Rafer Alston: From Playground Legend to NBA Star

4 03 2009

skip-to-my-lou1

Rafer Alston grew up playing basketball on the courts in Queens, New York. He became a legend on the blacktop and was given the nickname, “Skip to my Lou.”

Alston was one of the stars of the AND 1 Mixtape Tour, known for his moves with the ball in his hands. His nickname originated from the way he dribbled the ball down the court, taunting the defender in front of him. He would dribble up the court in what looked like slow motion and then would speed past the defender for a lay-up or no-look pass.

Magic Basketball

The Streetballer that made Skip to my Lou, a popular player for AND 1 fans, has made a name for himself in the NBA. Alston was drafted as the 39th pick in the 1998 NBA Draft to the Milwaukee Bucks. He set the school record at Fresno State with 240 assists while in college. In his 11-year career, Alston has jumped around from team to team. (End of link) He played in Milwaukee, Toronto, Miami, Houston and most recently the Orlando Magic.

The Magic were in need of a point guard after losing all-star guard Jameer Nelson, leading to the trade for Alston. Since joining the team Alston has started six games and has helped the team win five of their last seven games.

Alston brings great ball handling skills and a reliable 3-point shooter. He is not afraid to take a big shot, but is unselfish enough to find ways for teammates to score. He is averaging 11 points, six assists and two rebounds per game.

Alston was one of the top trades that many people overlooked, as the rumors of bigger name stars distracted fans and reporters. Alston has helped spread the floor for Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis, while also feeding the ball down in the paint to Dwight Howard. He has helped bring new life to Magic, a team that was left for dead by many after Nelson’s injury sidelined him for the season.

Rafer Alston talks about playing on the street and the NBA

Posted by Shawn Brown

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“With Jameer Nelson out, Orlando is going to need some magic”





With Jameer Nelson out, Orlando is going to need some magic

3 02 2009

 

NBA.com)

Jameer Nelson drives to the hoop. (Photo: NBA.com)

Orlando Magic guard Jameer Nelson is likely to miss the remainder of the season with a torn labrum after falling onto his shoulder in last night’s game against Dallas, according to the team’s website. Nelson shot a short jumper and ran to the hoop. He wrestled the ball away from Mavericks center Erick Dampier. The ball rolled under his foot and he slipped on it and fell forward onto his shoulder, forcing him to leave the game. After tests on his shoulder Tuesday, it was discovered that Nelson might have played his final game of the season.

At six foot, 190 lbs, Nelson is among the smallest players in both the league and his position on paper. He was voted into the all-star game for the first time in his career after having his best season in his four year NBA career. He averaged 16 points, 5 assists and 3 steals per game. This season he has nearly as much presence on the court as teammate Dwight “Superman” Howard. Nelson is the fourth leading scorer on the team, but he has the team’s best 3-point shooter, averaging .453 % from downtown. Nelson’s value is more than just points and assists; he has also been extremely efficient and averages only a single turnover per contest.

With Nelson out for the remainder of the season, the Orlando will have to rely on the big three. Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu will have to carry the team without Nelson. The three have played well all season, each averaging over 17 ppg. With Nelson out, this will create a major problem for the team that likes to spread the defense thin and pass the ball into Howard. When Nelson is on the floor the defense has to respect his shooting from the outside, which opens up the paint for a few thunderous dunks by Howard. Now with him out, the defense is able to control the paint and put two or three players on Howard, which will cut down on his production. Lewis and Turkoglu have played well, but are not always consistent shooters.

The team will have to find a way to play without Nelson, if they hope to contend for the NBA championship. The Magic have five more games before the All-Star weekend in Phoenix, four of which are at home.

Watch the Jameer Nelson Documentary:

Posted by Shawn Brown