The Rockets make their only Boston appearance of the season tonight, and old friend David Wesley arrives with a new achievement: He has scored the second-most points in NBA history by a player who was never drafted. According to the statistical geeks at TNT, Wesley passed John Starks Thursday night in Miami and left Florida with 11,080 points. (The Rockets were in New Jersey last night.) Don't wait him for him to catch the No. 1 guy, Hall of Famer Moses Malone , who had 27,409 points. Wesley is your classic survivor. This is his 13th NBA season, three of which were in Boston (1994-97).
Long shots found a home
Not only were there 20 second-round picks on NBA rosters for Opening Night, there also were 11 players that the Celtics' Leo Papile likes to call "un-uns." That would be undrafted and unloved. The 11 are Alan Anderson (Charlotte), Sean Banks (New Orleans/Oklahoma City), Eddie Basden (Chicago), Deng Gai (Philadelphia), Dwayne Jones (Minnesota), Rawle Marshall (Dallas), Aaron Miles (Golden State), Ronnie Price (Sacramento), Anthony Roberson (Memphis), Matt Walsh (Miami), and Donell Taylor (Washington). Papile thinks one reason so many second-rounders and un-uns have been able to stick is that most teams (26 of 30 as of Opening Night) have decided to use the maximum number of roster spaces (15). "When you know you have 15 slots, you can be aggressive like that in the second round," Papile said.
Sticky situation in Seattle
As Vladimir Radmanovic and Seattle coach Bob Weiss go back and forth over playing time and a potential relocation for the Sonics' slinger, bear this in mind: Radmanovic is in the fifth and last year of his rookie contract, which is viewed around the league as a one-year deal. And as such, he cannot be traded without his consent. (That is a new twist in the new collective bargaining agreement.) However, if he decides to agree to a deal, he surrenders his Bird rights, which would not be the case if he remained in Seattle and got the Sonics to agree to a sign-and-trade next summer. In other words, unless Radmanovic and his agent can find a receptive team with plenty of cap room next year (Chicago, for instance), it would be a colossal financial blunder to agree to a trade, especially since he is reported to have already rejected a $42 million extension.
West keeping opponents off guard
Eventually, NBA teams are going to get a better feel for Delonte West's game. Right now, the Celtics'point guard enjoys the element of surprise because he didn't play that much last year and teams are getting their first extended look at him. But in the NBA, nothing remains a secret for long. The real challenge for West is to be able to continue to play well after the league has figured out his tendencies.Celtics coach Doc Rivers , for one, simply likes the fact that West is able to do so much that runs counter to what most guards do. "His point guard play doesn't stand out in terms of coming off a pick-and-roll, or seeing a guy at the exact time, or creating a shot with a low clock, or beating a guy off the dribble to create a shot for someone else," said Rivers. "That doesn't stand out. It's all the other things. And it's a long list. He'll stay in every play. He doesn't care if Shaq has a dunk; he's going to try and block it. That might not be wise, but he would. And that's a good thing. That's what makes him a good player." Rivers is a former point guard himself who often was considered, simply, a guard.
Gasol's game built to last
Despite what we saw Wednesday night (12 points, 6 rebounds, 0 blocks), the Grizzlies' Pau Gasol has started 2005-06 as if he's ready to take the proverbial Next Step. In the four games leading into the Boston contest, Gasol averaged 24.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Those are All-Star numbers. Does he have it in him to do it over 82 games? Memphis coach Mike Fratello hopes so. "He has enough talent. He has a passion for the game," Fratello said. "And by taking this summer off and not playing for his country [in the world championship qualifier], it allowed his body to heal and get much stronger. So, we'll see."