Yesterday, the NBA announced that Trey Burke, the Utah Jazz guard and defending champion, has been selected to take part in the 2015 Taco Bell Skills Challenge, as part of State Farm All-Star Saturday Night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on February 14. Burke will also be taking part in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge tonight in Brooklyn.
TNT will be exclusively televising the Skills Challenge. The event will be featuring a head-to-head, bracket-style tournament format for the first time. The eight-player field consists of three-rounds in an obstacle-course competition, which shall be testing dribbling, passing, agility and shooting skills. The Skills Challenge format calls for two players to compete simultaneously on an identical course with the fastest finisher reaching the next round. In the first round, he eight players have been paired to participate in four head-to-head competitions. Burke will be matching up against Brandon Knight of the Milwaukee Bucks. The four winners will then advance to the second round, where the finalists will be determined by two more head-to-head showdowns.
Burke will be making his second appearance in the Skills Challenge, after having teamed with Portland’s Damian Lillard to win the competition last year in New Orleans. As the ninth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, Burke has appeared in 48 games (41 starts) this season, averaging at 13 points, 2.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 32.1 minutes. The 6-1 guard has scored in double figures in 34 contests, including 20-plus points on six separate occasions. Burke has also registered three double-doubles of 10-plus assists and 10-plus points. Burk is the second person on the Utah Jazz to compete in the Skills Challenge on All-Star Saturday Night. Back in 2008, Deron Williams won, and competed again in 2010. As well as Burke vs. Knight, the other Skills Challenge matchups will include Kyle Lowry of Toronto facing Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Atlanta’s Jeff Teague and Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams, and Philadelphia’s Isaiah Thomas against Washington’s John Wall.