Jokić to Compete In the Skills Challenge

DENVER, Feb. 14, 2017 – The NBA announced today that Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokić has been selected to replace injured Joel Embiid in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans during NBA All-Star 2017.

Jokić, 21, has appeared in 48 games (34 starts) for Denver this season, averaging 16.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 26.8 minutes per game, making him one of just five players to average 16.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists this season (Antetokounmpo, Cousins, Griffin, Westbrook,). Among second year players, Jokić ranks second in rebounding, third in assists and fourth in scoring. He also ranks fourth in the NBA among all centers in assists per game and has registered at least five helpers in 19 games.

The second year center has posted his first two triple doubles over his last seven games. His first was a 20-point, 12-rebound, 11-assist performance in a win vs. Milwaukee on Feb. 3 at home to become just the second Nugget center ever with a point/rebound/assist triple-double. The second triple-double of the young Serbian center’s career was an historic 17-point, 21-rebound, 12-assist display in a win vs. Golden State on Feb. 13, making him only the third player since 1968 to post those numbers in a game (Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain both did so on the exact same day in 1968).

Jokić, who was selected by Denver with the 41st overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft, will also be competing for the second straight year as a member of Team World in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night.

The Taco Bell® Skills Challenge is part of State Farm® All-Star Saturday Night, which will be exclusively televised by TNT in the United States at 7:30 p.m. ET. The event also will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio. The other participants in the Skills Challenge are Devin Booker (Suns), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento), Anthony Davis (Pelicans), Gordon Hayward (Utah), Kristaps Porzingis (Knicks), Isaiah Thomas (Celtics) and John Wall (Wizards).

The Taco Bell® Skills Challenge is a three-round, obstacle-course competition that tests dribbling, passing, agility and three-point-shooting skills. Four frontcourt players will join four guards in the eight-player field – the second time in the event’s 15-year history that multiple frontcourt players will compete. A head-to-head, bracket-style tournament format will be used for the second year in a row.