Minnesota Timberwolves forward/center Karl-Anthony Towns today was named as one of the participants in the 2016 Taco Bell Skills Challenge that will take place on Saturday night of All-Star Weekend. Towns is the first Timberwolves player to participate in the NBA All-Star Skills Challenge.
Towns’ competitors include DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings, Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans and Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors. Defending champion Patrick Beverley of the Houston Rockets and fellow guards Jordan Clarkson of the Los Angeles Lakers, CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers and All-Star Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics complete the lineup for the three-round, obstacle-course competition that tests dribbling, passing, agility and three-point-shooting skills. A head-to-head, bracket-style tournament format will be used for the second year in a row.
“I’m looking forward to competing in the Skills Challenge and seeing how I stack up against other players, especially other big men,” Towns said. “Along with also competing in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge with my teammates Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins, I am honored and excited to represent the Minnesota Timberwolves. It will be a fun weekend.”
The Taco Bell 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, the eight players are paired to participate in four head-to-head competitions. The four winners advance to the second round, where two more head-to-head showdowns determine the two finalists. Complete rules can be found at mediacentral.nba.com.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, Towns ranks 10th in the NBA in rebounding (9.9 rpg), 6th in field goal percentage (53.8%), 9th in blocks (1.78 bpg) and 6th in double-doubles (27). He leads all rookies in rebounding, field goal percentage, free throw percentage (84.9%) and double-doubles and is second in scoring (16.5 ppg), blocks and minutes (29.8 mpg).Towns was named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for November, December and January.
Towns has posted 13 20/10 games and nine 25/10 games. On Jan. 20 at Dallas, he recorded 27 points, 17 rebounds and six blocks, becoming the second Wolves player to record a 25+ point/15+ rebound/5+ block game (Kevin Garnett 5 times).[Source: Minnesota Timberwolves press release]