From the Sidelines: Cassell’s all-star selection is well-deserved
It’s been a long time coming for Sam Cassell.
For 10 years, this two-time NBA champion played a pretty good point guard in the league, only to find he wasn’t quite good enough to be an all-star.
Now, though, Cassell has finally earned his deserved spot in the All-Star game, after being chosen Tuesday to play in the Feb. 15 game for the first time in his career.
|Cassell has on some occasions been the most important Timberwolf on the court.|
Joining Cassell will be his Timberwolves’ teammate, the all-world Kevin Garnett, and his head coach, Flip Saunders. That Garnett got selected is not surprising at all, but Saunders’ selection as coach of the West team gives testament to Cassell’s strong play this year.
While Garnett has made a strong case for MVP this year, Cassell has on some occasions been the most important Timberwolf on the court. When he was brought to Minnesota over the summer, there was apprehension about how well he would fit in with Garnett and the newly acquired Latrell Sprewell.
Cassell has more than fit in – he’s flourished and has shown a willingness to defer to whichever teammate has the hot hand. And when the fourth quarter comes around, Cassell really turns it up and doesn’t hesitate to take a tough jumper in a tight game.
Seeing Cassell succeed in a Minnesota jersey this year is nice, but it would have been even better five years ago. Cassell was the Nets’ point guard when the Timberwolves traded Stephon Marbury to New Jersey. Instead of Minnesota getting Cassell in return, he was sent to Milwaukee, while Terrell Brandon went to Minnesota.
While Brandon spent more time on the injured list than on the court in Minnesota, Cassell became part of a “Big Three,” teaming with Ray Allen (who the Wolves traded away to get Marbury) and Glenn Robinson to form the core of a very good Milwaukee team.
The trio of Allen, Cassell and Robinson got the Bucks close, but never quite over the hump, and the team was torn apart last year.
The Bucks’ loss was the Timberwolves’ gain. Cassell and friends have the Wolves at 34-14, three games up in the Midwest Division. And those high-profile friends have helped Cassell finally get to a place where he belongs: The All-Star Game.