Tuesday, May 1, 2012
UConn Alumni in the NBA Playoffs
Caron Butler’s injury is tough on a Clipper’s team that looked to be major threats in the West. He hasn’t been playing his best basketball over the past month, but it does hurt them. Butler’s size and skill sets can cause match-up problems and helps free up Griffin. It is a shame that he will miss out on another opportunity at the playoffs like he did in Dallas where he blew out his knee to only see his team win it all. Plus, who knows if the Chris Paul will stay with the Clippers next season. The Clippers will have Rudy Gay's Grizzlies. They have the star power to keep up with Memphis, but overall the Grizzlies have the better overall team.
Ray Allen’s nagging injury hasn't been devastating for the Celtics. He has been battling bone spurs in his ankles and he has sat out close to a month. While the Celtics have done well and won a majority of those games without Allen, his experience and outside threat opens up so much of that Celtics offense. Bradley has been a great fill in for Allen but he doesn’t open up space for the Celtic’s big men to work with like Ray does. The Celtics will go as far as their jump shots can take them. If they are knocking down three pointers, and that is dependent on a healthy Ray Allen, then they can surprise some teams.
Rudy Gay is playing some fantastic basketball and has dispelled those pesky nay-sayers that whispered that Memphis was a better team without Rudy. He is relatively healthy and he has taken the leadership role of this team with Zach Randolph getting back from injury. He’s a legitimate twenty point scorer, has improved his jump shot, and is playing better defense. His team is still an underdog to win it all and that is how they like it. They want to be overlooked, but have a tough series against Caron Butler’s Clippers.
Rip Hamilton has had a tough road this season. He finally escaped Detroit and found himself on the best team in the East to only battle through a pesky shoulder injury. Not only did he get back just in time for the playoffs but then Rose goes out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. He is now one of the major scoring options on the defensive oriented Bulls. Without Rose, this team is resembling the Pistons team that won a couple of championships with Rip Hamilton. They still have a great chance of making it to the championship.
A.J. Price is the only UConn Alumni that is a bench player, though Allen had started coming off the bench late in the season. He has a limited role on the Pacers, but he has done an admirable job at the back up point guard spot. While he won’t be getting as many minutes or even get into the game at times because of the shortened benches that many teams use in the playoffs, he might get an opportunity to make some plays. The Pacers are a young and upcoming team but they aren’t there yet. They could get to the second round but it will be tough for them to get any farther.
Even with the injury bug knocking out Caron Butler from the playoffs and forcing Ray Allen to watch from the bench, Rudy Gay and Rip Hamilton are both playing their best basketball of the season at the right time and have a great chance of making deep runs in the playoff. So with the opening of the NBA playoffs here, UConn is representing its school well and not many other schools can boast at having five quality players in the NBA playoffs. At least this is a silver lining in what has been a pretty stormy couple of months.