It is All-Star Week. And typically, we are talking about adding new players around this time. Yes, with all the owners and general managers in one place, a lot of business will get done in front of the March 15 trade deadline. And surely Otis Smith will be at the center of that.
There is one move Otis Smith could not make. One move and one teammate that he did not add.
Yes, it is time to officially welcome WNBA All Star Marie Ferdinand-Harris to Team Orlando.
Ferdinand-Harris will join Jameer Nelson and NBA legend (NBA's words, not mine) Dennis Scott on All-Star Saturday Night for the Haier Shooting Stars competition. This is the contest that opens up All-Star Saturday night where an NBA player, an NBA legend and a WNBA star have to make shots from various locations on the floor as quickly as possible.
Of course, the team's time is largely determined by how quickly one player can sink a half court shot. That is the break.
Last year, Team Atlanta won with Al Horford, Steve Smith and Coco Miller. No team has won the contest in back-to-back years. And we certainly cannot let Team Texas -- and our sworn enemy Kenny Smith -- take home the title.
We see Jameer Nelson everyday. And we know what kind of shooter Dennis Scott can be, even if he can't quite move around anymore. Movement is not too much of an issue in this competition though.
The strength of your team's shooters is.
So what kind of shooter is Marie Ferdinand-Harris? What kind of player is she?
Ferdinand-Harris appeared in 34 games last year for the Phoenix Mercury, averaging 6.8 points per game on 33.5 percent shooting and 33.3 percent 3-point shooting. She is an 11-year pro who had most of her success earlier in her career in the early 2000s with the Utah Starzz and the San Antonio Silver Stars. Her best season was in 2002 when she averaged 15.3 points per game on 47.4 percent shooting.
She fills the role of solid player off the bench who is good for a big game occassionally. That is the kind of player she is. I am betting she will be the one getting the ball first to open the contest with the layup and the baseline jumper -- leaving the 3-pointer and longer shots to Nelson and Scott.
So why is a player who did not even play for the Orlando Miracle joining Team Orlando (seriously, Taj McWilliams-Franklin and Nykesha Sales were not available, I guess... also only McWilliams-Franklin is still in the league)?
Ferdinand-Harris has strong ties to Orlando and Central Florida.
She was the high school player of the year in Florida for 1997 after averaging 24.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game out of Edison High School in Miami before going to LSU. She also owns property in Orlando and runs a business in Miami. I think we can forgive her for being from Down There, just this once.
PhoenixMercury.com sat down with Ferdinand-Harris before this past season to get to know the newest member of their team. So here I am sharing it with you so we can know the newest member of our team.
"Marie the person is very silly and loves to laugh," Ferdinand-Harris said. "I love watching comedy shows with my husband. During my spare time I like to use my blessings to be a blessing to others and to use my gifts to make children smile. I am a proud example of someone who had a tough upbringing but uses sports as a vehicle to win in life. So I live my days being humble, grateful, and very appreciative of all my blessings."
The veteran is a fun-loving person and has done a lot of great work in her community in Miami and in San Antonio and now Phoenix. It will be great to see her wearing some Magic blue (or Mercury purple... although I don't think that will match very well with what Scott and Nelson will be wearing). She is representing the home team.
Hopefully Team Orlando will take home the trophy on Saturday night.