The field for the NBA Skills Challenge is set, and defending champion Tony Parker will have a group of young players chasing him for the crown.
At 30 years old, Tony Parker seemingly hasn't lost a step. He arguably has gained one in leading the aging San Antonio Spurs the past two seasons as Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan have slowed down, so much so that Gregg Popovich's team hasn't done anything but continue to win.
Parker's game has never been better, and his invite to again take part in the 2013 NBA All-Star Skills Challenge is a nice gesture by the league to showcase what the Spurs point guard has been doing. The second event of the NBA All-Star Saturday night will feature Parker and five considerably younger players, all of whom will be gunning at the elder statesman who won the event in 2012.
The Houston Rockets' Jeremy Lin and Trail Blazer's rookie Damian Lillard join Parker in representing the Western Conference. Sixers point guard Jrue Holiday, Pistons guard Brandon Knight and the Hawks' Jeff Teague fill out the Eastern Conference competitors.
Parker has at least six years of age on the field and eight years of experience -- Teague and Holiday have the most NBA experience, as each are in their fourth seasons, a far cry from Parker's 12th.
How do each of the six participants stack up in the Skills Challenge?
Probably the shiftiest player in the field, that alone might give the Spurs point guard the best odds of again coming away with a victory. Experience in the event itself should also go in his advantage. With a solid mid-range jumper and all the tools for each of the obstacles, call it Parker's to lose.
While not a player with great top-end speed, Lin's solid change-of-direction could give him a leg up on the rest of the competition.
Youth isn't necessarily the worst thing in the Skills Challenge. Lillard can look to then second-year pro Stephen Curry, who took the 2011 crown. His automatic jumper is perhaps his best asset.
By far the biggest and longest player in the event, Holiday will be challenged in the dribbling maze and must make up for that in the straightaways and by hitting his jump shots quickly. That said, he's the best pure athlete in the field.
Statistically the worst shooter in the group, the Pistons' second-year guard can't get hung up on the shooting portion of the event. Knight is also far behind the others in assists per game too, though that may have little to do with his skillset and more to do with his Detroit team.
The Atlanta guard could be a darkhorse to upset Parker in this one. While the success of players like Wade might hint that size and speed don't matter in the event, the overarching theme in the Skills Challenge seems to be a deadly mid-range jump shot.
Rules: Check out the rules and format of the event here.
Time: NBA All-Star Saturday night begins at 8:30 p.m. ET
Order: The evening begins with the Shooting Stars competition before the Skill Challenge leads into the Three-Point Contest and then the Slam Dunk event.