The biggest big of the bigs took home of the Taco Bell Skills Challenge on Saturday night. Kristaps Porzingis showcased his all-around skills to defeat DeMarcus Cousins in the first round, Nikola Jokic in the second, and Gordon Hayward in the final matchup between the guard and big.
It's a good feeling that I'm able to showcase my skill with my size and show to the kids that you're capable of doing that even if you're tall and lanky like me,” Porzingis articulated following the win. “I think a lot of kids now growing up will improve those perimeter skills just seeing guys like -- I don't want to mention myself, but big guys with perimeter skills that can do it.”
The Taco Bell Skills Challenge features an obstacle course with the participants passing the ball through a tire, weaving through cardboard defenders, finishing a layup, and hitting the 3-pointer. The 7-3 Porzingis nailed the chest pass on each of his course runs.
“Before we started doing it, while I was doing the walk through, I knew that the pass and the shot on the three-pointer was the most important parts of that. And I was able to make the pass on the first try all three times. And then in the final, that last shot just went in. So just a little bit of luck,” Porzingis added.
Last year, Karl-Anthony Towns won the title for the big men and now, Porzingis makes it two consecutive successful Skills Challenges for the 7-footers. The question begs, will we see Porzingis defend the crown?
“I don't know yet. When next year comes, I've got to make a decision again. But I should defend this trophy for sure,” Porzingis smiled.
The Knicks standout second-year man completes a clean sweep of his 2017 All-Star festivities. On Friday night, Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez helped the World team dispatch the USA team in the Rising Stars Challenge. Porzingis scored 24 points and grabbed 10 boards in the victory.
by Jonah Ballow