Kristaps Porzingis isn't letting the All-Star Skills challenge trophy leave his grasp.
The defending champion of the title will be back in the competition during All-Star Weekend, and his heart is set on being crowned back-to-back winner.
"I have to protect my title, I have to be back-to-back skills champion," Porzingis told The Post's Marc Berman. "That's the goal for me. It was a lot of fun [last year]. The whole thing -- the rookie game and skills challenge. I had a great time."
Porzingis had his way in both contests he played in New Orleans last year, as he also dropped 24 points in the Rising Stars Challenge for Team World. He would top Gordon Hayward in the Skills challenge to take the trophy.
Now, with the rules changed to where one guard and one big man make it to the finals, Porzingis thinks it's his competition to lose.
"They changed the rules so it's always going to be a big in the final," he said. "It's more fun with the guards against the bigs. I'm looking to get [another one] this year. I think I'm a head over everyone else. I think I'm at a different level, I think."
Though the Skills challenge will be fun, Porzingis is looking forward to the All-Star game himself as he was named a reserve for Team LeBron for his first ever All-Star nomination. However, he could see himself in the starting five with DeMarcus Cousins out for the season. It will be up to LeBron James to make that call, and Porzingis won't get his hopes up.
"That's a good question," he said. "We'll see what happens."
As for who Porzingis will have to thwart to keep his Skills challenge title, he will have to face Bulls' Lauri Markkanen, Celtics' Al Horford, and Sixers' Joel Embiid among the big men. Nets' Spencer Dinwiddie, Jazz Donovan Mitchell, Nuggets Jamal Murray, and Clippers Lou Williams will battle among the guards.