Although it seems like a lifetime ago, remember that time that Michael Porter Jr. was not invited to the ““Rising Stars” challenge during the 2019-20 NBA All-Star weekend? Monte Morris has not forgotten. He also has not forgotten that he should have been invited to participate in that event last year, which is a sentiment that coach Michael Malone shared at the time as well.
#Nuggets coach Michael Malone on Monte Morris (17 points, 7 assists, 0 turnovers): “I saw a guy who should be playing this weekend in Charlotte. He should playing in the Rising Stars game. You can’t tell me there are that many players better than Morris.”— Chris Dempsey (@chrisadempsey) February 12, 2019
Morris recalled these snubs this week while responding to former teammate Brandon Goodwin’s tweet in which Goodwin opined that he, too, was snubbed after looking at the career trajectories of some of the players that were picked over him.
They snubbed me and MPJ smh— Monte Morris (@BigGameTae) June 9, 2020
Picking players for the Rising Stars challenge has to be difficult for the league. Of course there’s always the shoe-ins that are going to get picked no matter what, based on their stats or how high they were picked in their draft class. But often times, the league overlooks a player that deserved to be recognized just as much, if not more, than other players. It’s also difficult to predict which players are going to “make it” in the league after only having a one or two year sample.
Morris had a solid season last year, finishing with averages of 10.4 points and 3.6 assists, solidifying himself as a legitimate backup point guard. MPJ was also quite the snub, and perhaps a far more surprising one. He definitely has more of the name recognition than Morris did, with the only downside being inconsistent playing time. Still, with the flashes that he has shown this season, it was quite a shock when he was not invited.
Despite these grievances, the hope is that MPJ and Morris will achieve the title of “star” in this league, which a lot of rising stars do not quite end up accomplishing.