Is Paolo Banchero playing tonight in 2024 NBA Rising Stars Challenge Game? Latest on Team Tamika’s marquee star’s status 

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Paolo Banchero is set to create history by becoming the fifth player to appear in the NBA Rising Stars Challenge, All-Star Saturday Night and the All-Star game on the same weekend. On that note, Banchero will play tonight in the Rising Stars Challenge for Team Tamika, former WNBA legend Tamika Catchings’ team.

Banchero will make his second appearance in a row for the Rising Stars challenge. He played for Team Pau last year. Banchero will also participate in the Skills Challenge alongside Anthony Edwards and Victor Wembanyama for Team Top Picks on Saturday.

He will debut in Sunday’s main event, the NBA All-Star game, for the Eastern Conference team, led by captain Giannis Antetokounmpo. Banchero was voted as one of the reserves.

Paolo Banchero has stayed injury-free all season

Paolo Banchero is enjoying a phenomenal sophomore season. He has played all 55 games, averaging a team-high 23.0 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists, shooting on 46/37/70 splits.

He has guided the Orlando Magic to a 30-25 record. They are eighth in the Eastern Conference with a realistic chance to make the playoffs as potentially the sixth seed.

The Magic have enough to advance through the play-in tournament. They could be in the postseason as the seventh or eighth seed. Banchero’s availability has been critical, amid the Magic’s frontline’s repeated injury struggles. Jonathan Isaac and Franz Wagner have missed significant time.

Meanwhile, starting point guard Markelle Fultz hasn’t been able to shrug off his injury struggles, either. In only his second season, Banchero is proving to be a franchise-altering former top pick, which is exactly what the Magic hoped for after years of mediocrity.

The former Duke prospect is already an All-Star, so the upside looks tremendous for him and the Magic.

Paolo Banchero and Team Tamika favorites to advance against Team Jalen

Paolo Banchero and Team Tamika have emerged as the favorites per oddsmakers to beat Team Jalen at the Rising Stars Challenge. Team Tamika has talented players alongside Banchero like Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren, Keegan Murray, Scoot Henderson and Vince Williams Jr.

Banchero and Murray are among the hot favorites to win the Rising Stars Challenge MVP award. The two draft mates have proved they belong in the NBA since stepping foot in the NBA.

Banchero is leading a franchise to prominence again, while Murray was integral in leading the Sacramento Kings back to the playoffs last season, after 16 years. Sacramento is now a perennial playoff contender with him as the starting power forward.

Also read: Team Jalen vs Team Tamika: Prediction, Starting Lineups and Odds for 2024 Rising All-Stars Challenge Game | February 16

Edited by Arhaan Raje

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