Over the next few weeks, Desert Swarm will be bringing you updates, short quips and thoughts about Arizona players from the past playing in the NBA postseason.
Philadelphia 76ers forward Andre Iguodala was done after the first round. Channing Frye, his career resurrected in Phoenix, watched the NBA playoffs at home. Luke Walton, uh, rode the pine for the Los Angeles Lakers. Meanwhile, Gilbert Arenas struggled to show a heartbeat with a backup role in Orlando.
Richard Jefferson's supposedly found jump shot was lost as usual during his No. 1 seed's loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. And Mike Bibby still might be the worst player in the league at hitting wide open 3-pointers.
So oddly enough, Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Terry just might be the most relevant former Arizona Wildcat in the NBA. Terry blasted the Lakers Sunday, scoring 32 points in his sixth-man role while hitting a league playoff record nine 3-pointers and knocking fellow former Wildcat Walton out of the playoffs.
He scored 20 points alone in the second quarter, outscoring the Lakers' lowly 16 points in the period as a team.
I point this out because Terry wasn't as much as a historical figure while in college as were, well, a lot of those other guys. It was Bibby who was the young face of the 1997 team and Miles Simon who was the most valuable player.
Frye was an All-American, the rock of his era, as was Walton. And of course, Gilbert is Gilbert, a talented scorer that was looking to be a perennial NBA All-Star following his 2001 NCAA championship game run. We all know how it's gone ever since that locker room gun incident happened.
Even for an aging Bibby, who starts for the team that could now be the title favorites, Terry stands out as the difference maker for his team, moreso than any other former Arizona guy. Both Jefferson and Iguodala's games failed to evolve as they aged in the NBA, their potential star status based on their athleticism rather than the invaluable traits of improving their game and being a spark-plug if they hit a ceiling.
Both hit the ceiling. So did Terry, to a degree. But with his one talent being in shooting, JET's firepower is valuable because of his fire within.
In his 12 years in the league, Terry is as good as ever, not to mention a huge cog in Dallas' make-up, where the top three scorers in Sunday's Game 4 win came off the bench. I guess it goes to show that a solid jump shot never gets old. For the JET, it's telling of his character and an upbeat and helpful energy that has kept his game afloat despite his age and any desire to be the man, or at very least a starter.