Ignite gamers have been included. 

What’s extra, as an alternative of taking part in till the ultimate buzzer, the groups performed to a goal rating. Within the first spherical, Group Isiah beat Group Worthy, 50-49, whereas Group Barry took down Group Payton, 50-48. Then, within the title recreation, Group Barry secured the trophy with a 25-20 win over Group Isiah. 

Listed below are three key takeaways from the night time:

1. Cunningham leads Group Barry to victory, named MVP

Cade Cunningham was the No. 1 total decide within the 2021 NBA Draft lower than a 12 months in the past, and the Detroit Pistons level guard already has his first title and MVP. OK, it is simply the Rising Stars Problem, however it’s all the time enjoyable to win, and Cunningham led Group Barry to victory on Friday night time, incomes MVP within the course of. 

He completed with 5 factors, two rebounds and three assists within the championship recreation, which are not notably spectacular numbers till you think about that they have been solely taking part in to 25. So not solely did he immediately contribute to a 3rd of his group’s factors, however he additionally scored their closing 4 factors, together with the game-winning free throw. 

“[Our goal was] to win,” Cunningham mentioned. “I really feel like we had the group to do it, and we needed to come out and show ourselves and get the ‘ship. I am glad we did that.”

With Cunningham main the best way, Group Barry got here out and performed a way more organized type of basketball than we often see on this occasion. They have been operating actual performs and sitting down in precise stances on the defensive finish. The technique, which was clearly designed by the group’s GM and head coach, Rick Barry, paid off. 

“I attempted to get some diversification, get some dimension, get some guys who can shoot the ball and simply play good basketball,” Barry mentioned. “I am pleased with these guys, trigger each one in every of them did an excellent job. It was so nice to see them taking part in basketball. They actually went out and performed the best way the sport must be performed.”

2. New format successful

No competitors at All-Star Weekend has gone by way of as many adjustments because the Rising Stars Problem. In recent times it was Group USA vs. Group World, earlier than that it was a captain’s picks scenario with TNT broadcasters serving as common managers and even earlier it was Rookies vs. Sophomores. 

This time round they went manner out of the field with a mini-tournament format that featured 4 totally different groups, all of which have been coached by a unique NBA legend: Isiah Thomas, James Worthy, Gary Payton and Ricky Barry. Every group had seven gamers, break up between rookies, sophomores and in a brand new twist, G League Ignite prospects. 

If that wasn’t sufficient, the league additionally completely revamped the video games. As an alternative of taking part in a traditional recreation with 4 quarters, the groups performed to a goal rating. Within the first spherical, the groups performed to 50 factors, and within the championship recreation, they performed to 25 factors. The concept, clearly, was to make the occasion extra significant and add some incentive for the gamers to strive arduous.

To that extent it labored. This wasn’t a playoff recreation by any means, however there was way more protection and critical play than we often get within the Rising Stars Problem — a minimum of towards the top of the video games. Total it nonetheless wasn’t that thrilling — ending the championship on a free throw was a bummer — however it was undoubtedly extra pleasant than regular. 

3. Barnes and Maxey “steal” the present

In between the primary spherical and championship of the match, a brand new occasion debuted: the Clutch Problem. Gamers fashioned groups of two and needed to make photographs from 5 totally different places on the courtroom, every representing a unique clutch shot from NBA historical past. 

Right here have been the 5 photographs:

  • Magic Johnson’s child sky hook from the 1987 Finals
  • Charles Barkley’s series-ender within the 1993 playoffs
  • Reggie Miller’s game-winner within the 1998 playoffs
  • Ray Allen’s 3-pointer within the 2013 Finals
  • Damian Lillard’s series-ender within the 2019 playoffs

They did not must recreate the performs, however merely make photographs from these spots as shortly as potential. In concept, the Magic child sky hook from just some toes away ought to have been the best a part of the entire competitors, however that wasn’t the case for Scottie Barnes and Tyrese Maxey. 

The younger stars stored lacking, and lacking, and lacking. All informed they went 0-for-6 from that spot and finally ran out of time. It was by far probably the most memorable second of the night time and had everybody courtside cracking up. 

“I am in disbelief,” Barnes mentioned afterward whereas shaking his head. 

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