The college hoops season is long over and most of the 2012 rosters are set (although I’m told UConn is looking to add one more big man). The next month or so is all about the NBA.
If you’re like me, you watch the NBA sparingly during the regular season, but become pretty invested through the playoffs and June’s draft.
If you’re solely a UConn fan, you still have reason to pay attention. Here’s a look at the three Huskies who are still alive in the hunt for a title:
Ray Allen, Celtics – The greatest 3-point shooter of all-time is battling an ankle injury as his Celtics suddenly seem
ready to make an NBA Finals run. Boston has Miami’s number, and the Heat won’t be quite the same if Chris Bosh’s abdominal injury is serious.
Caron Butler, Clippers – After breaking his left hand in a miraculous comeback win over Memphis on April 29, Butler missed just one game before returning to help the Clippers knock off the Grizzlies in seven games. Initially, the team reported that he’d miss 4-6 weeks. He’s not a 20-point scorer (L.A. is loaded with scorers at both guard positions), but you’d be hard-pressed to find a tougher competitor in these playoffs.
A.J. Price, Pacers – Scoreless in just three minutes of playoff action, Price is the victim of an incredibly deep Indiana roster. There was a time when Price played back-up minutes and even pushed for the starting job. But the Pacers traded for George Hill on draft day and made another move to get Leandro Barbosa in March, thus pushing Price to the end of the bench (by the way, please watch the link embedded in his name above).
ONE AND DONE
Rudy Gay, Grizzlies – A strong first round showing went for naught as Gay and the Grizz came up just short in the first round against the Clippers. Now a legitimate star in the league, Gay was phenomenal at times: He matched his regular season scoring average of 19 points per game, hit a pair of clutch 3-pointers in the final minute of a Game 3 loss and made a big shot down the stretch in the Game 5 win. He also missed some last-second shots, though, and was limited by the defense of Kenyon Martin and UConn’s own Caron Butler.
Richard Hamilton, Bulls – Without Derrick Rose, much of the backcourt scoring load fell on Hamilton. And without the reigning MVP, the Bulls clearly couldn’t hang. Hamilton totaled 19 points and eight rebounds in a Game 6 loss to the 76ers and, for the second straight year, a No. 1 seed was bounced from the first round (count the numbers in that sentence). Hamilton struggled throughout the series: In Games 5 and 6, he went 6-for-18 for 13 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist.