NEW YORK — Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic will replace injured Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid in the 2017 Taco Bell® Skills Challenge on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. ET. In addition, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Alex Abrines will replace Embiid on the World Team in the 2017 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 17 at 9 p.m. ET.
Both events are part of NBA All-Star festivities at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Embiid is currently sidelined with a left knee injury.
In his second season, Jokic is averaging 16.3 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 48 games (34 starts). He ranks sixth in the NBA in field goal percentage at 59.0. The 21-year-old Serbian has recorded two triple-doubles in February, including a 17-point, 21-rebound, 12-assist performance in Denver’s 132-110 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Feb. 13. In addition, he scored a career-high 40 points in a 131-123 win over the New York Knicks on Feb. 10.
Jokic will also compete in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge. He will now be joined on the World Team by Abrines, a rookie guard from Spain. Abrines, 23, is averaging 5.4 points in 13.9 minutes in 45 games, and he ranks fourth among first-year players in three-point field goals made (53) and three-point field goal percentage (37.3).
The BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge and the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge will both be televised by TNT and will also be available on the Watch TNT App and on TNT Overtime. In addition, the competitions will be broadcast on ESPN Radio, with audio also available on the ESPN app. The Taco Bell® Skills Challenge is part of State Farm® All-Star Saturday Night.