Every year on All-Star Saturday the NBA holds the Skills Challenge. The challenge tests contestants passing accuracy, shooting ability, and ball handling skills. The contest consists of dribbling through obstacles, passing through small hoops, and shooting a three pointer.
Last years participants were Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors, DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings, Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans, Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves, C.J. McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers, Emmanuel Mudiay of the Denver Nuggets, Isaiah Thomas of Boston Celtics, and Jordan Clarkson of the Los Angeles Lakers. Last year Karl-Anthony Towns won in an incredible comeback against Isaiah Thomas. He narrowly won by making the finishing three-pointer just before Isaiah.
The NBA announced that this year’s participants are Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns, Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz, Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers, Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans, John Wall of the Washington Wizards, Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics, Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks, and DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings.
— NBA (@NBA) February 3, 2017
Booker, Embiid, Porzingis, and Hayward are all making their first appearances in this competition. John Wall has participated two times before in 2011 and 2012 (as well as being invited in 2015, but declining and giving up his spot to eventual winner Patrick Beverley), but he has never won the competition. Isaiah Thomas has appeared two times before in 2015 and when he was the runner up last year. Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins are making their second appearances and returning from losses last year.
Hayward is a first time All-Star this year and quietly leading the Utah Jazz to a great record. Isaiah is making his second All-Star appearance and is carrying the Celtics this season, along with being in MVP discussions. John Wall and Anthony Davis are both is making their fourth All-Star appearances this year and are putting on shows for the Wizards and Pelicans respectively. Cousins is making his third All-Star appearance and is trying to bring the Kings to the playoffs. Porzingis, Embiid, and Booker are all competing in this year’s Rising Stars Challenge. Booker is playing for Team America and Porzingis is playing for team World.
All of the competitors are great players and should make it an interesting competition.