Isaiah Thomas surprisingly added to NBA’s annual Rookie/Sophomore Game

Isaiah Thomas fired up against the Miami Heat. (Photo: Steven Chea)

The Sacramento Kings will have representation at All-Star Weekend after all.

In a surprise move by TNT analyst and former King Kenny Smith, Isaiah Thomas and Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio were added to the pool of rookies and sophomores eligible to play in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge.  The Kings second-year guard was chosen by Charles Barkley and will play on the Hall of Famer’s team against the squad selected by Shaquille O’Neal.

Here are two teams:

Team Chuck

Team Shaq

Thomas was snubbed to play in the game when the NBA initially announced the pool of participants last week.  Thomas’ selection means that the Kings will have at least one player participating in All-Star festivities for a fourth straight year.  DeMarcus Cousins, Tyreke Evans and Omri Casspi were the last three Kings to play in the annual rookie/sophomore game.

Thomas has played in 47 of the Kings’ 50 games this year.  He’s started 30 of those contests and come off the bench in 17.  The Kings sophomore guard is averaging 11.6 points on 42.8-percent shooting and 3.2 assists in 24.3 minutes per game.

The BBVA Rising Stars Challenge tips off Friday, Feb. 15 at 6 pm from the Toyota Center in Houston.  The game will be televised on TNT and broadcasted on ESPN Radio.  Cowbell Kingdom will be in the lonestar state covering the festivities.

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About: Jonathan Santiago

Jonathan Santiago serves Cowbell Kingdom as senior editor specializing in writing, podcasting and video production. He also handles the majority of CK’s day-to-day beat coverage of the Kings.