Hawks’ AJ Griffin selected for NBA Rising Stars challenge during All-Star weekend

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Hawks rookie AJ Griffin will be one of 28 participants in the Rising Stars challenge during NBA All-Star weekend Feb. 17-19 in Salt Lake City.

Griffin, the 16th pick in the 2022 NBA draft, will be joined by 20 other first- and second-year players and seven NBA G League players in the three-game mini-tournament format. Four teams of seven players will compete in the mini-tournament, and some other notable participants include:

-Walker Kessler and Jabari Smith, NBA rookies who were named Mr. Georgia basketball as high school seniors in 2020 and 2021.

-Jose Alvarado, the 2021 ACC Defensive Player of the Year at Georgia Tech now in his second season with the Pelicans.

The 19-year-old Griffin, who played one season at Duke, is averaging 9.7 points and 2.1 rebounds in 47 games. He’s also the second rookie in NBA history to have multiple game-winning buzzer-beaters in a season, joining Chicago’s Toni Kukoč from 1993-94 with his game-winners against the Raptors in November and the Bulls in December.

His scoring average ranks eighth in the league among rookies, while his 3-point shooting percentage (40.8) ranks third among rookies averaging two or more attempts per game.

The challenge is set to take place at 9 p.m. ET Feb. 17.