NBA Slam Dunk, 3-Point, Skills Challenge Participants Announced

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 2, 2018

Golden State Warriors' Klay Thompson reacts after making a 3-point basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, in Houston. The Warriors won 124-114.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

The field is set for State Farm All-Star Saturday Night in Los Angeles on Feb. 17.

The NBA announced the contenders for the Skills Challenge, Three-Point Contest and Slam Dunk Contest, as playmakers such as Klay Thompson, Joel Embiid and Paul George will put on a show for the fans on the eve of the All-Star Game at the Staples Center.

             

Skills Competition

Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers

Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets

Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets

Al Horford, Boston Celtics

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks

Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz

Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls

                

Three-Point Contest

Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors

Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder

Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns

Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards

Wayne Ellington, Miami Heat

Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors

Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets

Tobias Harris, Los Angeles Clippers

           

Dunk Contest

Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers

Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic

Larry Nance Jr., Los Angeles Lakers

Dennis Smith Jr., Dallas Mavericks

             

The Skills Challenge brings an intriguing field, considering big men Embiid, Al Horford and Kristaps Porzingis—who are all All-Stars—are representative of the NBA's new-age centers. They all stretch their games to the outside and facilitate much of the offense by shooting from three, operating from the high elbow and putting the ball on the floor.

Two of the league's most exciting rookies, Donovan Mitchell and Lauri Markkanen, will challenge them, but the youngsters will have to overcome Porzingis, who is the reigning champ.

There is no shortage of star power in the Three-Point Contest either, with Thompson, George, Bradley Beal and Kyle Lowry each All-Stars as well.

Thompson won in 2016 and figures to set the tone as the representative of the three-point happy Warriors who overwhelm opponents with shooting. He is hitting a career-best 45.4 percent from deep this season as well, but Eric Gordon is the defending champion and will have something to say about it.

Throughout history, the Slam Dunk Contest has been the pre-eminent event at All-Star Saturday Night as names such as Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Vince Carter and Blake Griffin defied the laws of gravity and threw down some of the most memorable jams in NBA history.

This year's field is missing some of the Hall of Fame names of seasons past, but Victor Oladipo is an All-Star and will look to keep the title in Indiana after Glenn Robinson III won last season.

There is also the Aaron Gordon storyline. He is hoping the third time is a charm after dueling with Zach LaVine and coming up just short in 2016 and falling to Robinson last year.

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