Bucks rookie standout Giannis Antetokounmpo added yet another event to his NBA All Star weekend itinerary. At just nineteen, the youngest player in the league, the native of Greece has earned an invitation to the 11th annual Skills Challenge during the mid-season break in New Orleans. Just six first-year players have taken part in the showcase, including former Bucks guard Brandon Jennings, and many have gone on to win rookie of the year.
Antetokounmpo's prospects of garnering that prestigious honor are bleak, especially as a member of the worst team in the NBA. The chance to play in the Skills Challenge, however, as a rookie, is something not to be squandered. Derrik Rose, Chris Paul, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Dwyane Wade are just a few of the past competitors, as is Damian Lillard, who became the first freshman to win the challenge last year. Antetokounmpo's performance at the 2014 Skills Challenge could be a major boost to his future projections.
The Skills Challenge is a timed head-to-head competition that pits players against each other in various dribbling, shooting, and passing drills. Antetokounmpo has excelled in those areas as part of the Bucks roster, posting over 80 assists and 320 points in 45 games. His opponents in this year's February 15h event are Lillard, who will attempt to defend his title, DeMar DeRozan, Michael Carter-Williams, Victor Oladipo, Trey Burke, Goran Dragic, and Reggie Jackson.
Antetokounmpo will also attend the Rising Stars Challenge at the 2014 All Star weekend. The freshman versus sophomore game is one of the highlights of the games, and features the best in both classes. The Rising Stars Challenge takes place on February 14.