Posts Tagged ‘Houston Rockets’

A Random Assortment of Crap

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Next week: Real posts!

But for a lazy Friday night, you get this instead.

  • A tiny trailer for Sharknado is out.
  • Fireworks show blows up real good in Simi Valley:

  • Dwight Howard is evidently joining the Houston Rockets.
  • The Rockets Are Out of the Playoffs, And It’s All My Fault

    Monday, April 23rd, 2012

    I would like to apologize to Houston Rockets fans everywhere. Two weeks ago, I said that coach Kevin McHale was doing a good job and how the Rockets were going to make the playoffs.

    Naturally the Rockets immediately go on a six game losing streak, and yesterday they were eliminated from the playoffs. This will teach me to open my big, er, blog. If I had just kept it zipped, they might have managed to sneak in…

    What do you know? Kevin McHale can coach a little

    Saturday, April 7th, 2012

    Last night the Rockets beat the Lakers to go 30-25. Barring an end-of-season meltdown (always a possibility), it looks like the Rockets will make the playoffs and be seeded somewhere between 6 and 8 in the stacked West. This is a mild surprise, given how shaky they looked early in the season and how two of what were their best three players going in (Kyle Lowery and Kevin Martin) have been out with health issues during the latest run.

    Given the back-to-back defeat of the East-leading Bulls, and the still-tough Lakers, it’s time to consider that maybe, just maybe, Kevin McHale knows how to coach a little.

    This is actually something of a surprise, since many people (myself included) were skeptical when Daryl Morey tapped McHale to be head coach after the departure of Rick Adelman (McHale’s Hall of Fame playing career notwithstanding). The fact that McHale was awful as the Timberwolves GM (drafting Kevin Garnett in 1995 was pretty much the only thing he did right as GM until the Kevin Love trade in 2008) and that he went 39-55 in two brief stints as their coach didn’t exactly inspire confidence.

    But McHale has the superstar-deficient Rockets playing unselfish, team-oriented basketball. Though it’s hard to compare due to the strike-shortened season, McHale’s team is two games ahead of where Adelman’s was 11 games before the end of the season. Granted, having two legit centers in Marcus Camby and Samuel Dalembert (as opposed to the always-scrappy but height-challenged Chuck Hayes (whose stats in Sacramento are way down)) certainly doesn’t hurt, but no one going into this season would have thought that would remotely make up for all the time Lowery and Martin have missed.

    Once again we’re faced with the possibility that Daryl Morey just might know what he’s doing.

    Because “Screw the Lakers,” That’s Why

    Friday, December 9th, 2011

    When the three-way trade between the Rockets, Lakers and Hornets was announced yesterday, I wasn’t a big fan of the trade. The Rockets would have gotten Lakers’ center Pau Gasol, arguably the second best center in the game. The Lakers, who do not need any help in getting better, would have gotten the league’s top point guard in Chris Paul, the Hornets would have gotten Lamar Odom from the Lakers and Luis Scola, Kevin Martin and Goran Dragic from the Houston Rockets, plus the Kinck’s 2012 first round pick.

    I enthused because I think Houston gave up too much for a 31-year old center. Scola is good for 18 points and eight boards a night, while Kevin Martin scores and extremely efficient 23 points a night (though he’s definitely a defensive liability). If Gasol had been 26 rather than 31, I would be more favorably inclined to the deal. (If Rockets GM Daryl Morey had a deal for the Nuggets Nene at hand with the freed-up cap space, as many suggested, then the deal becomes a lot more palatable for Rockets fans.)

    But New Orleans clearly made out like bandits, receiving three extremely solid starters and a first round pick for a guy who was going to walk in eight months anyhow. Which is why they’re the ones most screwed by NBA Commissioner nixing the deal for vague “basketball reasons.”

    As many commentators pointed out, this was a solid deal with risks and rewards for all concerned. Both Paul and Kobe Bryant have experienced knee problems. If they stay healthy and the Lakers land Dwight Howard next year, yeah, that’s going to suck for everyone else in the Western Conference. But if Paul and/or Bryant go down, and they don’t land Howard, then they’re in a world of hurt from having gutted their front court.

    I’m all behind screwing the Lakers, but having Stern do it in this fashion, with so little justification, screws all three teams.

    Miami Heat on Track for Perfect Season

    Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

    A perfect 0-82 season, that is.

    I’m sure the Las Vegas odds against that are astronomical (after all, they do get to play the Nets), but it does go to show that maybe all this presumptive talk of an inevitable Heat dynasty was perhaps a wee tad premature.

    (The Rockets also lost as well, but a 2-point loss to the defending World Champions on their own court the same night they raise their championship banner to the rafters is nothing to worry overmuch about.)

    Three Bold Predictions About the NBA Season

    Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

    You might not have noticed, but the NBA Regular Season starts tonight. And what’s the use of having a blog if you can’t post foolhardy bold predictions?

    So here are three bold predictions for the coming season:

    1. The Rockets will reach the playoffs.

    2. If Yao Ming stays healthy, the Rockets will reach the Western Conference Finals.
    3. Either way, the Lakers will not repeat as Western Conference Champions. I think this is the year when Kobe Bryant finally starts to show too much wear on the tires. Even if the Rockets fall short, I expect Oklahoma City or Portland to edge the Lakers.

    Anyone else care to chime in with their own predictions?

    We Have a Winner for Most Delusional Sports Headline of 2010

    Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

    Leave it to Bleacher Report to ask the one question no one else dares:

    “Is Tracy McGrady the Savior of the NBA?”

    As a follower of the Houston Rockets, and thus having some passing familiarity with TMac’s career, I’m happy to provide an answer:

    No.

    No

    Next up: Is Pauley Shore the salvation of American cinema?

    LeBron to Miami: Impact on the Houston Rockets

    Friday, July 9th, 2010

    LeBron James is joining the Miami Heat. (Perhaps you have heard this already. The media does seem to have covered the issue.) Although James will not be joining the Rockets, this is still good news for the Rockets for two reasons:

    1. James stays in the East.

    2. He doesn’t go to New York, which means those draft picks Daryl Morey stole from the Knicks for the ghost of TMac (semi-protected rights to switch next year, and their semi-protected 2012 pick outright) look to remain mid-level lottery picks.

    The consensus out there is that, once again, the Knicks screwed up, and, once again, Daryl Morey made out like a bandit.

    (As I was finishing up this post, I noticed that Tom Martin over at SB Nation made many of the same points.)

    As far as James himself is concerned, I won’t say that the outraged vitriol is surprising (it is, after all, American professional sports in the 21st century, but I do think it’s misplaced. James made a professional business decision of where he could best win championships, and Cleveland lost out on entirely understandable and indeed totally rational criteria. Of course, if sports fans were rational, they wouldn’t develop an emotional attachment to athletically talented millionaires who just happen to be plying their trade in their city of choice in any particular year. (Cue Jerry Seinfeld’s rooting for laundry bit.) Some may think my attitude on James hypocritical given my loathing of Bud Adams, but there’s one key difference: to the best of my knowledge, James never received tens of millions of dollars in direct taxpayer subsidies before leaving town.

    Houston Rockets Schedule(s) Cupcakes

    Monday, June 14th, 2010

    If I were in Houston Monday, June 21, I would totally buy a cupcake from Shane Battier.

    Ummm, cupcakes…

    7 Reasons LeBron James Could Join the Houston Rockets

    Monday, May 31st, 2010

    With another Cleveland Cavaliers season ending in disappointment and LeBron James a free agent, there’s no end to the speculation as to where he’ll end up. Stay in Cleveland? Join the Bulls? Go to New York? Join the Clippers? (No, seriously, some are suggesting that.) The LeBron James Free Agency Saga has been considered from just about every possible angle (including its impact on Jews; oy vey, it’s enough to drive you meshugga).

    Just about the only thing these prognostications have in common is that they all agree (if only by omission) that King James is not coming to the Houston Rockets. There are many times when the conventional wisdom is correct, and it does indeed seem unlikely that the Rockets are at the top of James’ list. However, with many pundits banding about the word “impossible” in relation the Rockets snagging King James, I have to disagree. Unlikely? Yes. Very. But not impossible. After all, if you had told someone at the beginning of this season that Daryl Morey would trade a battered T-Mac, Carl Landry, Joey Dorsey and a bag of doorknobs for: A.) A 20 point scorer (Kevin Martin), B.) the 8th pick of the 2009 draft (Jordan Hill), C.) Semi-protected rights to swap picks with New York in the 2011 Draft, and D.) New York’s semi-protected 2012 1st round draft pick, they would have called you crazy.

    Because unreasonable optimism is the province of bloggers and hometown sports columnists, here are 7 reasons why the Houston Rockets might indeed be able to sign LeBron James:

    1. Yao Ming: The Rockets should (fingers crossed) have Yao Ming back next season. If he can retain his former form (a big if) and stay healthy (even bigger), then the Rockets will have no worse than the second best center in the NBA. Having a great center on his team (Shaq no longer qualifies) would help prevent other teams from double- and triple-teaming James every time he touches the ball. Yao is also a presence at the defensive end and is (unlike Shaq) a free-throw shooting machine. Outside of Orlando’s Dwight Howard, no other potential teammate in the entire NBA has as much potential to provide a complimentary insider scorer.
    2. No State Income Tax: Anywhere James is going to go, he’s going to sign a max contract deal, say somewhere around $16.8 million. That means he would rake in the same amount no matter which team he signs with, right? Wrong. Texas has no state income tax, and Houston has no city income tax, while the unfortunate denizens of New York City have to suffer under both. First, New York State has a top income tax rate of 8.97%. But wait, that’s not all! New York City has its own income tax on top of the state income tax! I believe James would qualify as a “Resident Head of Household,” which means his city tax rate would be “$2,047 plus 3.648% of excess over $60,000″. King James would have to cough up over two millions dollars a year (or, to be precise, $2,119,682 ($1,506,960 in state income tax, and $612,722 in city income tax, assuming my calculations are correct) for the privilege of playing in New York City rather than Houston. Many New York apologists will say that moving there would earn him more money than he would lose due to greater endorsement possibilities from playing in the country’s largest media market. But that leads to my next point:
    3. Moving to New York does little to raise his national profile; moving to Houston does lots to raise his international profile: New York is indeed the country’s largest media market, but so what? James is already the most important basketball player in the country. Sure, moving to NYC might sell a few more jerseys in the five boroughs, but the rest of the country regards New York City not with the awe so many of its own residents seem to have deluded themselves into thinking is their birthright, but with indifference or outright hostility. His existing fans may buy his Knicks jersey, but no one West of the Hudson who wasn’t already a LeBron James fanatic is going to care. But a move to Houston would raise his international profile tremendously by pairing him with the only basketball player bigger than James on the international scene: Yao Ming. Moving to New York might net him another 10 million fans; moving to Houston might potentially net him another billion. How many more shoes do you think Nike could sell in China if James teamed up with Ming? That’s the long-term play that makes the most sense for both James and the NBA.
    4. Houston has lots of pieces for a sign-and-trade: One reason so many think it’s impossible for the Rockets to sign James is their lack of cap space. While true, it overlooks the possibility of Houston performing a sign-and-trade with Cleveland if James decided he would look swell in Rocket Red. (And let’s face it: He would look swell.) And Morey has assembled a lot of valuable pieces to trade with. How does 3 first round picks (including the one from New York) over the next two years, Jordan Hill and/or Trevor Ariza sound? That would give the Cavs a chance to build a pretty nice foundation for the future instead of letting James walk for nada.
    5. Solid Teammates: In addition to being all-around solid guys who are (mostly) willing to play defense, take a look at the monster scoring averages Houston would have with LeBron James and a healthy Yao Ming:
      • LeBron James: 29.7 ppg

      • Yao Ming: 19.7 ppg (based on his 2008-2009 season)
      • Kevin Martin: 21.3 ppg
      • Aaron Brooks: 19.6 ppg
      • Luis Scola: 16.2 ppg

      So, that’s 106.5 points per game without any scoring from the bench! The Rockets should just roll over the opposition! They should-

      “Basketball does not work that way!”

      What, you’re saying that I’m confusing fantasy basketball statistics with real basketball? OK, fine. Everyone’s average will probably come down to give King James enough shots to hit his near-30. Still, when Luis Scola at 15 points a game is your least productive scorer, these Rockets would be a nightmare to defend. Any one of of them is capable of making you pay for double-teaming James or Yao. And you can’t double-team both, or Brooks and Martin are going to kill you from the 3-point line. That starting five would automatically be the best team in the NBA (and significantly younger than the Celtics). And keep in mind that Brooks and Martin’s 20 point averages for the 2009-2010 season were compiled without a Yao or LeBron to keep defenses from keying on them. And they still won 42 games. Add LeBron James to the Knicks and they’re a playoff team. Add LeBron James to the Rockets and they’re automatically a championship favorite.

    6. Rick Adelman: Just about every player Adelman has ever coached says they loved playing for him. (T-Mac is about the only player I can think of dissenting from that opinion, and think we all know where the fault lies there.) Adelman even received nothing but praise from the volatile Ron Artest, who was a model citizen off the court for his year in Houston. (On the court Adelman could never dissuade Artest from his questionable shot selection, but that’s the Lakers’ problem now…) Also keep in mind that Adelman’s last losing season was with the Golden State Warriors in 1997, he lead the Rockets on a 22-game winning streak (the NBA’s second longest), even though half those games were without Yao, in 2008, and his woefully undermanned Rockets still took the Lakers to seven games in the Western Conference Semifinals last year. The man can coach, and he might be just the man to elevate James’ already lofty game even higher.
    7. The Daryl Morey Factor: Just as you should never, ever underestimate the heart of a champion, you should never underestimate the wiliest GM in the league. I’m going to leave it to real Rockets bloggers like The Dream Shake and Red 94 to go into all the details of just how much smarter Morey seems to be than every other GM in the NBA. But what if Morey has just been playing possum all along? What if all the Chris Bosh talk has been a carefully constructed smokescreen to obscure the fact that Morey has a cunning and elaborate scheme to land James? And if he had to, I’m betting Morey could clear sufficient cap space to land James in short order (remember those draft picks). How? If I knew that, I’d be running an NBA club or breaking the bank at Vegas rather than writing a blog.

    So there you have it: Seven logical reason why LeBron James might indeed end up with the Houston Rockets. Likely? No. But not beyond the realm of possibility.