With tonight’s match-up against the Celtics garnering national attention, here’s a look around the web to see what the experts are saying. ESPN’s Scoop Jackson takes a look at the top 12 storylines around the league heading into the final three weeks of the season.
7. Rafer Alston: No disrespect to Dwight Howard but the rest of the season in Orlando isn’t about him. If the Magic are going to win it’s not dependant upon Howard’s ability to dominate. The key to whatever happens to the Magic is in the hands and handles of That Guy Called Skip. And if Alston’s veteran leadership, poise, knowledge and understanding of the game gets them to the Eastern Conference finals or beyond, then Magic GM Otis Smith is going to have to make a decision about what to do with Jameer Nelson, the original team leader, when Nelson returns from his shoulder injury next season.
Nice to see Rafer get a little pub, even though I’m not sure it’s one of the top storylines in the league right now. In this ESPN the Magazine story, rapper Cam’ron talks about playing with Alston when they were younger, and also gives the Magic some playoff love.
Were there any current pros from New York who were playing when you were coming up? Yeah, I’ve known Stephon Marbury his whole life. And Skip boy, y’all know him as Rafer Alston on Orlando now. Yeah Steph and Skip, we played against them 2-3 times a week. Or sometimes we were on the same team. People kinda went back and forth on Gauchos and Riverside. One year you may have been on Riverside, one year on Gauchos. One year you may be playin with Steph, one year you may be playin against him. Same thing with Rafer. Tim Thomas was in Jersey, too. I think he went to St. Anthony’s in Jersey. Brevin Knight, too. [snip] Some hometown love for Skip? I mean, I got a place down there in Florida. And I like the Magic not just cause of Rafe, but because Dwight Howard is a monster, man. I remember hearing an interview years ago, when Steve Francis was playing there. I remember him saying that this boy is gonna be a monster, that everybody needed to keep there eye on this kid.
Stan Van Gundy quotes are once again all over the place, this time thanks to his stance about how the Knicks have disrespected Patrick Ewing. Here’s the A.P. story, which includes this telling quote from Stan Van:
The fans certainly love him. The organization to me sort of pretends to appreciate him and like him.
Patrick Ewing’s phone never rang last summer, Donnie Walsh explained, because the new president of the New York Knicks never needed to turn to his B-list. Avery Johnson interviewed. Rick Carlisle interviewed, as did Mark Jackson and Herb Williams. Even CSKA Moscow coach Ettore Messina interviewed over the phone with Walsh, who eventually offered the job to Mike D’Antoni.