Brandon Knight will take part in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge at All-Star Saturday Night on February 14th, the NBA announced Thursday night. The field includes All-Stars John Wall, Kyle Lowry, Jeff Teague, and Jimmy Butler, as well as defending champion Trey Burke. Isaiah Thomas and Michael Carter-Williams round out the field of eight contestants.
The format of the Skills Challenge is a bit different this year. Per the Bucks team release:
"New to the Taco Bell Skills Challenge this year is a head-to-head, bracket-style tournament format in which the eight participants will compete in a three-round obstacle-course competition that tests dribbling, passing, agility and shooting skills. The format calls for two players to compete simultaneously on an identical course with the fastest finisher reaching the next round. In the first round, the eight players have been paired to participate in four head-to-head competitions. The four winners advance to the second round, where two more head-to-head showdowns will determine the two finalists. Knight will be matched up against Utah's Burke in the opening round."
The course appears to be slightly altered. According to the photo below from NBA.com, it looks like the three-point shot will come at the end of the course instead of in the middle.
A new format & new skills bring a twist to this year's Taco Bell Skills Challenge. Who's your pick? #NBAAllStarNYC pic.twitter.com/3Sq5ZsvhwV— NBA.com (@NBAcom) February 6, 2015
Knight is the second in a row and third Bucks player overall to compete in the Skills Challenge, with Giannis Antetokounmpo participating last year and Brandon Jennings participating in 2010.
The Skills Challenge has been around during All-Star Weekend since 2003. The very first champion of it? Jason Kidd.
The addition of Knight--who is averaging a career best 5.3 assists this season--may seem a little surprising at first, but consider this:
So Brandon Knight traveling to All-Star Weekend for Skills competition, Korver for 3-point. East well positioned should Wade miss game.— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) February 6, 2015
We'll have to wait and see what happens with regards to that potentially vacant roster spot come the All-Star game. Either way, congrats to Brandon!