Grades: Rising Stars | Celebrity | Skills | 3s | Dunk | All-Star Game
The Skills Challenge is a three-round, obstacle-course competition that tests dribbling, passing, agility and 3-point shooting. Four frontcourt players join four guards in the eight-player field in a head-to-head, bracket-style tournament format.
Jordan Clarkson, Lakers | Grade: C
Results: Lost to C.J. McCollum
Analysis: Clarkson delivered a reasonably solid effort in the opening round but lost to C.J. McCollum.
C.J. McCollum, Blazers | Grade: B-
Results: Beat Jordan Clarkson, lost to Isaiah Thomas
Analysis: During an opening-round win, McCollum's loose dribble saved time. No such luck in Round 2, as McCollum lost the ball while navigating the NBA logos and fell hopelessly behind Isaiah Thomas.
Isaiah Thomas, Celtics | Grade: A-
Analysis: His fellow guards were no problem for first-time All-Star Thomas, who used his quickness and accurate passing to advance to the final. Once there, Thomas let down little men everywhere by repeatedly missing 3-pointers and allowing the big men to steal the crown in the first year of a new format.
Emmanuel Mudiay, Nuggets* | Grade: D
Results: Lost to Isaiah Thomas
Analysis: Coming off an impressive performance in the Rookie Challenge, Mudiay struggled with the skills course, missing his first pass and mishandling the ball in the open court. Thomas was able to miss his first shot and still beat Mudiay.
*Replaced injured Rockets PG Patrick Beverley
Draymond Green, Warriors | Grade: C-
Results: Lost to Karl-Anthony Towns
Analysis: Green was doing well until it came time to complete the skills course with a 3-pointer from the top of the key. He missed both attempts.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Wolves | Grade: A
Results: Beat Draymond Green, beat DeMarcus Cousins, beat Isaiah Thomas
Analysis: Score one for the big men! Towns got comfortable after enjoying additional practice with the skills course, crushing Cousins to advance to the final. There, Towns' long strides and on-target passes gave him the opportunity to knock off Thomas and prove to doubters (including teammate Ricky Rubio, according to Towns) that bigs do have skills.
Anthony Davis, Pelicans | Grade: C
Results: Lost to DeMarcus Cousins
Analysis: In another matchup of John Calipari products, Davis lost to Cousins because he missed two 3-point attempts.
DeMarcus Cousins, Kings | Grade: C-
Results: Beat Anthony Davis, lost to Karl-Anthony Towns
Analysis: Cousins was lucky to win his opening-round matchup after fumbling the ball and missing all three of his passes (he was 1-of-6 overall in the passing segment). That didn't carry over in Round 2, as Cousins was wiped away by fellow Kentucky product Towns.