Hornets’ Davis excited to play in Rising Stars Challenge

Associated Press photoNew Orleans Hornet Anthony Davis will take Blake Griffin's place on the U.S. men's Olympic basketball team. Show caption
Associated Press photoNew Orleans Hornet Anthony Davis will take Blake Griffin's place on the U.S. men's Olympic basketball team.

NEW ORLEANS — Someday soon, New Orleans Hornets rookie power forward Anthony Davis wants to be an All-Star.

Many times, he said.

However, for now, he said he is excited to be participating in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, which will tip off NBA All-Star Weekend in Houston at 8 p.m. Friday.

Davis is one of nine rookies playing in the game, with nine sophomores also participating, and is on Team Chuck, named after NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley, who is the “general manager” who picked the team.

They will go against Team Shaq, drafted by former LSU great Shaquille O’Neal and headed by Portland Trail Blazers rookie Damian Lillard.

For Davis, it’s a chance to enjoy with others of his draft class and the one before their living the dream of reaching the NBA and doing well in their early years.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” he said. “I’m going to get with my teammates and guys I’ve known from the AAU circuit. I just want to go out there and have fun. Don’t worry about whether you win or lose.”

Davis said he wanted to play well, though.

“Hopefully, the guards will be trying to get a lot of assists,” he said, smiling.

This is the second consecutive year the game will feature a mix of rookies and second-year players on each team. Previously, the rookies squared off against the sophomores, with little success.

The coaches are the lead assistants of those who will head Sunday’s NBA All-Star teams. The Miami Heat’s David Fizdale will coach Team Shaq, and the San Antonio Spurs’ Mike Budenholzer will coach Team Chuck.

Davis was the first overall pick of June’s draft, so it was likely he would be part of the Rising Stars. However, he still seemed to be honored to take part.

“There’s only nine rookies and nine sophomores, and you can’t take anything for granted,” he said. “It’s sad that (Detroit Pistons rookie) Andre Drummond hurt his back and can’t play, because he was one of the nine who were selected.

“I definitely want to be on the All-Star ballot, but I just want to be a part of All-Star Weekend for any of the events.”

During the game, fans will be able to vote for MVP on Twitter, NBA Game Time, SMS texting and other social media.

On Saturday, Hornets forward Ryan Anderson will compete in the Three-Point Challenge for the second consecutive year. He has been honing his skills for the competition, and also has shot well of late in games.

In his past 10, he shot 32-of-70 (42.9 percent), and in his past two games, against Detroit and Portland, he shot 7-of-14 on 3s. Anderson, who leads the league in 3-pointers made with 159, has increased his season’s percentage to 40.9, although he said picking up a ball from a ball rack and quickly shooting takes some adjusting.

However, he is the lone returnee from last year’s competition.

“I definitely think that having been in it last year will be an advantage,” he said. “But we’ll see.”