Wednesday, December 17, 2008
It hurt watching months go by with Shane sitting on the bench. Jeff Van Gundy's said on multiple occasions that Yao is a performer that thrives on consistency and repetition. Without that 6'9 three-point shooter standing in the corner, without that wise and unselfish 6'9 passer setting him up, how is Yao supposed to get his rhythm and dominate?
Then T-Mac leaves us and Artest snaps his ankle.
Now Skip's out.
I feel like I'm becoming one of those ESPNish dudes who can only talk about injuries when they cover the Rockets.
But Skip will be back before we know it, and Aaron Brooks played out of his mind last night against Chauncey. Aaron seemed to assume the persona of Billups: coming down and swacking a three while guarded, getting into the paint, basically dominating. I was worried about how he'd hold up against Billups on the other end, but our team defense was ridiculous enough to overcompensate. Billups couldn't hope to beat us by shooting long contested jumpshots. He's played on Detroit long enough to know that you need to get your teammates going to beat the really good ballclubs, but therein lies the dilemma - how do you get your teammates going when you've got Shane Battier, Ron Artest and Tracy McGrady closing out and switching on almost everything? Then you add in that Yao has dramatically improved his ability to just fucking stand there and be 8+ feet of Chinese in the paint. There's no where to go.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Blazersedge: When Barry was on you, were you thinking "shot, shot, shot"?
Nah, I was thinking "be aggressive" every time. Make a play. I was able to make some. Miss some. Normally it's about playing 48 minutes.
Tonight it was 53 minutes.
And I was finally able to make some plays.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
This is from Jason Friedman's article and interview with Sam Hinkie, Houston Rockets Vice President of Basketball Operations
"Chuck Hayes, to me, falls into that category as a 6’ 5’’ big who doesn’t block many shots or play above the rim, but uses his lateral quickness in a way to be a tremendous help defender. He’s already an excellent individual one-on-one defender, but he’s also proven to be a tremendous help defender for his teammates in that, when you get beat on pick-and-rolls – and everyone does – and when you get beat off the dribble by these great players in our game with tremendous speed – and everyone does – to have a guy who can physically get there to defend or take a charge is huge."
One more note on the Mavericks game. The big 3 that Artest knocks down at the top of the key to close out the game (3 minutes left in the game, puts the lead over 10) - the execution of the stagger screen was flawless. And guess who had to make the critical second pick? Chuck Hayes. Josh Howard went under the first screen thinking he could cut back to close out on Artest's shot, but then Chuck finds the right position to send Howard deeper inside so that Artest had, as Fratello would say, "plenty of space." Watch it on ClutchFans at like 7:30 in the clip.
Aaron definitely outplayed Jason Kidd when he was on the floor. He guarded Jason Terry fairly well, too. The PG position can finally be considered adequate if not strong. Barry and Aaron and Rafer, one of them can get the job done if the others aren't feeling it.
It's not a perfect comparison, but if you look at the Texans' running back position (Slaton the rookie is quick but inexperienced, Green is less explosive, but you want him in there to give the rookie some rest and to do what veterans do) this is just how I see Aaron and Rafer working out their minutes together. Both of them benefiting from the rest, and the team benefiting from the diversity of talents.
As for Luther, if he was 2 inches taller he'd play the back-up shooting guard for us. But he isn't, so I will regretably have to agree with these nutjobs.
Oh yea. Yao was perfect.
Ron Artest: Free Throws 6-6
Chuck Hayes: Minutes - 25:18
Tracy McGrady: Minutes - 29:56
Fast Break Pts: Hou - 11 Dal - 37
+/- Hayes: +21, Barry: +21, Brooks: +22
Adelman via Jason Friedman's AWESOME POST GAME ARTICLE WITH SO MANY QUOTES IT WILL MAKE YOUR HEAD EXPLODE:
"You can’t say enough about the second group. Aaron gave us a huge lift and Brent (Barry) and Chuck Hayes was terrific defensively in the second half. Just showed we can be pretty good if we just stay with it. We’ve got a lot of guys that can help.”
"Ron was terrific the whole game," said Adelman. "Took some big shots, defended well. It was a great team win... And all along I was hoping to play Chuck. I didn’t even worry about Chuck getting three fouls in the first half. I had to put him in. He’s got to do the best job, he’s got to stay solid. He does so many things for us when he’s on the court.”
From Jason Friedman:
"And 1's: Last year, free throw shooting was a constant thorn in the Rockets' side. And while it's only been two games, Houston is showing signs of marked improvement from the charity stripe this season. One night after hitting 21-of-25 (84%) against Memphis, the Rockets knocked down 29-of-31 (93.5%) versus Dallas."
Saturday, October 25, 2008
The current crew includes several guys whom their boss affectionately calls "basketball players": Shane Battier, Carl Landry, Chuck Hayes. Back when he was assistant GM, Morey helped to direct the draft day deal that sent Stromile Swift and the rights to Rudy Gay to the Grizzlies for Battier because Morey's numbers showed that when the fundamentally sound forward is on the court, his team is better at scoring, rebounding, shooting, limiting fouls and stopping opponents from scoring.
"Everyone wants Kevin Garnett—he's got the perfect height, body, mentality—but most times, you're going to have to do with less," Morey says. "Behind Yao and Tracy, we've been willing to give up an inch of height, let's say, for more skill, a person who plays harder and creates for others, who defends and rebounds well." Morey's "basketball players" don't pop off a stat sheet, but they give coach Rick Adelman interchangeable and versatile parts that are capable of creating offensive and defensive advantages. "Chuck can guard anyone from 1 to 5; Shane can play 2, 3 or 4; Luis Scola can play 3, 4 or 5; and Brent Barry can go 1, 2 or 3," Morey says. "We're limited only by our strategic insight."
Friday, October 24, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Artest is a lock for small forward if Shane is out - maybe even if Shane is okay. Luis, Yao, Rafer - check. That leaves Tracy. If he doesn't think his knee's strong enough, who's coming in for him?
Landry could slide over to the three. They've talked about it before, and Carl's outside J is looking nice, but without Dike we need Landry's minutes later on.
Barry could play the two guard. But if you think about it, is this what Barry came over for? To grind out regular season minutes while Tracy stretches and sips on some Vitamin Water? Barry even took like a month off last year, just because he could. He was in that whole trade re-sign weird thing with San Antonio. My guess is that he comes in to move the ball with Aaron.
The logical conclusion, and the answer I'm sure a bunch of you don't want to hear, is that Luther Head should and will come in for most of Tracy and Shane's missed minutes.
I'm not sure how this is going to play out. Will he even out his minutes guarding bigger two guards by dropping threes and making good cuts? I'd love to hear he's worked like crazy on his handles over the off-season, but he didn't seem too much improved in his preseason games.
If Tracy or Shane come back in, the whole thing changes. Think about starting a Rafer, Shane, Ron, Luis, Yao lineup. One more week and we'll see.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Jan 07 Houston@Boston: A titanic clash of the Titans comes down to a Luther Head-Eddie House shoot-out. Joey Dorsey gets confused and blocks Head's game-tying attempt at the end. Boston wins.
Nov 15 New Orleans @ Houston. After the game, Ron Artest and Bonzi Wells share one last slow dance on the court, in the dark, at Toyota Center.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
“I have no understanding of football,” Yao said. “I watch the highlights. They are very physical, very interesting in highlights. But in highlights, every sport looks very interesting.”
Asked why he agreed to be part of that ceremony, Yao said, “To see a football game.”
Scola went to two games last season as part of his determination to experience as much local flavor as possible. But he said his expertise is only slightly greater than Yao’s.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
"These young players are gaining alot of 4th quarter experience" The Bull
And how is the preseason useless when the Rockets are making it rain from the 3 point line. Check out are boy... That wafer so good, I need some milk.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Aaron burned up and down the court finishing with 20 pts. on 9-14 shooting, 3 ast. and 3 turnovers. But he also ended up with the NBA.com Dunk of the night, While Rafer with the assist of the night to YAO!
This young player seems to be getting there in my opinion. He is going to improve as the season goes on and the playing time goes up. Last night he showed that he has not forgotten how to shoot the ball. One play that stands out in my mind is when Brent Barry bringing the ball down off a OKC turnover and points out AB on the wing. AB cuts and hits the open, long two. That is a perfect example of AB's game crossing over to the NBA. Brooks also had that sweet lefty finish off the glass against two defenders. But back to my rant, AB has to find a way make his shooting take his game to the next level because he definately has the speed to blow by anyone in the game, and if he can consistantly have that game, he can truly be amazing. Brooks has also proven that he is a great passer, though he only had 3 ast, BUT he definately had some great passes that were not finished. (ex. Barry 2-5 3pt shooting) If Tmac thinks he is ready, then lets see what the young guy can do.
Turns out Kevin Durant needs more that a D.J. Strawberry gaurding him to be stopped. I like what Adleman and the rest of the team let DJ and Wafer do. They pretty much let those guys take control of the game in the 4th quarter to prove themselves. Although I did see Brent Barry changing plays on the white board during time outs for Rick. It was pretty funny to see if you caught that.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
An underwhelming endorsement, I'm sure, but there was something noticeably different about it: The strange Manchester arena, T-Mac playing for the first time, the two triumvirates colliding in a not-so-friendly exhibition, and a buzzer beater from Luis reminiscent of Adonal Foyle's fingernail tip in from last season
T-Mac just can't sit out there and chill. Ron's ripping balls away from Pierce and body-checking Ray Allen out of bounds. Brent Barry, in the games he played earlier, looks to be as competitive as anyone out there. Any concerns of a lackadaisical, post-championship-run veteran set out to pasture in Houston have come and gone. The Rockets look like they've all bought in. They're all ready to go out there and put together some Ws. And Shane hasn't played a minute!
Thanks to FreeDarko for linking to this SLAMonline Gilbert Arenas interview.
"SLAM: What do you know about Sarah Palin?
Gil: That she’s a female Bush. Retarded. I’m not that into politics, I try to stay away until things get closer. But just from what I can tell she’s a moron. She can’t bullshit yet. As a politician she doesn’t know how to bullshit. She’ll just run around the question. “Who’s better, Kobe or LeBron?” “Well you know D.Wade, he’s been looking nice lately, so those are tough choices.” What the f*ck are you talking about?!
SLAM: Andrew Bynum has been bragging about his Halo skills. You think he can see you?
Gil: No. No athlete can see me.
SLAM: So what’s your weapon of choice?
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Apparently we haven't seen anything, yet.
One of the things I gleaned from the article was the seemingly imminent possibility of another transition phase early on in the season. Last year it took us awhile to "adjust" and apparently we didn't adjust that much, anyway. So, this year, I wouldn't be surprised to see a slow start in November.
“Last year we found out very quickly these guys weren’t very used to doing it, and we had to make calls,” Adelman said. “When you make calls in this league, as soon as you make the call, everybody in the world knows it. It’s harder to run anything... "
“Out of necessity we had to do that last year,” Adelman said. “Then, it really puts the onus on Tracy and Yao. We can always go to those guys. I don’t care if the whole world knows they’re getting the ball, they’re going to have a hard time guarding them. It’s the other guys that can benefit from the offense if we don’t have to make calls and just play.
“These guys have to be a little bit more obedient, and they have to execute a little bit better. We don’t want to make a ton of calls. We want to play (with) movement on the pass. I feel really good about what we’re going to do offensively.”
From Eric Mussleman's blog: a little training that might benefit Tracy - too bad it's going on in Dallas.
"The first day of camp was spent running. More specifically, it was spent running hard for three quick steps at the start of each change of possession. It's something the new coaching staff will be unwavering about. They will demand that players turn on the jets the moment they switch from defense to offense, or vice-versa."
This one made me laugh.
Well, if you watch the NBA at all, you might pick up the fact that T-Mac, Shane Battier, Ron Artest and Yao are more talented at their positions than Rafer is at his.
Noting this in his Rockets preview, John Hollinger then agrees with us addicts:
"...he's essential, as his absence in the first two games of the Utah series showed..."
It's not like I want to build a shrine to the guy, but crapping on someone because they're the worst starter on a Championship team seems so useless. I'm sure Perkins doesn't get treated the same way Rafer does. He is the worst starter on the Championship team (debatable Rondo/Perkins).
Perkins is awful! Why not trade Perkins and Tony Allen and Eddie House for Dwight Howard? He's way better than Perkins!
Numbers - Everything else = John Hollinger
Here are some numbers that might reflect Alston's position in the starting line up (via chron.com):
Tracy McGrady $19.6M
Yao Ming $15.1M
Ron Artest $7.4M
Shane Battier $6.3M
Rafer Alston $4.9M
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
It may not need to be stated any more, but the preseason is not about the "W"'s. It's easy to understand why a casual fan would get bored by that fact, but as an addict I couldn't be more excited about the month leading up to the season. The beauty of the preseason is that there are so many different unknowns that are being played out and evaluated. Each player and each coach has their own purpose and each one can be a vital piece of a winning season.
Veterans need some minutes to get warmed up and to begin trying to get into somewhat of a comfortable rhythm heading into the season. They also get minutes to see how the younger guys and new pieces will work together. Rookies need to get over the fact that they are in a game with people they have watched since they were in 8th grade.
Rookies and sophomores are fighting for season minutes, and with this health-depleted team it is VERY important that we evaluate them properly and honestly. Chances are they will be our X-factor this season. That being said, I hope these guys will not need to be depended on in the playoffs, when we go to a 7-9 man rotation.
The purpose for each player on our roster differs. Here are some of the things I am watching closely during this preseason.
Rafer Alston - his injuries really change his focus. He, like a Battier or Scola, is very consistent and is reliable veteran talent, and you know exactly what you are going to get from them. His minutes should be limited to make way for Brooks to prove himself and for Rafer to stay healthy. While he is playing I would like to see how his shooting looks, that is always going to be Alston Achilles' heel.
Shane Battier - Will not play b/c of his injury. He may just become a coach and evaluator.
Luis Scola - Will get a lot of minutes at the center position (otherwise known as the five). We do not know completely how this will work. It worked well at times last season, but as of now we are strongly dependent upon his ability to play that position. In the playoffs, most of his time will be at the four, but he is a second team starter at the five, as well; and will probably only be on the bench when Dorsey, Landry, or Hayes are in with Yao. It’s also important to evaluate how he works when a team doubles Yao. He must find his spots and sometimes hit the open 15-footer.
T-Mac -He will complain about injuries and really not play much at all. We should see how he and Artest work together early on. It's not anything I’m worried about, but it will be fun to see for the first time.
Yao - will get some good minutes for a preseason. Maybe 20 to 30 minutes at times. He has to get his endurance up or he will get killed early in the year. Hopefully his season minutes will stay low, for obvious reasons. He will also be there for rookies and young players to practice the art passing to him in the post and for the catch and shoot when he is doubled.
Dorsey Vs. Landry Vs. Hayes - This will be a very competitive battle that is not even close to being worked out. Hayes is pretty much the veteran of the group and his professionalism and intelligence will be valued in certain season and playoff games, but it will not need to be evaluated in the preseason. We know how to use him and when. Landry will probably see more minutes than Chuck during the season, because of his scoring ability and decent defense. His knee will get tested and we will see some dunks this preseason. Dorsey will get more minutes in the preseason than the whole season. He will have to prove himself as more than a rebounder or defensive player to overtake any of Hayes' minutes. His scoring and offense will be the unknown that will be looked at the closest.
Aaron Brooks - Is the MOST IMPORTANT player to be evaluated this preseason. He has worked hard in the preseason knowing this, and it will be great to see how it will affect his game. He will run the point and the offense a lot. We must see him guard some bigger guards and shoot like he is capable of. In my opinion, he will never be able to play Alston's role, but, with higher court IQ from experience, he can really change the dynamic of the team by being a high flying offensive-minded point guard. Cross your fingers for Brooks. We will need him to be great in order to win a championship.
Brent Barry - This veteran will play for fun. He will do things the right way and show the Rockets how to shoot without any care. I would like to see him with Yao, T-Mac, and Artest in these games to see just how open he will be. It's scary to think about. Also he will be bringing the ball up a lot in the preseason. We did not bring him here to be our backup PG, but it will be evaluated early, just in case Brooks can't handle his tough role this early in his career.
Luther Head - He is in trouble. He will be a third team player with Dorsey if he does not get better at running the offense. His SG role is already a proven commodity and we know how to use him at the two. However, with T-Mac and Barry ahead of him, it may not be a needed role. He will be very vital if T-Mac or Barry go down in the season, which is very likely.
Ron Artest - This is the most complicated evaluation. It is a very positive dilemma. He can be used in so many ways that his role will depend on who else is in the game not on his best skill-set. He will have a set number of minutes in the season, and he will be effective at almost every position; just as he was used by Adelman in Sacramento. This will be awesome to see and cheer for.
Submitted by Earnie Banks
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
"I never had a team where I had four starters have surgery,'' said Adelman, starting his 18th season as a head coach. "That's been one of my major concerns, how these guys are going to come to camp, where they are physically and how we are going to monitor that as we go through this first month.''
Monday, September 29, 2008
Oh, I almost forgot. When you listen to Shane talking about switching off tough defensive assignments, note the "it's not about trying to make the all-defensive team" line he drops. I wonder if he was asked something about it, or is he still rightfully bitter about Kobe and Duncan getting first team all-defense instead of him.
Kobe already got his lifetime achievement MVP award last season, he didn't need 1st team all defense - just because he guarded Leandro Barbosa and other dudes in the FIBA tournament last summer.
"Wow. Kobe can really play defense when he's committed." - shut up. So can Tracy. Give him an award. Shane does play defense and he is committed, every night, every game.
Yao owns Duncan on the low-block, and T-Mac just kills Bowen - no contest. I almost want to play the Spurs in the first round.
I promise to post less about whatever happens on my NBA video games, but I have to comment on one lineup. The possibilities for new rotations next year are just fascinating. I had Alston, Barry and Tracy all in together at the 1, 2 and 3 spots, and they were killing people. They could all hit the open three, and they're all superb passers. Maybe a little sub par on the defensive end for each of their positions, but against the lesser teams it could really work. Think Toronto Raptors' ball movement, but with Yao in the middle.
Also, Artest at the four next to Yao at the five is looking more and more... awesome.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Contracts for the league’s out-of-market package, NBA League Pass, also expire this fall, and the NBA is trying to use League Pass to induce cable and satellite operators to provide better penetration for NBA TV.
According to multiple sources on both sides of the talks, some cable operators are warming to the idea. NBA TV’s distribution has stagnated on sports tiers at 12 million subscribers. A move from a sports tier to digital basic would add between 6 million and 10 million subscribers, depending on the operator.
“It’s going to happen,” said one cable operator executive, of NBA TV’s pending move to digital basic. “It will happen in the next year.”
"When I started to rehabilitate my ankle, the way that I walked, ran and jumped was slightly altered. During one rehabilitation session, I believe that I tried to jump too quickly and forcefully and jarred the bones in the back of my ankle. This trauma caused the area to slightly swell.
There is not a lot of room for swelling in the foot joint, so when there is swelling in the foot joint, it becomes very painful and sore. The best medicine to treat this type of injury is rest. The doctors told me to reduce the amount of impact and force that I apply to the joint to allow the joint to return to normal. That means no training camp or preseason for me this year."
Probably for the best. Shane doesn't need any floortime in the preseason. This just means more time for Artest. While any injury sucks, this seems like some early rest for Battier. Come playoff time, let's hope all of our players are fresh and rested. Lebron and the Celtics have ensured the Eastern Conf. Champ. is going to be almost as battle weary as the West's in the Finals. Our depth needs to keep us winning in the regular season and peaking in the playoffs.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
The Rim: "Car-r-l-l... Car-r-r-r-l-l-l..."
Landry: "Huh, whu?... who said that?"
The Rim: "Carl, you know you want to jump up and hang on me.."
Landry: "Stop distracting me! I'm trying to play here, man!"
The Rim: "Carl.. Come on. Just wait around me. T-Mac will find you... He doesn't come to hang on me any more. He loves his precious 'jump shot'. When's the last time Bill Worrell's yelled, 'T-Mac to the rack!' I miss those days... But you, Carl, you know you want to dunk on me."
Landry: "Oh, you know me too well. I just can't wait to jump up and touch you in the game. I know when that ball bounces off of you, you want me to grab it and slam it back in."
The Rim: "That's right, Carl. Look. Here comes T-Mac, now. Just wait for it... wait for it..."
Landry: "Oomph!" -catches pass- "Rrrrahhhkakaka!" -dunks-
The Rim: "No! Don't let go! Just hang on me a little more. Ahhh, that's nice. Swing your legs around and hit everyone else with your knees. Perfect."
Landry: "I won't ignore you ever again. I'm going to try to dunk every play, even if I blow my knee out."
The Rim: "I love you, Carl."
Landry: "Wait for me, I'll come back to you!" -runs back on D-
Landry's dunks as a Rocket
Most Dunks in 07-08
Carl dunked more in his limited playing time than the likes of Tracy McGrady, Tim Duncan, David West, Chris Kaman and many more big-time finishers.
I was so ready to hate Landry for leaving. Now that he's ours again, and the more dunks I see, the more the joy starts to seep in.
If Dike re-signs, God help the other teams.
Here's a prediction: Just like what we ran with Bonzi, our third unit is going to wreck other team's third units. Last year we had Aaron Brooks, Luther Head, Bonzi, Landry and Scola all subbed in to play the other team's bench. They'd come in and either keep our ten point lead solid, or actually make a run against the other team. This year it's going to be Ron Ron in there instead of Bonzi. Artest, Landry, Scola is such a killer front court. And we can throw in Dorsey, Chuck, Shane, Brent - whoever. But man, oh man, Landry just makes us that much better.
Cool. Our first link!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
JD: Well, the Texans were actually at my basketball workout.
JCF: Really? Did they ask you to do any football drills?
JD: Yeah, they gave me a couple football drills...
JD: You know, my mid-range jumpshot is coming along pretty well. We had a [shooting] drill today where it was me, Brent Barry, Mike Harris and DJ Strawberry against T-Mac, Luther Head, Chuck Hayes and somebody else, I can't remember who it was. But they thought the teams were even by having Chuck on one side and me on the other (laughs). They didn't know I could shoot the ball like that. We were shooting threes and mid-range jump shots and we beat them 4-1.
JD: I would have to say Carlos Boozer. Yeah, I like Boozer; I like his game. He's more of a power guy and he can shoot the little 18-footer, so I like Boozer's game. I'm a rebounder. I love rebounding the ball and getting in there and doing the dirty work, but a lot of people don't know I can score the ball, too.
Buddy Baker, known for being a relentless money grabber, feels the Rockets owe Landry (and him) lots of money for Landry’s second-half run last season. Landry would box out huge centers, rebound and dunk all in the same motion! He had a decent outside shot and used it properly. His personal passion can be used to ignite any team. This is the Landry that Buddy Baker is trying to sell, but it may not be the Landry he has.
THE KNEE DILEMMA - March. 8th
Daryl Morey really looked like a genius picking this guy up in the second round, but there are risks that come with genius picks, and Landry's major knee problem was enough for 30+ teams to pass on him. Landry missed his entire Junior Year at Purdue because of knee surgery, but had a resurgence in his Senior year - with a big brace on his knee. At first it seemed we had won on our gamble, but then, 17 games into the streak, he was gone. We went on to win five games without him, and he was back two games after that. Landry all of a sudden was not Baker's Landry: He was tentative. His dunks turned into layups. His offensive boards became kick-outs instead of put-backs, and his And1's became jump shots. Although still effective, he was not the player he was before the injury. Landry depends on his athleticism and his spring and is merely average without them. He came through at times in the playoffs, but it was a spotty showing at best.
Daryl Morey knows how good Landry can be, and that is why he has Landry restricted and there have been no deals made yet. However Baker is asking for a lot, and it may be too much for the Rockets to afford, given the risk. Morey challenged Buddy Baker, asking Landry to get a complete scope on his knee. Baker denied the request, claiming it was a desperate attempt to scare other teams’ offers away. It is obvious that he is as worried as the Rockets are about Landry's health and he was trying to belittle the issue to make other teams offer more money that the Rockets would have to match or Landry would have to take. Smart for business, but if you don’t have a product it will be tough to sell. Daryl does not want to pay big bucks for post-March 8th Landry, and Baker is making the original gamble too much for Morey to risk. On this issue, and almost every issue, I am on Daryl Morey's side. No matter what jersey Landry has on next year, he will have A LOT to prove. Can he use his aggressive attitude and his immense athletic ability in a way that doesn't risk his whole career? Who knows!??!?!?!?!?!?
Submitted by Earnie Banks
The account said he is 28 and he just started it on september 22nd. On top of that, there is a webcam picture of him and the webcam video. So ye, it is his account. Hopefully, when the season starts up he will start posting videos of him talking shit. That would be great. Maybe Shane can get in on it too since he likes technology so much.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Even a bunch of 'stonians I've asked have out-of-town favorites.
Well, I'm not really trying to talk about them. I'm trying to talk about teams that just aren't very good and about liking them for something other than winning. I'm talking about enjoying the pre-Maggette Warriors play (play everyone except the Rockets: they could really swarm Yao with Biedrins and Harrington and run over our guards with Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson). Anthony Randolph and Brandan Wright are going to be pretty fun to watch I guess, anyway.
But for this upcoming season, there are a few teams out there that I really feel like I'll be rooting for:
In the West..
Al Jefferson is great to watch. He's a hard worker who puts up ridiculous inside shots that kill most PFs and Centers. Kevin Love is also a hard worker. He's got a great touch and is going to add so much to a team full of scorer-slashers. You've got a big in Al who can really hold down the middle and a big in Love that will get the young guards involved.
All in all, he would have been a great fit here in Houston. I still love having Artest, but can't you just see Miller opening the game up for everyone?
Al Thornton was one of the most impressive rookies last year. Scola was new to the scene, so, yeah, maybe you say he was a rookie. Horford and Durant, yeah, everyone knows they're good.
Thornton is going to be a starter for a long time, and he didn't even get voted onto the rookie team for the All-star weekend game vs. the sophomores.
I feel sorry for Mobley, he's never really been around a great point guard. And for a shooter, that's got to take a toll on your game. But with Baron, Cuttino will really see some space for those jumpers. And don't get me started on Baron. He's always worth watching, and he doesn't let up in any part of his game. With a new coach and a new team, I think we might see a new Baron. But that's not to say he'll change the way he scores, maybe just the decisions he makes throughout the game, defense and offense.
I've got a league saved on NBA Live07 with all the trades updated (minus all the nonexistant rookies) and the Camby-Kaman-R. Davis-Mobley-B. Davis lineup is tough, even with Artest. They rebound and play D, and there's no shortage of perimeter scoring.
This team may come the closest of the lower-tier punk upstarts to contending with Houston's record, and I shouldn't really root for a team that could knock us into a bad playoff spot. But I can't help gravitating toward their roster.
Brandon Roy is like a taller, more shooting-guardish Andre Miller; so what's not to love.
Watching LaMarcus is like watching your kid brother or nephew or whatever finally shake out his lanky awkwardness and really put it all together for his sport.
Their role players are worth your attention. At least they come to play hard and play to win: Steve Blake, Outlaw, Pryzbilla, Webster, etc.
Then you add in three brand new, never-before-seen-in-the-NBA players: a #1 pick 7-ft. center, a Euro All-star, and a college standout. If I lived in Portland, I'd be buying tickets.
In 05/06 the Rockets drafted Luther Head with the 24th overall pick from Illinois. I am not much of a college basketball follower, given I am a Houston loyalist, but Luther made a name for himself playing alongside Deron Williams all the way to the Final Four. Still in need for athletic and young guard play, the Rockets were really impressed with Head, mainly his shooting ability and quickness.
When T-Mac and Yao went down in 05/06, and Alston took over the lead PG role, Luther was inserted as a starter for 27 games at the SG position. For a team that was in the playoffs the previous year, this speaks volumes about our injury situation and Jeff Van Gundy's intentions to rebuild our supporting cast around his superstars.
Watching Luther that season was a treat. He was completely unfazed by the situation. He truly was a breath of fresh air. He ran around with the energy found in a college basketball system and played every play like it was an elimination game. It is the first time I saw this kind of talent and energy on a Houston Rockets team, maybe dating back to Vernon Maxwell. As previously mentioned in my Alston testament, the Rockets’ record that season was very misleading. We lost many close games that year that we should have been blown out of. Rafer and Luther were the most impressive on the floor.
The following year the team was healthier, and Luther's minutes went down. He still was a major contributor off the bench and found his role as our #1 backup for T-Mac. He shot a stunning 44.1% from the 3 point line! This was by far our best shooter on our team. He still is, with small competition from newly acquired Brent Barry.
In the playoffs we ran into Utah that year. It is true that he went into a slump, but watching every game that year it was easy to understand why. Somehow the referees allowed Yao to be guarded solely by Mehmet Okur’s pushing and pulling, while Yao would get punished for turning his body. This single coverage allowed Utah to man up with Luther, and every single shot was a contested one. Jeff Van Gundy didn't adjust, and Luther's role became an impossible one. JVG just kept pounding it in to Yao. Our whole game plan is for his shooting to relieve Yao of his double teams, yet there weren't any double teams for most of that series. Either you blame Yao for not taking control and demanding the double or the referees for pre-determining the series. As news and comments keep coming, I am a strong believer in the latter. No matter the reason, this series gave Luther his "choke" title that is FAR from deserved.
Last season was Luther's worst in terms of shooting. He was off at the beginning, and it was a real slump. Once again Yao went out and his role had to adapt to something he wasn't. At times he was the PG, which really isn't his position. It's not like he ever had to worry about that at Illinois (I think D. Williams had it covered).
My favorite thing about Luther, and in my Addict opinion his most important asset to our team, will be hitting big time three pointers late in games. You can just go ahead and translate that into being "clutch". He has been absolutely amazing in the 4th and it’s no fluke. He has hit at least 3 game winners in his short career and probably close to 10 stake-in-the-heart three-pointers. If you watch his interviews and see his work ethic, it’s not surprising at all. He has a very soft-spoken, cold-faced and hard-working persona. He loves the game of basketball in a way that JVG couldn't resist. He never seems to lose his cool no matter how bad he is struggling, or how intense the game situation is.
My final point involves last year's playoff series against the Jazz, where he did not make a shot. Now, Houstonians are asking for his head (no pun intended). Once again, we did not have Yao and even Alston at times. Luther was forced to dribble and run around more than he should. On another note, he was being refereed very unfairly. I have never seen Luther so upset, than I did in Game 4 of that series while he was on the bench. It wasn't a mad at himself act, it was a complete hatred for the referee's calls. In my opinion, referees target young players like Luther, and they know people will be quick to blame him without much investigation. Believe me, if Yao was not our main guy, and we didn't have the type of superstar talent we have, then Luther would not be the championship piece that we need. But we rest our whole future on Yao and T-Mac and Luther fits PERFECTLY in that plan. When Yao goes down, Luther does too. When Yao is here, Luther is a valuable 8th man this season.
Everyone thinks he needs to be traded. Radio broadcasters joke that we can't even "give" him away. This is how they justify the fact that Daryl Morey loves Luther. These are the same people that thought Steve would steal Rafer's job after being bought out for 30 million. Here is my prediction: Luther will hit some of the biggest shots of any Rocket this season, playoffs included. I just wish people would stop talking so badly about these players, including T-Mac.
And, after rushing through as many NBA stories and blurbs as possible, there's the Gilbert thing and all this:
Coming to see the Rockets in L.A. just got more expensive (first cup):
The premium to be levied on individual Lakers tickets will range from $10 on a $35 seat to $55 for a $260 seat and be in effect for home games against Boston (Dec. 25), Cleveland (Jan. 19), San Antonio (Jan. 25), New Orleans (Feb. 20), Phoenix (Feb. 26), Dallas (March 15) and Houston (April 3)."
TrueHoop's litany of "loose ends"
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Rafer Alston (TrueHoop's article on the Rockets)
"This will be the second time in my career I get to play with a fellow Queens, New York guy. We knew and heard so much about each other growing up, so it’s going to be exciting. I had a chance to play with (Queen’s native) Lamar Odom in Miami and we had a wonderful year – ended up going to the Eastern Conference Semi-finals, so I look forward to advancing with Ron this year."
"The reality is that, everyday, Ron works the hardest out of anybody here. He's right up there with Yao - he's a gym rat. And he's a good guy; from the time I've been here he's been real nice. Honestly, he's been real cool; smiling, laughing and joking like a regular guy.I think he just likes the situation here. He's got Mac and Yao, and he gets to team up with them and his buddy, Rafer."
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
We 'stonians better relish the opportunity to get so much national coverage. Artest is going to bring almost nightly Rockets plugs on ESPN.
Also, anything as similarly marketable as the Celtics' big three or the Celtics/Lakers rivalry will consume the League's promos.
That's right lets pick some good seats ADDICTS!! We should try and get as many people to get the outskirts of the front row... that way only Rocket's ADDICTS will be that close...ALSO in case RON goes nuts and tries to jump in the stands again we can "TRY" and hold him back. Chances are that is not gonna happen again because of Ron's Comments.
"Whatever Yao Ming wants me to do, I'll be there. Whatever Tracy McGrady tells me to do, that's how it's going to go down. Ultimately, whatever Rick Adelman tells me to do is exactly what I'm going to do."
Hopefully they dont tell him to run in the stands and beat the shit out of this guy for talking shit.
Monday, September 8, 2008
I also love hearing knowledgeable and cantankerous old men give their honest opinions. Looks like I lucked out with this:
Mitch Ablum, sportswriter and author of 'Tuesdays With Morrie,' interviews Bill Davidson, owner of the Detroit Pistons and the WNBA's Detroit Shock.
Here are some excerpts: (Q = Ablum, A = Davidson)
"Q: What do you look for during a game?
A: Well, I look for certain things, which are mainly fouls ... and, unfortunately, the referees are not what they should be -- although they're getting better. So I watch the referees. I watch who they are. There are certain referees -- when they come to our game -- you know you're gonna lose. And that should never be.
Q: What do you think of the whole Tim Donaghy scandal?
A: That's the tip of the iceberg with referees.
Q: Do the refs' calls upset you that much?
A: Yeah, it's what they call and when they call it -- and on whom they call it. And when you see what they do, you know that they're kind of taking over the game and making the outcome certain -- all they have to do is call a couple ticky-tack fouls on say, (Chauncey) Billups, and you're not gonna win that game.
Q: Have you voiced that concern to the commissioner?
A: (He laughs.) Daily!"
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Gotta love them Lithuanians
"The Rockets also announced the hiring of Arturas Karnisovas as director of global scouting and international affairs.
"Karnisovas, a former European player of the year after his college career at Seton Hall, played professionally in Italy, Greece, Spain and France and was a two-time Olympic bronze medalist for Lithuania."
Not many people had heard much about Rafer Alston, the NBA player, when he was acquired from the Toronto Raptors before the '05-'06 season. Being 'Skip to my Lou' was his claim to fame, and the AND1 stigma was hard to shake off; just as others had tried and failed in the past.
Could a flashy guard have a strong enough head to run an NBA offense?
This was the year after our disappointing first round exit to Dallas. That team was filled with veterans: Bob Sura, David Wesley, John Barry at the guard positions, and the organization quietly and quickly realized that they needed to begin rebuilding slowly but surely towards their goal of a T-Mac and Yao-led championship.
Jeff Van Gundy was beginning to recruit his "type" of players and set his sights on a solid passing point guard to defer to T-Mac and Yao - while still playing great defense. Rafer always had the speed and the handles, and over the course of the last 4 years he has proven that he was the perfect man for the job. Thank You, Jeff.
Rafer's success and his spot in our starting lineup is a concrete example of one the very FEW advantages to having an injury-plagued team. Bob Sura went down for good, and David Wesley began shooting himself into retirement; All of sudden Rafer was the best choice and the only choice the Rockets had.
In a year where Yao played only 57 games, and T-mac a mere 47, Jeff realized a championship was not a reasonable season goal. He began to work on the players he planned to use in the future. Injuries, the 40-point game-7 loss and the bad season record were alienating fans. All the while Rafer was showing that he was the best player on our depleted roster. A very important thing to understand is that our record was extremely misleading that year. Almost every single game was competitive and with almost nothing on our roster. Van Gundy's coaching was beginning to shine. In fact, he probably was completely happy with what his team gave him that year.
Heading into the '06-'07 season Rafer was our top runner, and we really felt that with a healthy team and what we built in '05-'06 we were already playoff material. Rafer went on to start ALL 82 games that season averaging the most minutes per game (37.1 minutes) on the team. His durability and reliability really made it possible for him to get better and our team to get completely comfortable with him. Unfortunately, Yao was injured again and only played 48 games. Although we would lose to Utah in 7 games, moving into the playoffs and being a few minutes from advancing was a step in the right direction from what was a rebuilding year just one year before. However, the Houston fans saw this as a huge disappointment and combined the last two years of let down with the previous 6 years - our team was unfairly criticized. Injuries were obvious reasons, but Rafer was always there, by proxy setting him up to be the scapegoat.
He is a very spotty shooter and always has been, but Jeff did not bring him here to be a third option scorer. There were still two positions (SF,PF) that were better suited for that role and Jeff began asking too much from Rafer without much choice. In the offseason Rafer was absolutely murdered by the Houston media and fans. His arrests and the Rockets' acquisitions: Steve Francis and Aaron Brooks, led many to believe that the Rockets organization was as ignorant as the fans themselves. But the facts always overshadow unfounded opinions, and Rafer EASILY beat out all competition. I emphasize easily because Rafer had an advantage. His two years of experience and the continuous lack of respect he received were two driving forces for Rafer's success that training camp - no one came close.
It wasn't until the 22-game winning streak that Rafer was finally absolved from the AND1 stigma, and all the haters really couldn't find anything to complain about. It is true that he was at his best, but his tough NBA journey led him to this inevitable year.
I first noticed how vital he was to this team in a game against New Orleans on Feb. 3 in the '06-'07 season. In the first quarter, Rafer was ejected along with a New Orleans scrub. An unusually healthy Rockets team had no flow or chemistry or any chance to win that game. This wasn't the New Orleans of last year or even the Chris Paul of last year. If that wasn't enough, then everybody could see his impact when a "better scoring" guard (Bobby Jackson) was forced to lead the Rockets in the first two playoff games last season. He led us right into an impenetrable 0-2 deficit.
My final point is understanding the value in terms of money with a player like Alston. Unselfish, intangible-driven players like Alston are usually undervalued and underpaid in the NBA. We now have 3 superstars and a rising star in Scola. Oh, and Battier isn't exactly a scrub either. Who could we possibly get that would be better? Everyone you could name would be either an elite point guard who plays the role of T-Mac for their respective team while getting paid near the same, or a better scoring point guard who is 3 years behind Rafer's experience and chemistry with the our team. Trading Rafer will never work out for the best. We have the best point guard in the league for the roster we have and that we can afford. We are not the Yankees, and this is not baseball.
'05 -'06 was not only the year we found our point guard, but the same year we brought in two rookies that would get a similar opportunity to succeed due to injuries...
...And the Rockets select Luther Head from Illinois to be the next True-Blooded Rocket.
Submitted by Earnie Banks
Basketbawful: Weed, Plyometric Jumpsoles and Kevin Mchale's post moves.
The polls are in, and here's what we've got. Ron and Rafer dominate the "most minutes" category, while Yao and Tmac could both be looking at some bench time. Luis is somewhere in the middle. The most overwhelming vote was for Shane to play the least. I'm sure I voted like three times for Shane to play the least, but do we really want to kick this dude off the court?
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
This song didn't make me laugh, just cry with pleasure from the crazy defense he plays.
I don't enjoy bragging about my prediction about Dennis Rodman.......okay, alright, maybe I do, but when I posted that, I really felt the need for that kind of player on the court for us. And it looks like Ron Artest is the answer. We need a new nickname for him.
Raise your hand if you're giddy!!
Fortunately, the Rockets have been quietly building a solid bond. That cohesion may have been the main reason for our 22-game winning streak and our 55-win season. If you remember, we only had about four of those core guys through the streak and pulled off the unthinkable - How is this possible?
The answer isn't as easy as just Adelman's system or a soft schedule. Adelman would be the first to tell you the answer is found in what was there BEFORE he got here, with the small exception of Carl Landry (who is just a freak).
This Rockets team is more than our mega-stars and all-stars. We have built strong chemistry over the years with our younger, unproven players. These players will be as vital to our future success as any of our core guys.
Championships are not just the playoffs or your playoff positioning. It is through practice, early season chemistry and withstanding the rigged 82 game season that we will see our championship-caliber team emerge.
In the wake of training camp, I am going to remind Rockets fans who these vital pieces are and why they will be playing important minutes for the Rockets in the 2008/09 season. These players are far from being "question mark players" and have been underrated and over-ridiculed for a long time now. In my Addict opinion, this championship-caliber team began taking shape during the 05-06 season.
Check back this week for the first true-blooded Rocket(TBR) to be profiled on Addicts: Rafer Alston.
Submitted by: Earnie Banks
About two months until the season tips off. When that glorious time comes, we'll be going through game-by-game coverage, rankings, ramblings - very gangsta.
Enjoy the videos and sporadic blurbs. Let's get psyched for '08-'09.
NBAtv Olajuwon On His Title Run
Jason Friedman interviews D.J. Strawberry
I'm not personally too opinionated on the matter, but I know my friend Steve and fellow addict Rob have had this discussion before:
"JCF: Are you a Live or 2K guy for basketball?
DJ: I’m a Live guy, personally.
JCF: Oh no.
DJ: (laughs) I can’t get into the 2K. I don’t know why. Probably just because I grew up with Live. I’ve heard 2K is good, I’ve just never really played it much. Maybe I’ll have to check it out.
JCF: You have to. It’s way more realistic than Live."
Monday, September 1, 2008
top 100 TMAC DUNKS....
I think I only pick videos that make me laugh with the music. So please if your making highlight vids put something that will catch my attention.
Tracy is gonna be so sick this year with ron on the court. It is going to open up his game so much.Quick Question:::: When he had on Vince Carter on the court with him, do you think it opened up the lane for him more? I am trying to find his game highlights from when they played together.
If it DID open up the lane for him more, I am thinking Tracy is going to have 86 dunks this year! That is 43 more than he had last year, and 224 less than "Superwoman" had last year.Dwight Howard is no threat at all for Yao Ming. He lacks "killer instict" says Ewing.
Tracy has had better dunks than Dwight Howards.....throw downs.... I still don't think that was a dunk. He deserved to win, but it wasnt that crazy spectacular flying through the air BS.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Wow, can J. Friedman do all of our official Rockets coverage - simultaneously replacing Clyde and Jim Foley, too?
In the press conference, Artest says he's been working on his off-the-ball, catch-and-shoot game this summer - and he drops the "3rd, maybe 4th option when Scola gets going" line. You know he's been watching Luis tear up the Olympics.
I know some people have seen this video on our site and on some other sites. So you've got to love this little side-reference from the Fried-man.
Fans greeted the star forward with signs, shouts and chants of, “No Layups!” in reference to Artest’s reputation as a one of a kind, in your face defender.------
I can't find the interview they're talking about just yet (found it - but it's in Chinese), but if you're interested in this discussion, you should check out this discussion. (also check this)
Rockets Addicts should love this line from today's True Hoop:
Shane Battier: He demonstrated during Houston's big winning streak that he is the best at stopping elite wing scorers. And he can hit the open shot, all while being a great veteran teammate. (emphasis added)
Monday, August 25, 2008
After watching him abuse Aaron Brooks in their Summer League matchup (video recap), I'm sure there will be plenty of competition at the guard spot once again this training camp.
Artest rally: Link.
"A lot of players, some of my friends, were like 'Houston is a problem, now,' " Artest said. "Like that old saying goes: 'Houston, we have a problem." Now, other teams in the league, they have a problem.
(how much fun must this writer have transposing Artest's words into text)
"Right now, I'm playing with two all stars, two future Hall of Famers in their prime. And I've gotten better. I'm better now than I was five years ago, even than when I got defensive player of the year. Everybody's in their prime. This is my best opportunity to put a ring on my finger and help Houston get another championship."
“Did I get everyone in Houston worried with the limp?” he asked with a smile. “The bone in the foot is fine. I just had some blisters.”
The NBA is a strange, incestuous league, and the tentacles of this thing might very well run deep.
If there was a deal to be done, I would have pulled the trigger. The reason we haven’t done a deal is there was no good deal to be made. If there was a good deal to be made, we would have done it and we would be moving forward right now.
I think that I would be very surprised if anyone called at this point to offer the type of deal I was open to and had been open to doing. I don’t expect that call.
So when people ask me what about the big trade, my response is always the same: What big trade is that?