Feb 7, 2013; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace (15) talks with point guard Steve Blake (5) during the third quarter against the Boston Celtics at TD Banknorth Garden. The Boston Celtics won 116-95. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Even though Alex Len is getting all the Maryland praise right now for his eventual lottery pick status, we still have a pair of former Terrapin greats doing work for playoff teams in the NBA. Let’s take a look at a few of them:
1.) Chris Wilcox, Boston Celtics
Apr 12, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Boston Celtics power forward Chris Wilcox (44) looks on during a game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Wilcox holds the distinction of being the last Maryland Terrapin taken in the lottery, when he was picked up by the then-horrendous Clippers back in 2002 with the #8 pick. Of course, back then being drafted by the Clippers was like being thrown into a pit of lava; no matter how much you struggle, things won’t end well.
Turns out, Wilcox has had a pretty serviceable 11-year career, averaging 8 points and 5 rebounds for his career, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a bit of a suitcase. Wilcox has played for six teams over his career, never really finding much of a home after he left Los Angeles. But here he is, in the playoffs, for the storied Celtics. Wilcox actually plays meaningful minutes for the Celtics, and has been a key contributor to their team overcoming Rajon Rondo’s injury.
Wilcox is going to have his hands full with Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony, and Marcus Camby, but he’s got playoff experience and the Celtics are thin at the 4/5 spots. Expect him to do surprisingly well in what will likely be a losing effort. Wilcox first game is at 3 PM Saturday on 4/20.
2.) Steve Blake, Los Angeles Lakers
Apr 17, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Blake (5) is defended by Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverly (12) at the Staples Center. The Lakers defeated the Rockets 99-95 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Steve Blake has come a long way from faking addresses in high school to play on a killer basketball team. On the other side of a rivalry, we’re officially calling Steve’s team the Los Angeles Blakers from now on. After Kobe went down with a janky Achilles, most people just wrote off the Lakers as out of the playoffs. But Steve Blake has played a pretty significant role in the Lakers continuing their postseason streak by leading the team to eight wins in their last nine games.
Blake is averaging 12 points, five rebounds and four assists in April, while also shooting 40% from deep, as the starting point guard while Nash and Kobe heal. As crazy as it sounds, having a pass first point guard like Blake at the helm is giving the Lakers a bit of fire with all their offensive weapons. Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Antawn Jamison, and (kinda) Metta World Peace is a solid enough group that I’m legitimately hoping they make a deep run so they can set up the Hell in a Shell series (Wilcox v. Blakers.) How freaking great would that be? Two
Blake is nowhere near as athletic as Tony Parker, and might get absolutely smashed in the playoffs by a guy with a few rings to his name. Then again, they played earlier this month and Steve Blake dropped 23 points on the Frenchman, so logically I think that’s going to happen again…
Either way, the series starts Sunday, 4/21 at 3:30 PM
3.) Unfortunately, that’s all we’ve got this year. But then there are a few local studs hanging around the playoffs in Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and Jarrett Jack. Needless to say, there’s pretty much going to be someone local to root for on every team that advances except for the Heat.
Don’t root for the Heat.