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Porzingis to Defend Skills Challenge Crown in L.A.

The reigning Skills Challenge champ—and now All-Star—will defend the title during the 2018 All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles.

The NBA on Thursday announced the field for “All-Star Saturday night,” the league’s showcase of dunks, threes, and skills challenge. The New York Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis will compete in the Skills Challenge, the contest he won a year ago.

The Skills Challenge includes both guards and big men; in the second year of the new format, Porzingis defeated 2015 draft classmate Karl-Anthony Towns to win the “bigs” bracket and defeated then–Utah Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward to win the competition.

Players normally go through an obstacle course laid out on the hardwood, which includes a passing drill, a layup line, a dribbling drill, and a three-point attempt on the other end. The mix of ball-handling, passing, speed, and accuracy tests a complete game for players, and in both instances of the new bracket format of bigs and guards a seven-footer has won (with Towns winning the year before Porzingis).

On Friday, Knicks rookie Frank Ntilikina will compete in the Rising Stars Challenge, the rookie–sophomore game split by nationality for squads. Porzingis, after defending his Skills Challenge title, will play in the All-Star Game on Sunday on Team LeBron as a reserve.

UPDATE 9:20 p.m. EST.

The NBA’s list of Skills Challenge competitors is as follows:

Managing Editor of The Knicks Wall. Still not over the ’94 Finals. Andy Bernard levels of Cornell love.

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