Rafer Alston calls a play for the Orlando Magic in their game against the Miami Heat on Sunday
Photo by Fernando Medina, NBAE/Getty Images
The traditional "Orlando Magic News for..." post will go up later this evening. Now: Rafer Alston bullets!
Steve Weinman of CelticsBlog writes that the Magic's acquisition of Alston does not make them a threat to supplant the Boston Celtics or the Cleveland Cavaliers at the top of the Eastern Conference.
Brian Schmitz either didn't get that memo, or didn't agree with it. He's sizing up possible playoff opponents, and how Alston compares to their point guards. He gives Boston's Rajon Rondo the edge outright and Detroit's combination of Allen Iverson and Rodney Stuckey a "we'll see," but gives Alston the advantage over Miami's Mario Chalmers, Atlanta's Mike Bibby, and Milwaukee's Ramon Sessions. According to Schmitz, Alston is a push against Philadelphia's Andre Miller and Cleveland's Mo Williams, an All-Star. I think he's selling Sessions and Williams a bit short, and I'm not Mo's biggest fan.
I really like Alston's nickname is Skip, short for Skip To My Lou. For one thing, monosyllabic names are easy to cheer for. I could never quite refer to Jameer Nelson as "'Meer" without feeling totally silly. So when Rafer does something smart/awesome, I can shout, "SKIP!" It's easier that way. Also, Skip To My Lou gives the Magic 4 players who have names rhyming with Lou: Alston, Tyronn Lue, Rashard "Sweet Lew" Lewis, and Hedo Turkoglu. Amway Arena P.A. man Paul Porter is going to have a lot of fun with this, I imagine. Remember the halcyon days of Drew Gooden and Andrew DeClercq? After they'd score a basket, Porter would intone, "TWO for DREW!" Good times. Great, even, except for all the losing.
After yesterday's victory over the Heat, Magic shooting guard Courtney Lee discussed Alston's skills with Nick Friedell:
"I like playing with him," Magic rookie Courtney Lee said, "because he gives the ball to me in the right spots, not just me, but everybody. He pushes the tempo a lot."
That's impressive, considering the lack of time Alston's had to familiarize himself with his new teammates. As Kyle Hightower notes, by the time this week is over, Alston will have played 6 games for the Magic, with only the benefit of one practice and one walk-through.
Okay, this bullet is only tangentially related to Alston, but it merits inclusion anyway: according to GM Otis Smith, the Magic may re-sign Adonal Foyle if the Memphis Grizzlies waive him. For salary-matching reasons, the Magic dealt Foyle to Memphis in the three-team deal which brought Alston to Orlando.
As I said, a "normal" news post is due later this evening.