The Washington Wizards are perhaps the most dysfunctional team in the league outside of the Sacramento Kings. There’s no doubting that Wall was the no-brainer number-one pick in a draft that didn’t boast that much talent, but he’s simply not in the best situation and for that reason I feel as sorry for a millionaire who plays basketball for a living. So should he be leading the charge in my Taco Bell Skills Challenge predictions?
Let’s break down the contenders:
Chris Paul (+200 to win Skills Challenge)
The favorite is Chris Paul, who is good at the technical aspects of basketball that is almost unconscionable to bet against him. The thing is that he’s not as fast as he used to be, and you can blame that bionic excuse he has for a leg. I really like Paul in a setting like this, but there’s a reason I can’t back him with a Skills Challenge prediction. He is technically the most ideal person to be running this kind of challenge. Not a bad bet at all.
Derrick Rose (+250 to win Skills Challenge)
The 2009 NBA All-Star Skills Challenge winner has his hands full. The field is bigger than usual, and Rose is also just two nights removed from a gang buster’s performance against San Antonio. Rose has been fighting for respect his entire NBA career, and little moral victories put him on the map. However, I think he might save something in the tank for the actual All-Star game (and yes I’m thinking that because I think he’s going to be the MVP).
Russell Westbrook (+250 to win Skills Challenge)
Westbrook plays angry and is much more explosive in games than he is running around pylons and trying to bounce pass in to a peach basket. The vitriol won’t be there for Westbrook to push him over the top. And I love Westbrook, but I can’t back him in this type of virtually pointless setting. His competitive just won’t shine through.
Stephen Curry (+300 to win Skills Challenge)
Curry’s a shooter. He’s not a slasher, he’s not renowned for his speed nor is he a magician with the ball technically. Last year he bowed out because of his ankles, and considering that they’re “that” much worse…I don’t trust his odds. That’s why he’s the longshot here.
THE PICK – John Wall (+300 to win Skills Challenge)
Speed. Speed. More speed. Reckless abandon. The fact that he hasn’t been around a bunch of winners in a long time. He has swagger. His technical skills are there. He needs a personal win. Take your pick for any reason why, but Wall not only has the most attractive odds to win the Skills Challenge, but nobody needs it more than he does emotionally.
Because of how bad his team is, Wall hasn’t been in a situation where he can win all that much. When it’s about him – and just him – he’ll have the time of his freaking life. “It’s on me? I don’t have to rely on Andray Blatche or Nick Young? This is AWESOME! Watch me go!” That’s a big reason why Wall’s getting my vote as the best bet in my Taco Bell Skills Challenge predictions, and if you’re not as inclined as I am than the next best bet is still Derrick Rose.