PHOENIX — Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic will participate in the Taco Bell Skills competition on the Saturday of All-Star weekend. Dragic was one of eight players selected and will be teamed up with Oklahoma City Thunder guard Reggie Jackson in a new format that will feature four teams of two.
Though the announcement came about Thursday, apparently this was old news for The Dragon.
“I already knew that a few days ago,” Dragic said. “They invited me so I said I wanted to try it.”
Dragic is averaging 20.1 points, 6.0 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game to lead the Suns to a surprising 29-20 record. He also won the Western Conference Player of the Week recently by averaging 26.8 points per game during a four-game stretch. And though he’ll get the recognition of the Skills Challenge, it looks like he will not be playing in the All-Star game unless there is another injury in the next few days.
The NBA named New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis as Kobe Bryant’s injury replacement in the game on Friday, which locked in a full Western Conference roster.
“I’d rather him be in the All-Star game, but it will be fun for him and a good experience,” coach Jeff Hornacek said of his point guard.
Dragic will take his wife Maja and son Mateo to New Orleans for the weekend.
Plumlee makes Rising Stars game
The NBA also announced on Friday that Suns center Miles Plumlee will play in the Rising Stars Challenge by replacing Atlanta Hawks forward Pero Antic, who is injured.
Plumlee will join former Suns forward Grant Hill’s team and its roster drafted live on TNT Thursday night. The Duke product could see minutes against brother Mason, the Brooklyn Nets rookie that was drafted to Chris Webber’s squad.
Plumlee is averaging 9.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game and has been a key contributor to the Suns’ quick turnaround this season.
Regarding All-Star weekend, Plumlee was arguably a bigger snub than Dragic until the news broke Friday.
“Probably Miles, just because there are a lot of deserving guys for the All-Star game, and you go down the list that didn’t make it and you can pick three or four guys,” Hornacek said. “Miles to me is a second year guy and has a great year and should be on it.”
Dragic visits Grand Canyon
On Thursday night, Dragic took in a game at Grand Canyon University for the first time to support his former coach, Dan Majerle, who is now leading the Antelopes in their first season in the WAC.
“I liked the facilities, kind of small, but so close to the court. It is a great atmosphere and Dan is doing a good job,” Dragic said.
The Antelopes lost 79-68 to Utah Valley but are having a successful year with a 11-11 (6-3) record in Majerle’s first year as coach.