Even though it seemed kind of gimmicky when it was first introduced, the Skills Challenge has become a welcome part of All-Star Weekend for me. It usually features bigger names than the dunk contest at this point, and allows us to see which players have the best all-around game. I was skeptical at first, but now I kind of like it.
This year, it has the potential to be even better, because it could include a player for which I will have a legitimate rooting interest, and who should be very competitive in this contest. The NBA has named John Wall one of eight finalists, four will be chosen, to compete with Chris Paul in this year's Taco Bell Skills Challenge, according to a press release from the league. You can vote for Wall and any other finalists that might interest you here. More on the other finalists after the jump.
Here are all eight finalists, as well as who I think will make the top four spots.
- John Wall: An absolute no-brainer for the NBA if you ask me. He is a top pick who a lot of fans haven't had the opportunity to see this year. This is the kind of event that was made for him, as long as he doesn't have too much trouble with the shot from the top of the key.
- Baron Davis: Might make it because he is a more recognizable name than others on this list, but I'm not sure that at his current playing weight he could fit through the pylons, let alone dribble through them.
- Tyreke Evans: Another young talented guy who would perform well in this event. He should have the opportunity to participate, but I'm not really sure he is a point guard.
- Derek Fisher: I sent the league an e-mail, still waiting to here back. But I think we can assume that this is some kind of clerical error. No way Fisher belongs in this event. If he makes it over a more exciting guy because he is on the Lakers, it would be a real shame.
Tony Parker: Kind of old for this event. With all the young point guard talent in this league, I'd rather get to know someone knew than continue to learn about somebody I already know a lot about.
Derrick Rose: He'll make it, and I hope he accepts the invitation. I usually only get to watch him when he plays against my favorite team, so it would be nice to root for him for a change.
Russell Westbrook: Same here.
- Stephen Curry: I would like to see how his athleticism and quickness stacks up with some of the other guys who have a better reputation for that kind of thing. But I don't think playing for the Warriors will generate enough interest to get voted in.
If I could pick four guys, I'd choose Wall, Rose, Westbrook and Curry. Three supremely athletic guys, and one guy to change the pace up a little bit. Evans is a great player who is fun to watch, but I don't think this is the type of event for him. But if he made it over Curry, I wouldn't be totally crushed. But if we've learned one thing about fan voting, is that they rarely get it right. So while I'm rooting for those four, I'm preparing to see Parker, Fisher and Baron Davis.