The Dream Shake - a Houston Rockets blog: July 2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ron Artest - not a dummy

Nothing makes for better locker room chemistry than the new acquisition sucking up to the best player on the team...

"I'm not demanding anything," Artest said. "I will play in Houston [this season] and I will have a great year and they will have the first option to re-sign me. This is a big opportunity because I'm going to be playing with the best center in the game."

Damn right!

Do I sense a big group hug coming? I do!

Dime Magazine Article on Yao

I'm late to posting this, mostly because I've been slacking on my blogger duties, but here is aPlayer To Watch piece on Yao.

Ron Artest - Why this guy?

So let me get this bit of information out there quickly. I'm not an Xs and Os basketball guy, yes, I know them, but in my mind, "plays" in basketball work about 4 times a game, and usually they are just where did the screen get set or who gets the ball on the inbound and then who cuts where. My point is, this is going to be a little more visceral than tactical. Let's start with the basics, who is Ron Artest?

Ron Artest
Born on November 13, 1979 in Queens, New York

Attended La Salle Academy, more known as the school the Archdiocese of New York and Chicago went to than for basketball

He then went on to attend St. Johns where he took the team to the Elite 8, eventually losing to Ohio State in an incredible 77-74 game.

Crazy Pills - Thank you Hardwood Paroxysm
Tru Warier - Apparently his barber can't spell
Ron Ron - My personal favorite

NBA career

Drafted by the Chicago Bulls in the 1999 draft, #15 overall. That draft was one of the better ones in the last 20 years. Though it was almost 10 years ago, it has produced star players of today in Elton Brand, Baron Davis, Richard Hamilton, Shawn Marion, Corey Maggette, and Artest. It also has some other big names in Steve Francis, Lamar Odom, Wally djfdzzzerbiak, Andre Miller, Jason Terry, James Posey and Andrei Kirilenko. Oh, and don't forget that the Spurs picked up Manu Ginobli with the second to last pick that year.

His days with the Bulls first sprouted my love for Ron Artest. He always seemed to be in people's faces and just did everything pretty well. When you can score and pride yourself on your defense, it's almost a lock that I will like you as an NBA player. The Bulls were terrible, but with Elton Brand and Ron Artest I thought they had a shot to really turn the team back around. Sadly, after lucking into Jordan and Pippen, the Bulls personnel moves have left something to be desired. He and his 13 PPG, 4 RPG, 3 APG, 2 SPG and .5 BPG were traded to Indiana along with Brad Miller, Ron Mercer and Kevin Ollie for effectively Jalen Rose and nobodies. That's right, they traded 3 guys still in the league for Jalen Rose.

In Indiana he was now on a team with Jermaine O'Neal, Reggie Miller, and Al Harrington. Enough has been written about the Malice in the Palace, so I'm just going to get my quick two cents in and leave it alone. Throwing a cup of beer at someone means you get punched. That's just the way it is. It also was 90% Ben Wallace's fault, there, I said it. Prior to the "brawl" he was around 17PPG, 5RPG, 3APG, 2+SPG, and .7BPG and was the second best player on the team. It's really a shame that the fight happened, as he was producing some incredible number in the first 7 games that year, 24PPG, 6.5RPG, 2SPG and 1BPG. After the fight it was obvious that something needed to change in Indiana, and though they were expected to contend for the title the year of the fight, they couldn't let the team stand as it was. Well, they couldn't after Artest demanded a trade anyway. Artest was traded to Sacramento for Peja Stojakovic.

Sacramento Kings
When Artest arrived in Sacramento, the team hit the ground running. He was a perfect fit for Rick Adelman's offense and more importantly, his team's previous lack of defense. The Kings were 18-24 when he arrived and finished the season 26-14 to clinch the 8th playoff spot. They played the Spur tough, but ultimately they were too much. The next season Adelman was fired and the Kings went through a tough season. Ron upped his averages across the board, but it wasn't enough, the Kings injuries left them out of firepower. Artest had a good year last year as well, again upping his averages. He has pretty consistently improved ever year he has been in the league, and with each team he's been with, his averages in his last year were better than his averages in his first year with them.

Houston Rockets
On August 14th, we should find out that this trade has gone through, after that, a new chapter in Artest's career will be born.

Why is he a fit?

Okay, tell me that this guy isn't a fit?

Let's pretend for a second that you didn't know about Artest's past. Let's pretend all you were doing is building an NBA team. You have 2 legitimate superstars and 2 good to very good players behind them. Would you want a guy that is 28 and has these numbers?


PPG - 16, 18 over his last 3

RPG - 5.1, 6 over his last 3

STL - 2.1, 2.2 over his last 3

AST - 3.2, 4.2 in his one season with Adelman

BPG - .7

FG% - .425, .431 over the last 3 including .453 from behind the arc last year and .440 the year before that

The answer to the above question is "Of course you would".

What position can he play? Is all of them good enough for you? Okay, so he can't play C, but you can legitimately see him playing every other spot on the court. And save for PG, he has. He is a natural SG/SF with incredible post up skills and strength that allow him to play PF as well. Now, lets go back a while, what were the Rockets biggest needs?

1. A SG/SF that can spell Tmac and provide offense at the SF position. Someone that is versatile enough to come off the bench or start.

2. A top 10-12 PG

3. A backup center to Yao that can learn from him at a young age.

So, if you are scoring at home, Daryl Morey just fixed the Rockets NUMBER ONE PROBLEM! That's right, he fixed the biggest gaping hole we had. And you know what? It also partially fixed number 2, because Rafer's deficiencies are masked greatly with a third scorer. It means he won't have to, nor will he have the chance to try to, take over a game on the offensive end. Morey actually went above and beyond the number one need because he got a guy that can not only spell TMac, he can actually take over Shane's starting spot. Now I think everyone that is reading this knows how much I truly like Shane Battier. He brings everything he has to the game every single time. Unfortunately high potency offense is not something he has.

Where does he play? How does he fit on the court?

So if he can play SG/SF/PF consistently well, what will he play? The beauty of it is, anything Adelman feels in a given night can be the answer. John Hollinger says that the Rockets want to play him at PF, I say that's not going to happen that often. Definetly not often enough to point it out as your biggest scoop. (I really like Hollinger, so no knocks, he had what he had to write). Here's the most logical starting lineup:

PG Rafer


SF Crazy Pills

PF Scola

C The Great Wall

Seriously, who has a better starting 5 than that?

Let's see (And I'm not sure if I'm being a homer or not here):

AR - Advantage Rockets

AO - Advantage Other Team

E - Even

AR+ or AO+ means big advantage

Pacific - Absolute Nos - Warriors, Clippers, Kings

Lakers - PG Farmar (AR), SG Kobe (AO), SF Odom (AR), PF Gasol (AO), C Bynum (AR+)

This may prove to be the closest out there. Rockets have 3 advantage points in my eyes and two for the Lakers. Farmar just isn't that good, but he's young and definitely has potential. Kobe is Kobe, without Artest on the Rockets, I call that big advantage Lakers, but I'm giving TMac the benefit of the doubt here. Artest is better than Odom, plain and simple. As for Gasol, I'm not a huge fan, and his numbers, while better than Scola across the board, weren't that much better once Scola started. Over the last month, Scola was a 14 and 9 guy and Gasol was a 19 and 7 guy. It's a difference to be sure, but certainly not a huge one. And let me remind you that this was Scola's first season in the US. Yao is much better than Bynum pre injury and he's infinitely better post. Overall I'd call the teams pretty even right now, with a slight edge to the Lakers for going to the finals last year and now getting Bynum back. This starting lineup vs the Rockets is a toss-up to me, not clearly better, not clearly worse.

Suns - PG Nash(AO+++), SG Bell(AR+), SF Grant Hill (AR+), PF Stoudemire (AO+), C Shaq (AR+)
On the surface, this looks like it should be closer than I really think it is. Nash is now 34 and due for a back break down, but he's infinitely better than Alston. Bell and the 35 year old Hill aren't even close to Tracy and Artest, they just can't do anything with that. Bell's defensive skills aren't enough to handle both players and one will surely go off on the offensive end. Stoudemire is a big advantage, especially on the offensive end. He's the one place no other team in the league other than Boston can truly counter. Luckily, he goes into offensive and defensive lapses a lot, though I do think this is the year that stops. I still believe the Shaq trade was terrible, he's become a charicature of himself off the court and a shell of his former self on the court. It happens to every great center (except Abdul Jabbar somehow) eventually. At this point in time, hell for the last three years, Yao has been head and shoulders better in every way except offensive fouling and not getting called for it. In the end, the analysis says that the Suns would be competitive with the Rockets, but the Rockets should win any series they are involved with Phoenix in.

Northwest - Absolute Nos - Nuggets, Timberwolves, OKCDurants

Trailblazers - PG Jerryd Bayless (AR), SG Brandon Roy (AR getting slimmer though), SF Outlaw/Webster (AR), PF Aldridge (E to AO, not sure here (Go Horns!)), C Oden (AR+)

Here is a team that I legitametly like. They are extremely young at every postition and have a new PG and a new C on a team that threatened to make the playoffs for 2/3rds of the year. They will go through their growing pains, but I fully expect them to take over for the Nuggets as the last or second to last team in the playoffs this year. Bayless will take some seasoning and Oden is coming off microfracture surgery, but by mid season I think this team will be over .500 and really getting on a decent roll. Overall I won't breakdown each spot, the Rockets are just the better team, but in two years, if they can keep the team together, the Trailblazers and the Hornets (same team issue for them contract wise) will be the best two teams in basketball. This year though, the Rockets have the advantage.

Jazz - PG Williams (AO+), SG Brewer (AR+), SF Kirilenko (AR+), PF Boozer (AO), C Okur (AR+)

I have chronicled many times how much I hate the Jazz. They have beaten the Rockets the last two years in the playoffs, once without Yao, and both without Artest. Mark it down, there is not a chance in the world that this team is better than a healthy Rockets team, none. There is no one that convince me that if Yao had played that the Jazz would have won the series last year, add in Artest and it's over Jazz fans! I'm talking to you MyUtahJazz and SLCDunk! Luckily for you, the Jazz will be a 4th or 5th seed again, so they won't have to face the Rockets.

The East

Absolute Nos -Philly without Iguodala and Miller, Atlanta, Indiana, New Jersey, Chicago, Charlotte, Milwaukee, New York, Miami

Just nos but could be competitive - Orlando, Cleveland, Washington, Toronto, Philly with Miller and Iguodala

Celtics - Yep, they are good, but they are in the East so I'm not sure I care that much.

Pistons - Old, beatdown, not going to do it this year either. They will blow this team up either this year or next

The Rockets own division - The Southwest Absolute No - Grizzlies

Spurs - PG Parker (AO), SG Ginobli (AR because Ginobli really comes off the bench), SF Bowen (AR+), PF Duncan (AO+), C Oberto (AR+)

This is a tough one to break down, as I truly believe the Spurs may be close to done. Not getting Corey Magette may have made them finally too old. They have two clear advantages at PG and at PF, but Duncan is not who he used to be. He can still turn it on, but much like McGrady can dissapear at times. No one notices it, because Duncan gets props even when playing poorly. Ginobli isn't better than Tracy, but the advantage is not huge in the Rockets favor, but it is an advantage nonetheless. Bowen isn't better than Artest by a long shot, he's not even better than Battier. Oberto is not in Yao's league. Overall, the power has swung away from the Spurs in the Southwest, the Rockets and Hornets both will be better this season. They've had a great run, and could just be one medium trade from being back in it, but for now, they are a solid 3, mabye 4 in the Southwest.

Mavericks - PG Kidd (AO), SG Terry (AR+), SF Howard (E), PF Nowitzki (AO+), C Dampier (AR+++++++++)

After trading Devin Harris, this starting 5 got old in a hurry. Kidd is on his last leg, though his last leg is better than a lot of players' first leg. Terry just doesn't have what he used to, and coming off the bench again may be what is best for him. Howard is very good, he's basically Artest's offensive game without all of his defense. I called it even, but the more I think about it, the more that's probably an advantage for the Rockets. Obviously Dirktastic is a great player he's a standout in this lineup versus the Rockets, and I think he'll have another strong year. Dampier sucks, he's not the best and in the West you could make a case for him being in the bottom 5 starting centers. Yao is kind of good on the other hand. They have another year to gel with Kidd, but I can't see them rising above the number 3 spot in the Southwest. The Rockets and Hornets have clearly better teams right now.

Hornets - PG Paul (AO+++), SG Peterson (AR++) SF Stojakovic (AR), PF West (AO), C Chandler (AR)

That brings me to my pick to make the finals last year, and the team I think stands in the way of the Rockets to make it there more than any other. Paul is the best PG in the league. I honestly think he's the best since Nash, and before Nash since Magic. I think he's better than Nash now, and will be much better when it is all said and done. Rafer can talk shit, but he can't back it up in this matchup. Peterson is a semi-weak link for them, and at a postion they can't afford to have a weak link. Stojakovic is going to get abused if they play him against Tracy or against Ron Ron. Artest can also completely shut him down on defense and let Tracy get the points in this matchup. West is clearly better than Scola, and that's no knock on Luis. West was arguably the best true PF in the West last year. Chandler is good, but he won't be alley-ooping nearly as much when Yao plays under the basket against him. This lineup vs the Rockets is a toss-up to me, not clearly better, not clearly worse.

Okay, I'm done, that took me forever to type. On to a few links:

Sacbee - Kings Blog

This blog gave us soundbites from Artest before Yao spoke and after. Either way, he's happy to come to the Rockets as long as he is wanted. Ron Ron, you are wanted man.

Right after the trade

Q&A with Artest after Yao Spoke

After Artest talked on the phone to Yao -In other words, no big deal. He wants to be a Rocket and knows whos team this is.

Houston Chronicle

Yao right after the trade - My take on this is that Yao is a million miles away and was just wondering outloud about chemistry. He didn't say he didn't like Artest or that he didn't want him. Yao is a smart man, he just wants to make sure the team will work. I believe he thinks chemistry with anyone is possible, just wants it to be known that it is needed here. After reading it all a second time, Yao actually seems to be excited. Let's not forget that English is his second langauge.

And for the final piece of why Artest; From Yao:

“For some reason, I like (Artest),” Yao said. “Because in the games we play
against him, I hate him.

Liking a player because you hate them on the court is a supreme compliment

Richard Justice, man, I want to like you, you're a Horn afterall, but come on, don't make a big bullshit statement saying you hate the trade and then the next day say it makes complete sense. Seriously, where is your credibility? If you are going to do that, at least say you thought about it and were wrong. It's okay to be wrong occasionally if you are willing to admit it.

Sactown Royalty - Just check out the whole place, Ziller and his group are the class of bloggers

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The tribunal of the badasses

So apparently Yao and Luis Scola are text messaging buddies. Which has to be interesting considering that neither of their native languages is English. Then again, both men are complete and total badasses... so it would only seem natural that they would seek each other's counsel and opinion following monumental moments like the Artest trade.

Yao: "For some reason, I like (Artest) ... Because in the games we play against him, I hate him."

"When I text messaged with Luis, we talked about team chemistry. That's only what worries us."

"We worry about the new attitude to the team. We are adding talent to the team and we need that, but building team chemistry is important. This is not bad. I don't mean he is not welcome to Houston. But a new player always needs some time."

"Also, he was the biggest part of a team in Sacramento. He was a star player. We need more chemistry and more communication."


Translation? Hey, Crazy Pills, you're cool... but you better help us win and not f--k up a good thing we have here. And you better pass me the freakin' ball when I am open.

Also interesting to note -- I guess T-Mac isn't worthy of being involved in the Yao/Scola conversation. He's still a "star" player of sorts, but apparently he lacks the requisite badass characteristic to be part of this particular tribunal.

Things that make me like the Artest trade *more*

I wake up this morning... only to be re-affirmed in my belief that the Artest to the Rockets trade is nothing short of brilliant, and likely to work out quite well.

How is that you ask? Simple.

A certain no-talent-ass-clown does NOT like the trade.

Which almost guarantees that the trade will turn out great for us!

A short recap... the person in question liked the following recent Houston-based team trades/acquisitions:

a. Ed Wade
b. Miguel Tejada
c. Jason Jennings
d. Ahman Green
e. and he probably liked the Philip Buchanon trade, too

and let us also not forget that Mr. Justice still laments the Mario Williams draft pick. His heart is not complete without a little VY in his life...

Apparently the Rockets aren't allowed to draft anyone but nice guys. Someone failed to tell Justice that very, very, very few "winning" teams in the NBA, MLB or NFL comprise a majority of "nice guys".

Michael Jordan - not a nice guy. Not at all.
Muhammad Ali - awesome dude. Just not very nice all the time.
most any HOF-caliber football player - not nice. Not at all.
(This is why David Carr sucks - he's too nice)

Is Ron Artest a "nice guy"? Hell no. I think even he'd admit that himself.
But... Tracy McGrady *is* kind of a nice guy.
And he's 0-7 in the first round of the playoffs.
Yao is a nice guy, too... and that's been the criticism of him for years.

Soooooo... which is it?

I like having likeable dudes on my favorite teams.

... but I like winning more.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Welcome, Crazy Pills!

Ron Artest... a Houston Rocket?

If the rumors are correct, that means we get a 20+ ppg player who is also a former DPOY to match up with Yao, Shane, Scola and Battier. All this because we sneakily drafted/acquired a rookie who put up 40 in a summer league game. I don't think one single meaningless game has ever had such a profound potential impact on the future of our franchise.

This. Is. Awesome.

The only problem is that Ron and Shane basically play the same position. And that position is not point guard. Which means we still have guys named "Rafer" and "Luther Head" on our roster. And not Bobby Jackson. Which means we don't have a point guard. Hmmmmm... awww, the hell with it. Daryl Morey once again showed tonight why he's a genius!! He'll figure something out.

Damn, I am for the first time this offseason really (really) excited for basketball season again! I can't wait to face Utah again now. Just try those bully tactics with Crazy Pills to deal with. It won't work like it did against Tracy. The other added bonus is when T-Mac starts to whine and moan, we are going to have a locker room enforcer to tell him to man up and quit being an Initech employee.

Again - This. Is. Awesome.

We now welcome to the family a Tru Warier.

More to Come but: It looks like Artest to the Rockets

I have to say, if this is true, and if Morey gets Artest for Bobby Jackson, a first round pick (which could be in the last 4 now) and Donte Greene, then he is a golden god.

I'll write more tomorrow, including why Artest is the perfect fit for this team.

50% of Yao ... still better than everyone else

I have returned!

The Great Wall has returned, too. Sort of.

Yao Ming scored 21 points in a warm-up game yesterday. And he did it in only 28 minutes. And he also did it on only 10 shots (are you taking notes, Mr. Donte Greene? You don't have to take 30 shots to get 20 points!!). And he made his free throws (are you taking notes, Mr. Joey Dorsey? No? Well, at least get the stripper to take notes *for you*!).

It's good to have the big fella back. Yes, from everything I have read, he looked rusty and slow and not anywhere near good game shape. And the game was against Angola, who once again did not bring spears with them. Yeah, yeah, that was a terrible joke - and only Charles Barkley can get away with it. I still thought it was funny. Even 12 years later.

Anyway, within that first link, you'll also see that the other resident Rocket badass, Luis Scola, had 23 points to lead Argentina past Iran.

Wait, what? Iran has a basketball team?? Uhhh, okay.

Back to the point though...

Yao is back. And somewhat healthy. At least healthy enough to walk around and make 80% of his shots. I'll take that.

Meanwhile, T-Mac is moping around town talking about "winning" to Stephen A. Smith. Why would you direct complaints to SAS? All he's going to do is twist your words around and yell about it on ESPN or whatever journalistic medium was most recently dumb enough to give him a forum. Furthermore, if you want to win so bad - why would you be so eager to get traded to the freakin' Detroit Pistons? 2004 was a long time ago, dude. That team is old and slow now. And they just signed 2001 Draft Bust Kwame Brown (that's his full name now, by the way). Not to mention they have a rookie coach trying to keep Rasheed in check. Good luck with that.

Teams that are not winning next year include Detroit... apologies to my Pistons fan friends. But not too much of an apology - you guys did distract Shaq enough to win four years ago.

I do think it's funny to see that things have not changed much in the last year. To recap:

1. Yao Ming is a badass.
2. Luis Scola is a badass, too.
3. Tracy McGrady remains the Cowardly Lion.

Oh, and Stephen A. Smith?? FOAD.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Yao and LinkedIn

I'm a day late on this, but here is some information I got from LinkedIn:

Link to Yao's Question
Yao's LinkedIn Profile

On Thursday morning, July 17th, Houston Rockets' player Yao Ming will post a question on LinkedIn, an online professional networking site with more than
24 million members. This is the first featured question that an athlete has ever posed on LinkedIn.
Unlike some celebrities and athletes that use flashy profile pages on other sites as a way to publicize their glamorous lifestyles or latest sneaker designs, Yao decided to create a profile on LinkedIn to help others (by drawing attention to his foundation) and to reach LinkedIn's professional audience.
Here's the question that Yao will be asking LinkedIn users on Thursday:

Playing basketball has allowed me to realize my dream of playing in the Olympics. It has also given me the ability to establish a foundation that can help people in need. Has participating in sports made an important difference in your professional life?

Five people who answer Yao's question on LinkedIn will be selected to win 20 raffle tickets each from The Yao Ming Foundation. The winner of the overall raffle and his/her guest get an all-expenses paid trip to the Beijing Olympics to see Team China play Team U.S.A.. They will also get to see a Houston Rockets game and meet Yao afterwards.

Yao is asking LinkedIn members the question in an effort to promote The Yao Ming Foundation ( The foundation was created by Yao to support the rebuilding effort in China (after the deadly earthquake that hit the Sichaun province in May) and to create youth programs in both China and the United States. Yao's presence on LinkedIn will also help him draw attention to a raffle that he is running to help benefit the foundation.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Yao Back, Summer League and Other Notes

Yao Ming, Yao Ming, Yao Ming Yao Ming
Yesterday Yao Ming took part in a warm up game for the Olympics with his native Chinese National Team. He put up 11 points in 12 minutes and looked rusty by all accounts that aren't full of crap. AP on ESPN article here I have no idea if Yao is rushing back at all, but it seems to fall in line with what most thought, he'd be out until July or August, and here we are right in the middle. My hope is that he doesn't play any more in the warm ups, but I highly doubt I get my wish. And since that is the case, I'll just amend it to say that I hope he plays less than 15 minutes in any non-Olympic game before the NBA season starts. Yao and Lebron also have a pretty cool new Coke commerical out (h/t on the video to Clutchfans)

Summer League Game 2 Action
Unfortunately I did not get to see last nights game, because, well... as much as I love the Rockets, I can only watch so many Summer League games. They are BRUTAL in a lot of ways to watch. I can read a box score though.

1. Greene Machine
Donte Greene had his inevitable fall back to earth. He shot 4-17 (3-8 from behind the arc, so 1-9 inside it) and scored 17 points. I know we've been watching Tracy McGrady for a long time, so we all know that this was not a good 17 points. Greene also went from 0 turnovers in game one to 4 in game two. He did go 6-6 from the line though, so that is nice.

2. The Midget
Great to have a better game from Aaron Brooks. He shot way too many times and not so well at that, but he had 7 assists and only 2 turnovers. MUCH better than Monday's debacle of a game for him. Brooks even cut down on on his fouls from 9 all the way down to 3!

3. The Guy I'm in No Way Thrilled with
Joey Dorsey made his debut last night. I have no idea why I didn't realize the issue on Monday is that he didn't have a contract. Dorsey is still without one, but the Rockets have insurance in place in case he gets hurt so he will play the rest of the Summer League. He went 4-4 from the field, but paired that with a cute 0-6 from the line. He had 14 rebounds, but they were almost all nullified by his 6 fouls and 6 turnovers. I want to like this guy, but he was a lazy bastard in college, played for a coach I think is sleazy and I just genuinely didn't like him before he was a Rocket. But Joey, I tell you what, I'm going to put all your stripper loving, lazy stuff behind us. From now until you screw up, and hopefully you never do, I'm going to try and like you.

4. My parents loved the letter A Leunen
Like I said, I didn't get to watch the game, but it sure seems like Maaaaarty is better than I was hoping for. 17 points on 5-9 shooting (3-5 3s and 4-5 FT) and 5 rebounds for him. I don't think there is any room on the roster for him, but maybe later in the season, or even next season we'll see how he make the NBA transition

Stephen A Smith
F you. Actually, F you and anyone that employs your pathetic excuse for an NBA reporter existence. First of all, screaming something louder makes it seem more wrong, not all of the sudden un-idiotic. Second, Tracy telling you he just wants to win does NOT mean "I want to be traded". It means, I want to win. You cannot extrapolate out that now he'd "Welcome a trade to Detroit". All you can take out of that is that he wants to win, period. And guess what fuckstick, he IS winning in Houston. 55 times just last year alone, even 22 in a row. Yes, they lost in the first round, but no Yao had at least a little effect on that, don't you think? In short, you are the worst NBA reporter with any sort of exposure that I've ever seen, please stop talking completely. Actually, stop talking, writing, typing or even using sign language.

Luther Head
Yes, I saw that Head was selected to the USA Select Team, no I do not think he deserved it. Here is my hope: Luther plays phenomenally, moves without the ball and shoots lights out. This in turn ups his value to a stupid GM, somewhere that has a low 2nd round pick up for grabs and the rights to someone they can't sign even. Then we trade him and get him off of the Rockets. Personally like him as just a guy, but not as a basketball player on my team. It's all business

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rockets vs Cleveland in Summer League Action

Catch it online at at 9:30PM CST

The Cavaliers roster looks terrible, so I'm thinking the Rockets win by 10+

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Greene drops 40 in Summer League Action

One day after agreeing to his slotted contract offer, Donte Greene showed his range last night shooting 5-10 from behind the arc, and 7-10 inside it. Put that with 11-12 free throw shooting and it adds for 40 points. He also had 3 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals and 0 turnovers. That's right, the guy shot 20 times and didn't commit a single turnover. Now, I know what you're thinking, "It's the Summer League, no one plays defense", and partially you are correct. The problem with that assertion is that in the Summer League, these guys aren't exactly polished yet, so turnovers are inevitable, even if it's one bad pass, or a good pass where the other guy didn't make his spot in time. The rest of the team shot 47 times and turned it over 13 times, Greene went 20 and 0. His 3rd assist of the night to Leunen put the Rockets on top for the first time all night, 98-97 and Houston went on to win 100-97.

(h/t to Clutchfans for the video)

Other notables from the night:
Maaaaaaarty Leunen had 16 points and EIGHT fouls
Mike Harris was a beast scoring 21 and boarding 13, to go with his 6 fouls. I thought there was no way he'd be making the team this year when he came on a the end of last year. Now I'm not so sure about that.
Joey Dorsey was a DNP last night

Little known fact: (h/t Clutchfans)
Since 2004 the Rockets are now 20-1 in Summer League play

My shout out to our Aggie readers:
Your boy Joe Jones was the antithesis of good last night. He shot 0 times and rebounded the ball once. He did somehow manage 5 fouls in his 11:44 on the court. Or for the mathematically challenged 1 every 2.34 minutes or so. I still think he has potential in the NBA though, everyone has a tough night.

The worst stat of the night:
Aaron Brooks posted 9, that's right 9, fouls. I'm guessing he's in a cold bath still after the beating he delivered and I'm sure he received. Brooks did not have a good game, shooting 4-14 and had a 4-6 Assist to TO ratio.

One Released, One Signed on, Minor Trade coming?
Loren Woods was released from his contract after requesting to be yesterday. Morey said that he appeared to have a big deal to play overseas and he didn't want to hold him back. They quickly signed Chris Daniels out of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. He was the Southland player of the year and went undrafted. Morey also stated that a minor trade would happen within the month. I think he's getting rid of Novak, Head or Hayes, maybe more than one of them.

My personal pet peeve of the Summer League: Get these guys some jerseys that are better than the local YMCA kids league. If you are on the Rockets Summer League team, you deserve a Rockets jersey.

Another reason I love the NBA:
Slotted cost for a first round pick. This rules on every level. No hassles, no ridiculous singing bonuses, and a guarantee that you get a guy for 3 years.

Ron Artest:
Yes please! If you don't like Artest as a player, then you know less than you think about basketball.

Clutch written recap at Clutchfans writeup
Box score
Rockets Summer League page at

I guess I missed this(Nike - Hyperdunkrecoverycenter), but isn't this a little cold after the McGrady dunking over James Felton article recently?
And if you haven't seen the article, it is a must read.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Make plans for the parade! Brent Barry a Rocket!

Just like his dad and his brother........
Brent Barry could not resist playing for the Houston Rockets.

Allow us to be the first to welcome the missing link...

the important "3rd scorer" we've been talking about since May...

the player who can create off the dribble and pressure the defense...!!!


Oh. Wait a second...
[checking biography for Barry, Brent]

Hmmm, the Rockets signed a 36 year old white dude to a 2-year contract.
A dude who plays no real defense.
A dude who is going to profit from ONE good game in the playoffs....

yeah, maybe we should all take a moment.



Calm the #(@*& down.

Let's realize that while Brent Barry is going to be a nice addition to the rotation, he's NOT the missing link or the final piece to the championship puzzle. Yes, he can shoot threes (but so can Novak!). Yes, he's very good shooting free throws (but so can Yao! Though I do like this part of Barry's game, too.) Yes, he's got a championship pedigree (but so does Robert Horry... who just happens to also be a free agent!)

Yeah, maybe it's just me but I don't get the fascination the Rockets have with Brent Barry. He is no longer the dunk champion guy he was a decade ago. He's a nice role player - and role players are important to championship teams, but if he was that important, don't you think San Antonio would have made more of a push to keep him?

So, uh, yeah, in conclusion - I sorta like this signing by the Rockets. I don't completely understand it, but it's not going to backfire on us the same way the Corey Maggette signing is going to backfire on the Golden State Warriors. It's a safe play by Mr. Morey.

But we're still going to need that 3rd scorer...
no rush on that.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Yao Ming is quite the multi-tasker (raffle info)

I just received this from a rep of Yao Ming.
(The hidden good news is that Yao must be healthy enough to play some basketball already and we'll get to see him face off against the United States in just a few weeks!)

... enough stalling, here's the info:


Yao is going to be having a raffle to help provide relief for the earthquake victims in China. The grand prize is for the winner and a guest to be Yao ’s special guest at the 2008 Olympic Games and get VIP treatment. In total, the winner will receive:

Winner and Guest will receive 6 nights 7 day hotel accommodations in Beijing China (Single Room, Double Occupancy, From August 7, 2008 to August 13, 2008)
Winner and Guest will receive roundtrip airfare from any international airport worldwide to Beijing
Winner will receive a $1,500 cash stipend for meals and expenses
Winner and Guest will enjoy a Team China vs. Team USA Olympic Basketball Game
Winner and Guest will each receive an autographed Official Yao Ming NBA Jersey
Winner and Guest will enjoy a meet and greet with Yao Ming in the United States after attending a Houston Rockets NBA game (at a mutually agreed upon time)
Winner and Guest will enjoy a Guided Tour of the Great Wall of China

*** Winner will also receive a cash prize in the amount of $3,995.00 to mitigate the Winner's tax liability that results from winning the raffle. This prize is withheld and paid, on behalf of the Winner, directly to the IRS ($3,300.00) and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts ($695.00)

The auction ends July 21st.

The Website is: https://www.celebritiesfor _yao.cfm

There are people who doubt Daryl Morey?

/beginning rant... NOW.

The NBA draft came and went a couple weeks ago... with the Rockets picking up a couple of players likely to contribute in the near future... and a third player who we'll all forget about this time next season. Today marks the true beginning of the Free Agency period. Or at least the "official" beginning to Free Agency.

The Rockets, not surprisingly, have been minor players in this market.
Very, very minor.

So, stumbling around the Chronicle this morning, I saw this interesting little post. Apparently, some people don't trust Daryl Morey to get the Rockets moving in the right direction. More specifically, I saw this quote in Mr. Campbell's column:

"a lot of fans are skeptical or downright pessimistic Morey will deliver. Is that indicative of the sentiment of thinking Rockets fans, or are you willing to wait and see?"

Really? There are legitimate, intelligent Rockets fans who think Morey is not capable of delivering?? Who are these people so I can interview them and expose them as frauds?!? We're talking about Daryl Morey... the man who brought us Aaron Brooks and traded up to get Carl Landry in last year's draft. The GM who shortly after the draft brought us this wonderful image:

Yeah, Luis Scola is a badass. And he was acquired by a badass GM... and Morey did all this in his FIRST season as GM. In a city where we've had to watch Tim Purpura and Ed Wade destroy the talent level on the Astros, I can't believe there are people out there who question and doubt Morey.

Sure, the T-Mac/Yao combination has yet to produce a playoff series victory. That's more of an unfortunate bit of timing and scheduling than a lack of talent. Does anyone doubt the Rockets would have won at least a couple playoff series if they were shifted over to the Eastern Conference?

Along those lines, what is it that we can reasonably expect Morey to do? The Rockets had the 25th pick this year -- they were actually willing to trade *up* to acquire Donte Greene (according to all reports). Instead, Morey did his homework... traded *down* in the draft... still acquired the player he was targetting AND got more players/picks in the process. That's genius-quality stuff there. I just wish more people noticed and appreciated it!

And yet...

"How much do you trust the GM who got Landry as a second-round steal — and whiffed on his acquisitions of Steve Francis and Mike James?"

Let's break this down. Francis and James were acquired for next to nothing. We dumped Juwon Howard to get James. And we gave Francis as close to the minimum contract as possible without insulting the guy. They were calculated risks... which didn't pay off exactly. Though we did turn James into BobbyJ, and when Francis was healthy last year he had some very good moments in the 4th Q. One game against the Knicks he practically willed us to victory. And Francis is still on the roster... we have nothing to lose there. It's a complete freeroll.

But I guess the simple-minded fan is just sick of seeing this:

sure, yeah, from a macroscopic viewpoint, it sucks that the Rockets haven't delivered in the playoffs. It sucks that Morey isn't exactly the Wizard of Oz who can deliver T-Mac a heart. Or courage. And it sucks that Morey isn't a doctor who can magically heal Yao's freak injuries.

To that I say: be patient. Dynasties are not built overnight. The best transactions are the trades that don't make big headlines. And sometimes the smartest thing to do is to not make rash decisions that decimate the quality and character of a team and have decades-long impacts (see, e.g., Thomas, Isiah - New York Knicks 2003-2008). Our boy wonder GM is like a genius or something. He has given us every reason to believe he is trustworthy. The Rockets are going to make the playoffs barring another unexpected fluke series of injuries. And any "moves" to be done might better be completed in February than in July.

training camp starts in a few months... and I'm certain we will like what we see come November.

/end rant.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Summer League Team Announced and Carl Landry Notes

Yesterday the Rockets set the roster for their summer league team:

Aaron Brooks - PG
Donte’ Greene - SG/SF
Joey Dorsey - C
Maarty Leunen - SF/PF
Mike Harris - SF/PF
Loren Woods - C
Lanny Smith from UofH - PG
Joseph Jones from A&M - PF
Russell Robinson from Kansas - G
Dijon Thompson out of UCLA- SG/SF
Mark Tyndale out of Temple - SF
Gustavo Barrera out of Uruguay.

I had not seen the Joseph Jones or Lanny Smith pickups before that. While I'm a professed Longhorn grad and fan, I really like Jones and hope he can do something in the NBA. He'll be a good backup 4 for someone down the road I believe.

I am wondering if Landry will join this team if he signs in the next few weeks. That would make a lot of sense for his seasoning, but given all the forwards on the team, as it already stands, it might not. The Rockets may want to see what the other guys can do. I've been hearing rumors that Landry is working on his outside shot, and if so, that he could potentially move to SF. That would be a move that would help the Rockets if he can seriously improve his shooting and somewhat improve his handles. I don't see it actually happening, but hell, it's the off-season, a guy can dream, right?

I'd also like to say this to Mr. Landry's agent, STFU. That's right, STFU. Stop spouting off that Carl Landry is getting all kinds of offers, it's not true and it will eventually hurt your client. As a guy with only one client you are not allowed to even attempt to bully a team. All that will get you is fired by your one client. Don't be stupid, negotiate with the team that can give you the most money and that fits your client's game very well. Figure out what similar players have asked for, then ask for that plus 5%, don't go asking for that times 3 which is effectively what $8MM a season is. Your client has proven that he can play well when given minutes, he's also proven that his knee is a hazard to an NBA club's payroll.

NBA Draft - buyer's remorse?

I've now had almost a week to process all the manic activity that was the 2008 NBA Draft.

I'm relieved I do not have to cheer for Pip.
Very much so.

I'm quite stunned that the Rockets got Donte Greene.
Very happy about this.

Greene looks to be a keeper. The dude appears to have been a fan of the Rockets before we drafted him and was utterly disappointed when the 25th pick came and went and two french dudes were drafted before him. For a time, I shared in his disappointment. But, as we've been saying for months now, our boy Mr. Morey is like a genius or something - managed to turn the 25th pick into Greene AND Dorsey AND another pick in '09...

even though the Rockets were more than willing to trade up in the draft to acquire the rights to Mr. Greene. Who legitimately has NBA skills and has been compared to all sorts of different players ranging from Tracy McGrady to Rashard Lewis to Kevin Durant. Yes, we all know he's a "project" player, but what else did we expect from the 25th pick in a draft completely lacking in sure-fire no-doubt can't-miss prospects?

That said - this entry is not about Mr. Greene...

I'm worried about Joey Dorsey.

The news is only getting worse about the Rockets' chances to re-sign Carl Landry. Certainly, drafting Joey Dorsey was intended to give the Rockets options if Landry decides to get too cute in his contract negotiations. (And, yes, I *definitely* want Carl Landry to come back -- if only for us to be able to use "Luis Landry" tags in the future. Though I do *not* want the Rockets to commit $8M+ per season for his services. That's just bad business.)

If another team takes some crazy pills and does offer Landry $8M or more per season... the Rockets would be looking at a PF rotation of Scola (who is a badass), Chuck Hayes (who I like, but I like winning more) and... Mr. Dorsey. Uhhhh, yikes.

Why am I worried? Well....... I don't really have any inside sources in the NBA. But I do have some people I know who knew Dorsey quite well during his stay in college. The moment we acquired him, I got messages ranging from:

1. He is a pretty big baby and doesn't put in the necessary work;
2. He has/had a stripper girlfriend but wasn't exactly faithful;
3. He likes to "make it rain" all over town.

Did we just draft a 6'7" 265 lb. NBA version of "Pac-Man"??? Uh, oh.

On the flip side....... it turns out that Dorsey already knows Tracy McGrady and they've been friends for a while. I have no idea if this is a good or bad thing -- but it is worth noting. I've just never considered T-Mac to be the mentoring type. Besides, Dorsey's rep has always been that when he plays he is good -- but that it's hard to get him truly motivated to play. With the NBA full of distractions (read: groupies and parties), can we really rely on Dorsey to get his act together and give us what Carl Landry gave us in '07/'08?

I'm not sure... I'm just sayin' I'm concerned.