The 2023 All-Star weekend events get started with the Skills Challenge, which will feature three teams going through a series of drills to accumulate points. This year, we’ll have Team Jazz featuring Jordan Clarkson, Collin Sexton and Walker Kessler, Team Rookies featuring Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith and Jaden Ivey, and Team Antetokounmpos featuring Giannis, Alex and Thanasis. The Antetokoumpo brothers competed in last year’s challenge as well.
There are three rounds in the challenge. The first round is a team relay, the second round is team passing and the third round is team shooting. The first two rounds are worth 100 points each and the third round is worth 200 points. If two teams are tied after three rounds, the tiebreaker is a half-court shootout where the team to make a half-court shot the quickest wins.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Team Jazz are the favorites at -120. Team Rookies come in at +140 and Team Antetokounmpos are +475.
2023 Skills Challenge Updates
Team Antetokounmpos finish Round 3 with eight points, and that seemed like a bad score. However, Team Rookies put up just three points, so it’s up to Team Jazz to win this event. Walker Kessler ended up hitting the winning shot for Team Jazz, who go on to win the event. The hometown team has won this event the last two years, with Team Cavs winning last year. If you took Team Jazz at -120, you’re a winner. That’s a wrap from the Skills Challenge.
Team Jazz win the team shooting round to win #KiaSkills!#StateFarmSaturday on TNT pic.twitter.com/SBDltATtwi— #NBAAllStar (@NBAAllStar) February 19, 2023
Team Antetokounmpos had a strong showing in Round 2 in team passing with 84 total points. Holiday led the way with 42 points individually. Team Rookies only managed 78 points. Team Jazz had a monster score with 88 points, as Walker Kessler led the way for his group. That’s 100 points in the overall Skills Challenge standings for Team Jazz.
Walker Kessler went off in Team Passing!— NBA (@NBA) February 19, 2023
Team Jazz win the round.#KiaSkills x #StateFarmSaturday on TNT pic.twitter.com/ad6Y8209aX
Team Jazz were unable to get the job done, and the rookies have the lead in this Skills Challenge after the first round. Clarkson was quite casual with his start in the relay, and that might’ve led to the Jazz stumbling a bit. Team Rookies at +140 is looking solid right now.
Team Rooks puts up the fastest time in the team relay round of #KiaSkills!#StateFarmSaturday on TNT pic.twitter.com/zpI7X3ARGA— #NBAAllStar (@NBAAllStar) February 19, 2023
The rookies were the second team up and they have beaten the time set by the Antetokounmpos and Holiday by 8.9 seconds. We’ll see if Team Jazz can beat that time or if the rookies will grab 100 points to start this Skills Challenge.
Jaden Ivey finishes the team relay round strong for Team Rooks at #KiaSkills... they lead early!#StateFarmSaturday underway on TNT pic.twitter.com/8UQsXSdEnB— NBA (@NBA) February 19, 2023
Team Antetokounmpos and Holiday go first in the relay and complete the course in 1:23. There were a couple bad air balls on the corner shot from Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Holiday, but that’s still a solid score. We’ll see if the Jazz and the rookies can beat this.
We’ve got our first official update on Giannis Antetokounmpo. Jrue Holiday will step in for him tonight in the Skills Challenge, which means the Greek Freak is not 100% with his wrist injury and will likely be limited for Sunday’s All-Star Game as well.
Jrue Holiday is officially stepping in for Giannis Antetokounmpo in the Skills Challenge tonight— Darius Joshua (@DariusJoshuaTV) February 19, 2023