It’s a sign of the times…or so I’ve heard. Both Steve Nash and Jason Kidd won’t be playing in this year’s All-Star game, a slightly more official changing of the guard. Is that really the case? If Kidd were still in New Jersey, in a situation where the ball is in his hands more often and he’s fighting Rajon Rondo and Mo Williams for a spot on the team rather than Brandon Roy and Chauncey Billups, is there any doubt that he’d be considered one of the favorites? Kidd may be a shadow of his former self and a step slower, but he’s still quite a point guard and probably All-Star caliber when the offense is truly going through him. And what of Nash? Supposing D’Antoni was still spending his working days with the Suns, wouldn’t the ‘Seven Seconds or Less’-inspired Nash be primed for All-Star candidacy? There’s no doubt that Chris Paul has stolen the point guard show, and some of the other young poing guards out there are pretty incredible. But the old-timers are out there to remind us that more often than not, All-Star berths are decided by circumstance.
The battle for the starting shooting guard appears to be over, with a battle-weary Antoine Wright standing above the metaphorical corpses of Gerald Green, Devean George, J.J. Barea, and, depending on how you look at it, Jason Terry. From Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News: ” “He’s done the things we need him to do,” Carlisle said. “He brings us some solid defense. Offensively, he can do some playmaking from the position. He continues to shoot the ball better…This is sort of what we had projected. Earlier, it didn’t quite go like it has. He’s done well.” Wright has battled back this season from a strained left groin injury and even stayed in the lineup through the four-game losing streak earlier this month. It seems the coaches have settled on him as the starter until Wright gives them a reason for a change. So far, he hasn’t.”
A great quote of Jason Terry from the same Sefko article: “We don’t want to peak too early, which, obviously, we haven’t done.” If the Heat taught the Mavs anything in 2006, isn’t it that a team that sometimes struggles in the regular season can still be dangerous if they’re playing their best basketball at the right time?
In general I don’t like to delight in the injuries of others. It’s tacky. But it should still be of interest to Mavs fans that Utah’s Andrei Kirilenko will undergo ankle surgery today, and is expected to miss 3-4 weeks. Carlos Boozer still has yet to return, and Kirilenko is definitely an important piece for Utah. The Jazz have already faced pretty considerable adversity this season because of injury, but AK does a lot of good things on the court on both ends. It certainly doesn’t make their games any easier, and it could be a break for the other teams in the Western playoff race.