SACRAMENTO -- Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins will participate in the 2016 Taco Bell Skills Challenge as part of State Farm All-Star Saturday Night on February 13 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada, the National Basketball Association announced today. A dual participant after being named a Western Conference All-Star reserve last week, Cousins will join Jordan Clarkson (Los Angeles Lakers), Anthony Davis (New Orleans), Draymond Green (Golden State), CJ McCollum (Portland), Isaiah Thomas (Boston), Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota) and defending champion Patrick Beverly (Houston) in the eight-player field.
Cousins is the first Kings player to compete in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge as he joins a rich history of Sacramento-era players participating at All-Star Saturday. Kings legend and current Director of Player Personnel Peja Stojakovic netted two wins (2002 and 2003) and a pair of runner-up finishes (2001 and 2004) in the Three-Point Shootout while high-fliers Kenny Smith (1990) and Gerald Wallace (2002) each turned in second-place performances in the Sprite Slam Dunk contest. Stojakovic also teamed with Sacramento Monarchs star Ruthie Bolton-Holifield to win the 2001 2-Ball championship in Washington, D.C.
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The 2016 Taco Bell Skills Challenge, exclusively televised by TNT in the U.S. at 7:30 p.m. ET, is a three-round, obstacle-course competition that tests dribbling, passing, agility and three-point-shooting skills. A head-to-head, bracket-style tournament format will be used for the second year in a row. The tournament matchups will be determined at a later date.
Cousins is currently averaging a team-leading and career-best 27.1 points, a team-high 11.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists, a team-high 1.40 blocks and 1.38 steals per game in starting all 40 games in which he played in. He has made 45 of his 136 three-point attempts this season for a 33.1 percentage, all career highs. Among NBA leaders, Cousins ranks fourth in scoring and rebounding. He has scored in double figures in 39 games, including a team-leading 31 20-point outings, including 17 30-point outings and an NBA season-high and career-high 56 points versus Charlotte on January 25.
Teammate Omri Casspi, who is among the NBA leaders in three-point percentage (44.0), did not make the cut for Saturday night's Three-Point Contest, which will feature Golden State's Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, Phoenix’s Devin Booker, Miami’s Chris Bosh, Houston’s James Harden, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton and Los Angeles' J.J. Redick.
Sacramento Kings media services | CSN Bay Area staff contributed to this report