Kevin Durant, Reggie Jackson to Participate in All-Star Saturday

Teamwork! - Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant teams up with the Mailman and Skylar Diggins, while Reggie Jackson joins forces with Goran Dragic.

Via a Thunder Press Release:

"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 of the Milwaukee Bucks on one team, and Michael Carter-Williams of the Philadelphia 76ers and Victor Oladipo of the Orlando Magic on the other. Antetokounmpo, Carter-Williams and Oladipo are also participating in the 2014 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge.

Joining Lillard on one Western Conference team is Trey Burke of the Utah Jazz, while Reggie Jackson of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Goran Dragic of the Phoenix Suns comprise the other."

"Two teams representing the Western Conference and two teams representing the Eastern Conference will compete in the 2014 Sears Shooting Stars. Joining Durant, the three-time NBA scoring champ (2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12) on one Western Conference team are Hall of Famer Karl Malone and the No. 3 overall selection in the 2013 WNBA Draft, Skylar Diggins of the Tulsa Shock. Curry is joined on the second West team by his father, NBA Legend Dell Curry, and six-time WNBA All-Star Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Stars.

The East stand-ins for one team are Tim Hardaway Jr. from the New York Knicks, his father and NBA Legend, Tim Hardaway Sr., and 2013 WNBA Rookie of the Year Elena Della Donne. Two-time NBA champion Bosh is joined by Hall of Fame member Dominique Wilkins and three-time WNBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist Swin Cash of the Chicago Sky."

Okay, so it's actually kind of a bummer that the Thunder don't have a single participant in the three point contest or the dunk contest, which are the only two competitions that anybody actually comes to see. Nonetheless, there's definite fun to be had in the other two competitions as well. I love the idea of Kevin Durant teaming up with the mailman, as well as his female Tulsa equivalent.

How good are KD's chances? Well, he and Curry are the best shooters among the NBA players, but Curry has the distinct advantage of having his father, a well-known three point bomber. Durant, on the other hand, will have to make do with Malone, who was more of a power player with a nice mid-range shot. Easily the worst pairing is that of Bosh and Wilkins, as Bosh can't shoot threes and Wilkins retired less recently than the other legends.  In terms of the WNBA players, Diggins and Donne are young up and comers, while Cash and Hammon are old pros. Still, at the end of the day, this competition features a half-court shot, so it's pretty much up to luck.

The Skills Challenge should be a bit morempo interesting. Jackson will be working with Goran Dragic, a extremely smart and crafty guard out of Slovenia. He's got a great first step and is great about working around his opponents, so he's an ideal partner for the sometimes disorganized RJ.

Luckily, one of the Eastern Conference teams features the notoriously uncoordinated Giannis Antetokounmpo, so they have virtually no chance. But RJ and Dragic should get a good challenge out of Burke and Lillard. Lillard is the more talented player of those two, though Burke has done a good job of stepping into his role in Utah. The last team features a lot of athleticism in Oladipo and Carter-Williams, but it remains to be seen whether that will translate to the Skills Challenge.

For three point contest participants, click here.

For slam dunk contest participants, click here.

For a full run-down of All-Star Events, click here.

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