NBA Skills Challenge 2013: Participant List, Twitter Reaction and More
Few events during NBA All-Star Weekend have as much star power as the NBA Skills Challenge. This alone makes tuning in to the All-Star festivities worthwhile.
In this event, players show off their point guard skills as they try to dribble, shoot and pass in a faster time than the rest of the competition.
Last year brought a star-studded cast of guards both young and old that included Tony Parker, Rajon Rondo, Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams. In the end, the 30-year-old Parker was able to defeat the younger challengers.
While the dunk contest draws more fans, the skills challenge might be the most impressive display of basketball ability.
Here is everything you need to know about the competition in this year's event.
When: Saturday, Feb. 16, at 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, Tex.
Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs
Tony Parker has proved time and time again that he can still get it done on the basketball court. However, last year he proved that he can get it done in an All-Star setting.
After losing in two previous events, Parker outlasted his competition and ended up taking home the title.
His experience is certainly something that will help him this time around.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Many thought it was a risk when the Trail Blazers selected Damian Lillard with the sixth pick out of Weber State. No one is thinking that now.
So far this season, he is averaging 18.4 points with 6.5 assists per game. Each of these numbers leads the NBA among rookies.
While the other men on this list have more experience, Lillard is already one of the best point guards in the NBA.
His quickness should give him an advantage in this competition as he looks to prove it.
Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia 76ers
One of the most improved players in the NBA this season is Jrue Holiday. The 76ers guard has turned himself into an All-Star this season with his ability to score and pass with the best in the league.
On the year, he is averaging 19.3 points per game and is fourth in the NBA with 8.9 assists per game.
Holiday has the ability to find teammates all over the floor and make accurate passes without even looking. This will come in handy when he has to advance in the bounce-pass and chest-pass parts of the competition.
Brandon Knight, Detroit Pistons
In his second year out of Kentucky, Brandon Knight has taken a lot of responsibility on the young Pistons team.
He is the team's second-leading scorer and led it the roster in assists per game until Jose Calderon joined the squad.
While he is not one of the better passers in this competition, there might not be a better shooter. This will make things easier on him when he has to put the ball in the basket during the competition.
Jeff Teague, Atlanta Hawks
Jeff Teague does not get a lot of respect around the league, but he is one of the more underrated point guards in the entire NBA.
He shoots well, passes well and plays solid defense. While the last part will not help him in this competition, the first two will make him a tough competitor.
For Teague, it will all come down to whether he can get through the obstacle course fast enough to keep his time low.
Jeremy Lin, Houston Rockets
The media sensation is not great in any specific aspect, but he does just a little bit of everything well in this competition.
Jeremy Lin will also have the advantage of the home crowd behind him.
Considering Lin has made it his mission to prove doubters wrong at every stage of his career, do not be surprised if he can do it again with a win in this event.
It will be Holiday's first time participating, but his passing ability will save him time, and he has the quickness to get through the obstacle course in a hurry.
There are few things he does not do well, and that will lead to a title in the stacked competition.
Austin Horton discusses how the night before the All-Star Game is often better than the actual game:
I'm one of those weird NBA fans who prefers the All Star skills comp's (dunk, 3-point, skills) to the actual pick up game.— Austin Horton (@austinhorton) February 8, 2013
Jeremy Lin does not have the most confidence going into this event, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
Jeremy Lin among field for skills challenge. "I can dribble a little bit, pass a little bit and shoot a little bit.Hopefully I'll do OK."— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) February 8, 2013
The Spurs' official Twitter account announced Tony Parker's inclusion with a nice picture from last season:
Of course, the 76ers' Twitter account had a more exciting send-off for Jrue Holiday:
Finally, an Atlanta Hawks fan discusses his disappointment with the selections for the other events:
Everyone else has someone in one of the things this weekend. Atlanta has the most irrelevant, with Jeff Teague in the skills competition.— Sean O'Connor (@soconnor76) February 8, 2013
Whoever wins, it is certain to be an exciting event.
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