NBA Skills Challenge: which players will participate in the 2021 edition?
This year’s 19th Taco Bell Skills Challenge will feature five NBA All-Stars, with Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks and Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns topping the billing.
The NBA All-Star Game 2021 gets underway this weekend at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
However this year things will be a little different as all the activities that normally take place over the weekend will take place in a one-night event on Saturday, 7 March. And this year, of course, due to the pandemic, there will be no fans in attendance at the State Farm Arena.
As always the All-Star game will be the headline event, which will be preceded by the Skills Challenge, featuring six NBA stars, and 3-Point Contest, while the Slam Dunk Contest will take place at half-time. The skills challenge is scheduled to get underway at around 6:30 p.m. ET on TNT.
Skills Challenge line-up
This year’s 19th Taco Bell Skills Challenge will feature five NBA All-Stars, with Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks and Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns topping the billing. This will be Paul’s fifth time in the event, which he has failed to win on the previous four occasions.
Doncic and Paul will be joined by 2020 runner-up Domantas Sabonis of the Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic’s Nikola Vucevic, who will participate for the second time, as well as Skills Challenge debutants, New York Knicks’ power forward, Julius Randle, and Portland Trail Blazers forward, Robert Covington.
In the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, the six participating players' dribbling, passing and 3-point shooting skills will be put to the test in a three-round, single-elimination format.
The player who finishes each individual matchup with the fastest time goes through to the next round, culminating in a one-on-one battle for the trophy, which was won by Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo last year.
The Eastern Conference has dominated the Skills Challenge for the past few years, with its representatives having won every event since 2017 (Kristaps Porzingis - 2017, Spencer Dinwiddie - 2018 , Jayson Tatum - 2019 and Adebayo – 2020). The Western Conference’s chances of ending that four-year streak will rest mainly on this year’s headliners Doncic and Paul, as well as Covington.
Skills Challenge participant stats
Luka Doncic (PG), Dallas Mavericks: 28.6 points, 9.0 assists, 8.4 rebounds per game
Robert Covington (SF), Portland Trail Blazers: 7.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists per game
Chris Paul (PG), Phoenix Suns: 16.4 points, 9.0 assists, 4.7 rebounds per game
Julius Randle (PF), New York Knicks: 23.4 points, 10.9 rebounds, 5.5 assists per game
Nikola Vucevic (C), Orlando Magic: 24.5 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists per game
Domantas Sabonis (PF), Indiana Pacers: 21.2 points, 11.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists per game