Franz Wagner led his team to victory in the NBA’s Rising Stars tournament with a converted free throw. Caleb Cunningham was named MVP.
Wagner led his Cleveland team to victory in the four-team mini-tournament with a converted free throw. Wagner’s team, coached by NBA legend Rick Barry, narrowly won both the semifinals played to 50 points and the finals played to 25.
The 20-year-old Berlin native of the Orlando Magic, a hot contender for the “Rookie of the Year” award, scored three points in each game – including the decisive one in the final. His teammate Cade Cunningham of the Detroit Pistons was named the best player of the tournament.
First German Rookie at the Rising Stars
Wagner, the second-best scorer among all league rookies behind Cunningham with an average of 15.6 points, was the first German to participate in the “Rising Stars” format in his rookie season, which has been held since 1994. There were three other Germans before him – his older brother Moritz Wagner two years ago, Dennis Schröder in 2015 and Dirk Nowitzki in 2000, all in their second NBA year.
The annual highlight of the All-Star Weekend is the spectacle of the league’s best basketball players on Sunday. The two teams will be led by captains LeBron James and Kevin Durant, who, however, will be unable to play due to injury.