The NBA announced Thursday that DeMar DeRozan (@DeMar_DeRozan) will participate in the 2014 Taco Bell Skills Challenge as part of State Farm All-Star Saturday Night. He is the first Raptor to participate in the event. The Taco Bell Skills Challenge will take place February 15 at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans and will be broadcasted on TSN2 and TNT beginning at 8:00 p.m. (ET).
DeRozan was recently named as a reserve to the Eastern Conference team for the 2014 All-Star Game. He became the fourth Raptor selected to the game, joining Vince Carter (5X), Antonio Davis and Chris Bosh (5X). New Orleans will mark DeRozan’s third appearance at NBA All-Star Weekend. He participated in the Sprite Slam Dunk in 2010 and 2011 and played in the 2011 T-Mobile Rookie Challenge.
DeRozan was selected ninth overall in the 2009 NBA Draft. This season he is averaging career highs in points (22.0), rebounds (4.6), assists (3.8), steals (1.17), blocks (0.45) and minutes (37.6). DeRozan ranks 12th in the NBA in scoring and seventh in minutes. He has scored 30 or more points six times this year, including a career-high 40 points January 22 vs. Dallas.
The Taco Bell Skills Challenge is introducing a new format that features four teams of two players each competing in a two-round timed relay-style course consisting of dribbling, passing and shooting stations.
Representing the Eastern Conference are DeRozan and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee) on one team, and Michael Carter-Williams (Philadelphia) and Victor Oladipo (Orlando) on the other.
Joining Damian Lillard (Portland) on one Western Conference team is Trey Burke (Utah), while Reggie Jackson (Oklahoma City) and Goran Dragic (Phoenix) comprise the other.
All teams must observe basic NBA ball-handling rules while completing the course. The fastest team from each Conference during the First Round will advance to the Championship Round. The fastest team in the Championship Round will win the 2014 Taco Bell Skills Challenge.