Monday, June 08, 2009

Should Rafer Alston Start (or even play) in Game 3?

In the first two games of the NBA finals, Rafer Alston has played terribly. He's been clanking open jump shots, attempting floaters when an open layup is available and just not playing his game. So I'm going to put on my SVG hat and ask myself: should Rafer start, or play in game 3?

I would support a bold move here. This is the finals, everyone has to put every option on the table. I'd consider cutting Rafer's minutes a lot, or benching him. If guys can't perform, I'm all for not playing them or teaching them a hard lesson. Alston HAS to hit open jumpers. End of story. If he can't do that, the Magic need to find someone who can.

The person who can hasn't gotten a chance yet this series: Anthony Johnson. Johnson had been real solid so far in the playoffs. The return of Jameer Nelson has cut him out of the rotation to this point, much to his disliking (though at least he hasn't said anything about it).

Stan Van Gundy should start Anthony Johnson. Give him the starting job, keep Jameer as the second point guard and put Rafer in Johnson's role. If things go better, I cut a tape and make sure Rafer gets a good look at it. Especially if Johnson makes his jump shots.

Johnson will run the team better. He will know when to go fast and when to slow it down. The offensive sets should run a lot more smoothly with him. I also feel like he'll play with a lot more desperation. He wants to make an impression in order to continue getting minutes this season. That will help the Magic win those hustle plays and get those 50-50 balls.

Rafer has to face the music. He hasn't played the way he should have been and now he has to face the consequences. If I'm SVG, the consequence is sitting one game the Magic will win. He shouldn't run the show or get any minutes.

I am being too bold here? Should Rafer get his, or not?


Nick Gelso said...

I feel SVG made the mistake when he brought back Jameer as hard as he did.

He should have been eased into a role with the team. Rafer got Orlando to this point and was playing excellant basketball before Jameer played extended minutes.

As i feared, this has goofed up the chemistry of the Orlando team and it's (obviously) messed with Rafer Alston's confidence.

That's a shame. I predicted this would happen before game one.