Morning thoughts for 11/26

  • I couldn’t think of a better title so I’m just rolling with the date. I actually am not even sure what I’m about to write about.
  • A two day break in the schedule feels odd. It’s felt like there has been at least a game every other night during the week all year. I could be imagining this.
  • The season is too long. I’m excited about watching the games again but this is because I own a Rockets blog which I have been writing for over ten years. I am very much the atypical person. No normal person around me seems to care about basketball.
  • I think the season should be like 30 games. With a single elimination postseason. Oh my God. Can you imagine the madness? 30 games with one game per week over the course of eight months. Tell me you would not be glued to your television set for every one of those and in anticipation all week.
  • This is a point I go back to a lot in regards to football being the most popular sport in America: it’s not that football is inherently more entertaining, as some have argued and/or falsely assumed. The cause of the disparity is the constructed scarcity. In essence, the NFL withholds output (ie: the number of games) and the effect is an increase in consumer demand/interest. Now, of course, the NFL has a perfectly rational justification for this which the NBA has not had: the physical and violent nature of the sport requires that players take a week off between games to heal their bodies. But I wonder if the NBA schedule was first conceived in 2019, with all of the science we now have on rest and soft-tissue injuries etc., if the argument could apply that either a) an 82 game compacted schedule is too demanding on the human body and/or b) an 82 game schedule is not conducive to optimal performance.
  • What people fail to grasp is that we’re living in a different economic era where consumers have an unthinkable abundance of choice not only in how they spend their money but how they use their time. Social media was not ubiquitous as recently as even ten years ago. When was the last time you saw a 20-something-year-old in a casual setting where his/her phone was not literally in/his her hand the entire time? In that environment, who is going to carve out a two hour block in the middle of their evening to sit on the couch through a November matchup between their home team and the Sacramento Kings?
  • None of this could ever happen because the loss in gate receipts. Every one of those 30 owners has an expectation of selling tickets to 41 home games.
  • I didn’t plan on this entire post to be about the schedule.

Upcoming guarantee dates for Rockets

I think Gary Clark is about as good as gone. I’d be floored if he survived at this point which is disappointing given the Rockets’ depth and injury issues, particularly at power forward behind P.J. Tucker. I had hoped that Mike D’Antoni would give Clark a shot this year after the defensive promise he showed last season but that has not come. Clark has appeared in just four games this season and played a total of ten minutes. He has taken four three-pointers during that time, connecting on two.

McLemore is the interesting one. Had you asked me this time last week, I’d tell you that not only was he a lock to survive past December 1 but that he would be a mainstay in Houston’s rotation through the end of the year. But he had a rough week, looking completely flummoxed against Denver and then going 0-6 from ‘3’ against the Mavs. On the year, Ben is shooting .296% on 3’s – right now, he just isn’t good enough of a shooter to fill a role where shooting is the primary requirement.

But Houston has no other choices following the injury to Gerald Green. I think the Rockets will pick up the option on the guaranteed money to keep Ben past December 1. My prediction is that he’s packaged near the deadline, along with Nene and the team’s first round draft pick, to lower total team salary.

Rockets 119, Clippers 122: A battle of wills

After a close game, it can be hard to know who or what is to blame for a loss. Was it the missed last second shot or the missed free throws from the first quarter that deserves the slander? Is it turnovers, or not boxing out, or a missed assignment for the last guy in the rotation?

Russell Westbrook will likely have a few fingers pointed his way for an errant three point attempt in the final minute, but without his strong performance on both sides of the ball, it’s unlikely the Rockets would have been in position to steal this one. He finished with 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists. His 9 for 22 shooting leaves something to be desired, as does his 1 for 7 performance from three. But the eye test really told a different story. He closed out on shooters, pushed the pace relentlessly, and was easily as active as his nemesis, Patrick Beverly. By the way, if we’re looking for shots we wish Russell could take back, I would opt for the two transition layups that he whiffed.

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