PHOENIX – Phoenix Suns guard Isaiah Thomas will be one of eight participants to take part in the 2015 Taco Bell Skills Challenge, the league announced today. The event will be part of State Farm All-Star Saturday Night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Feb. 14.
The Taco Bell Skills Challenge, which will be televised exclusively on TNT, will feature a head-to-head, bracket-style tournament format for the first time. The eight-player field will compete in a three-round, obstacle-course challenge that tests dribbling, passing, agility and shooting skills. The head-to-head format calls for two players to compete simultaneously on an identical course with the fastest finisher reaching the next round.
Thomas will face Washington Wizards guard John Wall in the first round with the winner of that showdown facing the winner of Philadelphia 76ers guard Michael Carter-Williams and Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague in the second round. Also competing in the event will be Utah Jazz guard Trey Burke, Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Knight, Chicago Bulls guard/forward Jimmy Butler and Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry.
Thomas will become the fourth Suns player to compete in the Skills Challenge on All-Star Saturday Night, joining Stephon Marbury (2003), Steve Nash (2005, 2006, 2010) and Goran Dragic (2014). Nash is a two-time winner of the event, taking the title in 2005 and 2010.
Thomas, who along with his Suns’ teammates take on the Portland Trail Blazers tonight at 8:30 p.m. (Phoenix time) on TNT, is averaging 15.4 points while shooting 43.0 percent from the field, a career-high 40.0 percent from three-point range and 87.6 percent from the free throw line this season. I.T.’s scoring average of 15.4 points ranks second in the NBA among reserves, and his 87.6 percent mark from the free throw line ranks 11th among all qualified players in the league.
This will be Thomas’ second time participating in an event at All-Star Weekend as he also played in the 2013 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge in Houston, scoring 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting in addition to recording a game-high-tying 10 assists for the victorious Team Chuck.