MINNEAPOLIS Isaiah Thomas has a chance to be drafted again.
Instead of the traditional format where the top NBA rookies play the best second-year players during All-Star Weekend, former stars Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal will serve as general managers and draft two teams from a pool of first- and second-year players in the Rising Stars Challenge.
The list of players to be drafted for the game will be announced today.
Thomas was the final player selected in June's draft (60th overall) but has been far from irrelevant for the Kings. He entered Tuesday's game against Minnesota eighth among rookies in scoring (7.3 points) and fifth in assists (2.4).
Thomas has played a key role late in games, providing a spark off the bench on offense and defense. He said he would like an opportunity to participate in All-Star Weekend, which begins Feb. 24 in Orlando, Fla.
"It is on my mind, but I'd rather win (games) than get there," Thomas said. "Hopefully, people are recognizing me."
Other Kings who could play in the Rising Stars Challenge are rookie Jimmer Fredette and second-year center DeMarcus Cousins.
Fredette, the popular rookie out of BYU, is fourth among rookies with 8.5 points per game.
Cousins played in the Rookie-Sophomore challenge last year. Cousins is third among second-year players in scoring (15.5 points) and leads sophomores in rebounding (11.6). His rebounding average is fifth overall in the league.
Bad hand Thomas is playing with a small chip fracture in the third metacarpal head (knuckle) of his left hand. He suffered the injury Monday night against New Orleans when he ran into another player.
No Love All-Star forward Kevin Love was not with the Timberwolves on Tuesday while serving the first game of a two-game suspension.
Love was suspended Monday for stepping on the face and chest of Houston forward Luis Scola on Saturday.
Rookie Derrick Williams, the second overall pick last June, started for Love and had 14 points and eight rebounds.
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