Bill Smith/Chicago Bulls
Jimmy Butler to compete in 2015 Taco Bell Skills Challenge
Feb. 5, 2015 – Four guards from the Eastern Conference All-Star team – starters John Wall of the Washington Wizards and Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors, as well as reserves Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls and Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks – and defending champion Trey Burke of the Utah Jazz will headline the 2015 Taco Bell® Skills Challenge during State Farm®All-Star Saturday Night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Saturday, Feb. 14.
TNT will exclusively televise the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge, which features a head-to-head, bracket-style tournament format for the first time. The Philadelphia 76ers’ Michael Carter-Williams, the Milwaukee Bucks’ Brandon Knight and the Phoenix Suns’ Isaiah Thomas complete an eight-player field for the three-round, obstacle-course competition that tests dribbling, passing, agility and shooting skills
Wall, who leads the NBA in assists (10.2 apg), will be appearing in the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge for the third time. His first-round opponent will be Thomas, who ranks second in scoring among NBA reserves (15.4 ppg). Wall will also play in his second All-Star Game, on Sunday, Feb. 15, at Madison Square Garden, where he will be joined by first-time All-Stars Lowry, Butler and Teague.
Lowry, the Kia NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month for December, is matched up in the first round of the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge against Butler, the Kia NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month for October/November. Teague, one of three All-Stars for the East-leading Hawks, faces Carter-Williams, the 2013-14 KiaNBA Rookie of the Year. Carter-Williams will also compete in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 13, at Barclays Center, as will Burke, who was part of last year’s winning team in the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge. Burke’s first-round opponent will be Knight, who leads the Bucks in scoring (17.9 ppg) and assists (5.3 apg).
The Taco Bell® Skills Challenge 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. Complete rules can be found at mediacentral.nba.com.