Timberwolves rookie guard Alexey Shved is one of 18 young players chosen for All-Star weekend's Rising Stars challenge, but Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams weren't invited to play on Friday night in Houston next month.

The NBA chose 18 rookies and sophomores -- nine each -- and will divide those players equally into two teams, as chosen by GMs Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley.

The NBA ditched the rookie-sophomore opposition starting last season in Orlando.

Second-year players Kenneth Faried, Kyrie Irving, Brandon Knight, Kawhi Leonard, Chandler Parsons, Klay Thompson, Tristan Thompson, Nikola Vukevic and Kemba Walker were chosen ahead of Williams and Rubio.

Rubio, of course, got a late start this season, missing the season's first six weeks following March knee surgery.

The rookies chosen: Portland's Damian Lillard, Golden State's Harrison Barnes, Washington's Bradley Beal, New Orleans' Anthony Davis, Charlotte's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cleveland's Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller.

Shved, btw, will make his return tonight against the Clippers at Target Center after two weeks away because of a sprained ankle.

As of yesterday, Rick Adelman was uncertain whether Shved or vet Luke Ridnour will start beside Rubio in the backcourt.

I'll bet Ridnour does.


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Ridnour to start, Shved off the bench tonight vs. Clippers

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Brandon Roy has another setback; Rubio lauds Gasol