Big men own the All-Star Skills Challenge.
Bam Adebayo won it last year, joining fellow bigs Kristaps Porzingis and Karl-Anthony Towns as event champions.
Add Domantas Sabonis to the list.
The Indiana Pacers’ All-Star big man, who was the runner-up in the event a year ago, won the 2021 edition by beating out Nikola Vucevic by being the first to drain his three after a few misses.
“It was fun… I wanted to make sure I won it this time,” Sabonis said in his televised postgame interview.
Sabonis started the competition by beating the Knicks’ Julius Randle because he made his pass on the first shot, which gave Sabonis a cushion. He then hit his three on the first shot.
After that, Vucevic beat Robert Covington by hitting his first three, and he also had a small lead because he made his pass. Before the event Covington, the NBA’s lone current player out of an HBUC, donated $25,000 scholarships to students from his alma mater Tennessee State.
Luka Doncic and Chris Paul had byes into the second round, but it didn’t help them.
Sabonis beat Doncic as Luka — wearing his warmup sweats — didn’t nail the pass until the third attempt, which put him behind and Sabonis hit his three for the win. Vucevic beat CP3 because neither could knock down the three quickly, but Vucevic did on the third one (Paul was a little behind because he missed the layup).
All that set up the Vucevic vs. Sabonis finals.
Next year, bet on the bigs for the All-Star Skills Challenge. That’s where the money is.