Photo by Ned Dishman

Donovan Mitchell to Participate in 2018 Taco Bell Skills Challenge

It was announced today that Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell has been selected to take part in the 2018 Taco Bell Skills Challenge. The event will be part of State Farm All-Star Saturday Night at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on Saturday, Feb. 17. The Taco Bell Skills Challenge tips off All-Star Saturday Night, which will be televised by TNT at 6 p.m. MT. Mitchell will also take part in the 2018 MTN Dew Kickstart Rising Stars Game on Friday, Feb. 16. 

In addition to Mitchell, the other Skills Challenge participants include Brooklyn’s Spencer Dinwiddie, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Boston’s Al Horford, Chicago’s Lauri Markkanen, Denver’s Jamal Murray, New York’s Kristaps Porzingis and Los Angeles Clippers’ Lou Williams. 

The three-round, obstacle-course competition, which tests dribbling, passing, agility and three-point-shooting skills, will feature a head-to-head, bracket-style tournament format for the fourth year in a row. Mitchell along with guards Dinwiddie, Murray and Williams will be on one side of the bracket while the four big men (Embiid, Horford, Markkanen and Porzingis) will be on the other side. First-round matchups will be announced at a later date.

Mitchell is just the fourth Jazzman to compete in the Skills Challenge on All-Star Saturday Night, joining Gordon Hayward (2017), Deron Williams (2008, 2010) and Trey Burke (2014, 2015).

In 48 games (40 starts) in his first NBA season, Mitchell is averaging a team-best and rookie-leading 19.3 points, along with 3.4 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 31.9 minutes per game. Mitchell leads all rookies in points scored (924), 20-plus point games (23), 30-plus point games (five), is second in three-pointers made (108) and is the first rookie since Tyreke Evans (2009-10) to average over 19 points, three rebounds, three assists and one steal per contest. Mitchell totaled a Jazz-rookie record 41 points on Dec. 1, marking the first 40-point outing by a first-year player since Blake Griffin in January 2011.

He has earned Kia Western Conference Rookie of the Month honors for games played during December and January and is averaging 22.6 points, 3.6 boards, 3.6 assists and 1.7 steals per contest since Dec. 1.