Rafer Alston was acquired by Orlando Magic on 19th February 2009 in a 3 team deal that also included Houston Rockets and Memphis Grizzlies. Alston was quickly assigned a job when on 20th February 2009 he made his debut against Charlotte. He was offered a spare road jersey that the Magic always maintain to use when there is a lost uniform or trade. Alston remarked that the team threw a jersey at him and it had a weird number on it. On the part of Magic, this action seemed to say that the team was in need of Alston at that moment. The reason was that Magic had lost All-Star point guard Jameer Nelson due to a shoulder dislocation and had a record of 3-3 before Alston joined.
Parameters Magic was searching for
Otis Smith, the General Manager of Orlando Magic, revealed that the team was on the lookout of a player who was conversant with the mode of play that the Magic have been practicing for the previous 1.5 years. The team was searching for a player who could pick and roll nicely and assist other players to open shots.
After Alston has been included in the team, the Magic have improved their record to 3-1. His statistics are not very mind blowing (since joining Magic the maximum points he has scored in a game are 15), but it must be kept in mind that he has not been selected to post numbers. His selection has been done with an intention that All-Star Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu and Dwight Howard are able to retain their numbers.
Alston said that from the first day, Magic has trusted him and given him the ball. He is of the opinion that he is performing well but intends to be more consistent. The team knows that Alston is a pass first point guard. He thinks that he would not face any problem in getting accustomed with the comfort levels of other players and the comfort zones on the floor.
Rashard Lewis disclosed that Alston has combined with Magic seamlessly. Lewis added that Alston is a prominent member of their offense as he is a player who can enter the defense of the opponent team and pass the ball to other players of Magic. This would be of immense help to Magic. Lewis looks upon Alston as a smart and seasoned guard who knows the method of playing a game. This would be of tremendous assistance to Magic in the long run.
Evidence of Alston’s usefulness
Although Alston has the experience of playing just 4 games with Magic, there have been some moments during these games where it was felt that he has been playing with Magic for almost a year. During the first quarter in Wednesday’s (25th February 2009) game, Alston led the break and passed the ball to a trailing Lewis, who could score a 3-pointer. During the fourth quarter, when Alston realized that he was open on the left wing, he made a bullet pass to Lewis who scored an easy two. In this quarter itself, Alston scored 8 points along with a rebound and an assist to Lewis.