Having talked to Zydrunas Ilgauskas for a while during conference finals and reading between lines, wouldn’t be surprised if he will retire.
The 36-year old Ilgauskas was the starting center and a key part of the 66-win 2008-09 Cleveland Cavaliers, but his numbers fell off a cliff when his starting spot was given to Shaquille O’Neal the following season. He signed with the Heat last off-season, started a lot of games for them, and did some good things offensively, but his lack of speed made him a liability in Erik Spoelstra’s ultra-aggressive defensive system and left him out of the rotation after the first round of the playoffs.
If Ilgauskas does retire after this season, he’ll be remembered as one of the most beloved athletes in Cleveland history, one of the NBA’s true good guys, and an inspirational story because of the way he came back and had a long, productive career after some Oden-like injury struggles (with his feet, not his knees) early in it. If he does come back, his combination of size, rebounding, passing, and outside shooting could allow him to help some team in spot minutes, although it seems unlikely he’ll be a part of Miami’s future plans.
Isaiah Thomas nutmegs Knicks center Marshall Plumlee (video)
Tonight the NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced. Then the coaches have a week to vote and the rest of the roster will be put together by them.
This year should see a few first-time All-Stars, guys bursting on the scene and grabbing fans attention — so we asked people on Twitter who they most wanted to see in his first All-Star Game and I break it down in this PBT Extra.
The winner? Giannis Antetokounmpo with 45 percent of the vote. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s second in the fan voting for the frontcourt in the East (behind only LeBron James). Good news for those fans, the Greek Freak is almost guaranteed to be a starter, he’s getting plenty of media votes and likely a lot from the players as well.
Second place in the poll? Joel Embiid of the Sixers. I’d love to see him, but will players and media members vote in a guy on a minutes restriction? Will the coaches pick him for that same reason? He is on the bubble.