Houston Rockets: Patrick Beverley Replaces Wall in Skills Challenge


Houston Rockets: Patrick Beverley Replaces John Wall in  All-Star Skills Competition

We knew John Wall had been nursing an injured ankle and migraines lately, but news yesterday he was pulling out of the State Farm All Star Saturday Night event was a surprise.

Jan 31, 2015; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) dribbles the ball during the second quarter against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Wall is still scheduled to play in the Sunday All-Star Game which is great given he is a starter, but his cancellation from the Saturday night meant a spot opened up in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge.

Patrick Beverley was named as his replacement and will have his hands full in the first round as he faces off against Phoenix Suns speedster Isaiah Thomas.

Should he win round one he’ll play the winner of the heat between Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks vs. Michael Carter-Williams of the Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers.

The opposite side features a round one of:

Kyle Lowry from the Toronto Raptors  versus Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls.

Both of these players are also in the Sunday All Star Game, Lowry as a starter and Butler as a reserve. However, Butler’s presence wasn’t guaranteed given he hurt his shoulder this week but an MRI today revealed it was just a strain. For now he remains slated to appear in both the skills competition and Sunday’s game.

Completing the 8-men roster is Trey Burke from the Utah Jazz versus Brandon Knight of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Knight was thought to be a front runner to replace Dwayne Wade on Sunday when he pulled out with an injury, but another Atlanta Hawk (Kyle Korver was added instead).

Made me wonder with three Hawks already on the team why they wouldn’t consider adding DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors, but hey I don’t make the picks.

In essence each side of the bracket will play rounds one and two and the winners will face off in the final round to determine the winner.

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Beverley will have his hands full as Thomas is likely the fastest player on the court so he’ll need to make sure he hits his passes. The most critical part will be at the end of the race when the players will run back to the start and have 3 balls available to hit a 3-point shot.

The night begins at 8:30 Eastern with the Shooting Stars competition which features a current NBA player with a retired player and a female WNBA player. The Taco Bell Skills Challenge is the second event of the night.

In a twist the event expected to un-seed the usual highlight event (Sprite Slam Dunk) is the Foot Locker Three-Point competition which features arguably the best line-up of 3-point shooters ever. James Harden will join the Splash Brothers (Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson), last years’ winner Marco Belinelli, Kyle Korver, J.J. Redick, Wesley Matthews and Kyrie Irving.