In 2003, the NBA added the Skills Competition for the top guards in the league to participate in. This competition is an obstacle course, where the players need to successfully hit layups, dribble through cones, throw a chest and bounce pass and hit a 20-foot jump shot.
This year, the six point guards who will be participating in the 2012 Taco Bell Skills Challenge are Kyrie Irving, Tony Parker, John Wall, Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo, who is a late replacement for the injured Steph Curry. This will be the third time Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker and Deron Williams are in the competition and the second time for John Wall.
Deron Williams currently holds the record for the fastest time in competition history with 25.5 seconds. In that run, he didn’t miss a single pass and connected on his jump shot in one try.
It will be extremely difficult for Rajon Rondo to put up a performance like that and win the competition against all of these guys who have participated multiple times.
Rondo’s biggest weakness is definitely his jump shot. Unfortunately for him, the part of the competition that trips players up the most is usually when they can’t hit their 20-foot shot. There are some really good shooters competing against Rondo here, like Westbrook and Williams, so I advice Rondo to try and go first since the pressure will be on once he sees them hit their shot in only one or two tries.
I know Rondo is an excellent passer, but it’s not easy to make an accurate pass into the targets used during the competition if you’ve never tried it before. He will obviously be able to hit the target, but any slight touch against the rim usually causes the ball to ricochet out of the hole.
Another important factor for Rondo is to make sure the ball goes all the way through before advancing to the next obstacle. Every second counts in a competition like this, so starting to move to the next obstacle too quickly could really cost you if you have to go back and try the previous one again. Most of the other competitors will have the advantage over Rondo with their passing instincts since they’ve competed in this before.
I expect Rajon Rondo to be back in this competition in the future, but I don’t think he will win it this year. My prediction is that Russell Westbrook wins it for the first time Saturday night.
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