Portland’s Damian Lillard is an NBA All-Star Saturday night skills challenge champion for a second straight year.
The team of Lillard and Trey Burke, representing the Western Conference, beat the tandem of Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo of the East in the final round by a tenth of a second.
The skills course consists of dribbling around obstacles, passing to targets, and hitting shots from medium and close range. The winning time was 45.2 seconds.
In the first round, Lillard and Burke beat Phoenix’s Goran Dragic and Oklahoma City’s Reggie Jackson. Associated Press
Lillard and Burke’s final round was exciting but the rest of the event was not captivating. I was watching with my fiance and literally missed entire rounds during casual conversations while my eyes were on the screen.
Watching professional basketball guards do these events is not entertaining, but what if you asked some big men to do these drills? Or what about asking Magic Johnson to come back, Gary Payton and some other legends of the point guard position? Would they actually decline an invitation to competitively perform on a national stage in 50-second bursts? How about a team consisting of a player with the celebrity of their choosing?
Also, I hope that NBA officials keep in mind that fans care about seeing the best players compete more than anything else, not conference allegiance through an East versus West format. It was a bad idea for here, but worked out even worse for the dunk contest.
There are some other ways to tinker with the Skills Challenge but it’s was a snore fest as is. There’s no denying that. – AL
Featured image courtesy of Josh Hallett/Flickr.