Grades: Skills Challenge

The Skills Challenge is a three-round, obstacle-course competition that tests dribbling, passing, agility and 3-point shooting. Four frontcourt players join four guards in the eight-player field in a head-to-head, bracket-style tournament format.


Kristaps Porzingis
Knicks | Forward
Grade: A

Results: Won final round vs. Hayward

Forget "Unicorn" -- just call him Point-zingis. Porzingis became the second big man to win the Skills Challenge in as many years since the NBA went to the current bracket format pitting a big man against a guard in the final. Throughout all three rounds, Porzingis showcased strong ballhandling and passing. Oddly enough, the 3-point shot was the only thing to trip Porzingis up. When he made his first attempt in the final, that earned Porzingis the trophy.

Gordon Hayward
Jazz | Guard
Grade: A-minus

Results: Lost in final round vs. Porzingis

At 6-foot-8, Hayward was an unlikely representative of the little guys in the final. He was step for step with Porzingis until the two players pulled up for the 3 that completes the competition. Hayward was off, Porzingis made his, and that was the difference.

Nikola Jokic
Nuggets | Forward
Grade: B

Results: Lost in second round vs. Porzingis

After openly campaigning to participate in the Skills Challenge before being chosen as a replacement for the injured Joel Embiid, Jokic was entertaining, reaching the semifinals. Seemingly hopelessly behind against Porzingis in that round, Jokic made the unprecedented move of launching a 3 from far beyond the arc. He knocked it down ... but just after Porzingis made his closer attempt.

Isaiah Thomas
Celtics | Guard
Grade: B-minus

Results: Lost in second round vs. Hayward

Thomas cruised to victory against Devin Booker in the opening round and was one win away from returning to the final for a second consecutive year. However, Thomas struggled against Hayward in the semifinals and was unable to avenge his 2016 final loss.

Anthony Davis
Pelicans | Forward
Grade: C-plus

Results: Lost in first round vs. Jokic

It looked like Davis, the hometown favorite, was going to move on when he took a commanding early lead over Nikola Jokic. However, Davis' misses from 3-point range opened the door for Jokic.

John Wall
Wizards | Guard
Grade: C-plus

Results: Lost in first round vs. Hayward

Wall wasn't bad, aside from some early issues with the chest pass. But when he missed his first 3-pointer, that allowed Hayward to come from behind and knock him out of the competition.

DeMarcus Cousins
Kings | Forward
Grade: C

Results: Lost in first round vs. Porzingis

Cousins didn't hit top speed moving up and down the court with the ball. He might have been able to make up for it by making his first 3-point attempt, but that was off and Cousins' night was over.

Devin Booker
Suns | Guard
Grade: D

Results: Lost in first round vs. Thomas

Every year, there's a competitor who doesn't take the Skills Challenge seriously, and Booker won that dubious honor Saturday. He wasn't close to completing a chest pass and didn't even get a 3-point attempt up before being eliminated by Isaiah Thomas.