Steve Nash to compete in Skills Challenge

Along with starting in the 2010 NBA All-Star Game, Suns point guard Steve Nash will compete in the Skills Challenge. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Phoenix Suns are the only NBA team with two starters in the 2010 All-Star Game, but their involvement doesn’t stop there.

It was reported last week that Channing Frye would participate in the Three-Point Shootout, and it was announced Tuesday that point guard Steve Nash would compete in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge in Dallas on Feb. 13 as part of the All-Star Saturday Night festivities.

Nash, the league’s second-leading passer this season with 11.1 assists per game, won the competition in 2005. Although Nash’s game has seemed to decline very little in the past five years, he does face much younger competition in this year’s challenge.

Chicago Bulls second-year point guard Derrick Rose — who bested Nash recently in a 32-point, five assist win in Phoenix — will attempt to defend the skills title he won here in the Valley last season. Utah Jazz point guard Deron Williams, the skills champ in 2008 and owner of the best-ever time in the competition, will also participate.

The only participant in this year’s challenge without a previous skills title is Milwaukee Bucks rookie point guard Brandon Jennings, who currently averages a rookie-high 6.3 assists per game.

The skills competition features a two-round timed “obstacle course” that consists of dribbling, passing and shooting stations. The two fastest players advance to the second round.

With four of the NBA’s most prolific passers taking center stage, this could be a very close competition. As a 36-year-old at the time of the competition, Nash will play the role of seasoned veteran in the event against Williams (25), Rose (21), and Jennings (20), who skipped college for a year of ball in Europe before coming to the NBA.

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