Stan Van Gundy has apparently made his choice — Atlanta’s Joe Johnson is going to get the open starting spot for the Eastern Conference on Sunday. Reports are popping up all over the Web.
Johnson is a much more deserving starter than Allen Iverson, the person he replaces, the person voted in by fans who clearly have not watched Iverson play in three years (at least). Johnson is scoring 21 points a game for the Hawks, a team trying to establish itself as a contender. (Atlanta fans about to say, “we are contenders!” you have to prove that in the playoffs.)
A better choice at point guard may have been Rajon Rondo, the true point that is keeping the Celtics in contention this year. Johnson is really a shooting guard, although while Iverson is technically listed as a point in practice his is a shooting guard.
Unlike George Karl in the West, Van Gundy couldn’t fall back on the “just put the local guy in and make the fans happy” strategy.
Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:
Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.
Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:
A few hours after the game, the Hornets announced that Kidd-Gilchrist has a dislocated shoulder:
Depending on the severity of the injury, he could miss a few weeks or a few months. Hopefully, it’s the shorter end of that timeline. We should know more on Sunday.