The 2013 NBA Skills Challenges is set to tip off in a few hours, so me, Brad Rowland, Ben Beecken and Reece Hooker sat down to talk about it. We talk about the overall merits of this contest at All-Star Weekend, our predictions and how badly Tony Parker wants to avoid being stuck in this challenge ever again.
1. Who comes first?
Brad: I’m taking Jeff Teague. Reasoning should really go out the window with regard to picking the winner in this contest, but I’ll at least entertain some analysis to begin with. Teague is one of the two fastest guys in the contest (along with Jrue Holiday) and I’ll take the guy who is only there to participate in this one event over the guy who is playing in the game. I think he’ll try really hard, and that’s the key here. The real answer? Anyone but Tony Parker has a chance to win.
Seerat: I’m going with Damian Lillard. First of all, he’s a rookie so he’ll actually be excited to be in the contest. More importantly, he’s quick. Not to mention, now that the Rising Stars Game is over, this’ll be his last event.
2. How far will Tony Parker go to assure he won’t win?
Brad: Parker may just sit down on the court during his 1st run. The defending champ likely wants no part of returning for a 3rd straight season, so he’ll either go half-speed (the most likely option) or he’ll tank some of the passing challenges in order to lose. Parker doesn’t strike me as a guy who even cares enough to make it “look” close.
Seerat: Tony Parker hasn’t wanted to play in this contest since 2009. I think that says it all. I have a feeling he might actually miss a dunk on purpose to ensure he won’t come out ahead.
3. Does anyone even like this contest?
Brad: My question is: Does ANYONE like this contest? I guess I could see the appeal in creating it, as the league looks for a 3rd signature event to fill a 3-hour broadcast, but this isn’t it. There is zero excitement in watching guys dribble throw cones or pass through hoops, and the effort level is usually pretty low from the participants. How about a trick shot contest? Or H-O-R-S-E involving specialty dribbling/moves? I don’t know what the solution is, but watching Jeremy Lin fumble through a bounce pass isn’t high on my priority list.
Seerat: The Skills Challenge can be considered “filler” on All-Star Saturday. And for filler, you could do a lot worse. The silver lining is that we’ll occasionally see a very flashy dunk from one of the rookies. At the same time, the idea of watching Jeff Teague accurately throw a ball throw a tire-sized hole isn’t exactly inspiring.