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."
Saturday, October 25, 2008
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