A look at the passing of Big Papa

I just realized after typing the above title that it read as if previewing an examination into the death of mid 90′s rap icon Christopher Wallace.  Rather, my topic of choice is the distributing abilities of Houston Rockets rookie guard/forward Kostas Papanikolaou.  Through two games, Papa has dazzled, most recently fueling the team with four 3′s in the first half at Utah.  But what has stood out to me most, thus far, is the passing ability.  While they haven’t always led to baskets, Papanikolau just seems to have an innate feel and understanding of the game.

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Here, he gets a step on his man, gets into the paint, sucks in the help, and feeds Tarik Black for the slam.  That type of awareness from a rookie playing in just his second game is a very rare thing.

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in musings
  • Trevor Ariza followed up his stellar debut in Tuesday night’s opener with yet another strong showing last night, scoring 20 points and going 4-7 from downtown.  While we’re just two games in, it’s easy to see why so many (including myself) felt Ariza at $7million was a far better value than Parsons at his current pricetag.  He’s defending and spacing the floor at the other end, and upon immediate reflection, appears to be the dream fit at small forward next to James Harden.  It’s really hard to believe that this is the same guy who manned the ’3′ for this team just a few years ago, because he’s done a complete and total transformation as a player.  Over the years, Ariza has seemed to gain self awareness of limitations and he’s learned to play within his strengths and within the team’s system.  Next to Harden and Howard, he’s getting more daylight than he ever knew was even possible, and he’s knocking them down with confidence.  Ariza still travels every time he puts the ball on the floor off the pump fake/triple threat, but he’s been needing to do that less.  What he’s eliminated completely, thank god, are the plays where he attempts to take his man one on one off the dribble, without any sort of help.  Related: the Rockets did not employ two superstar players during Ariza’s first stint.

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in game coverage

The Red94 Podcast: Episode 60

Download this episode (right click and save)

In today’s episode, we recap the Rockets’ season opening win over the Lakers, and also check in on old friends Chandler Parsons and Omer Asik.

in multimedia

And away we go…


I really can’t wait to see Kobe, actually.  He’s become the NBA’s greatest subplot, somehow by his own doing, a curmudgeonly All-time great on his last leg(s), stuck on a horrible team with no hopes of doing anything of relevance.  Always a great interview, there will be no filter this season, and it will be spectacular.  I actually kind of hope to see him average 30 a game on 35 shots because….Kobe.  But we and the league will get our first look tonight on national television as the hometown heroes in red travel up to the Staples Center to face L.A.’s other team.  Our old friend Jeremy Lin will also be in tow, with something to prove after being billed a colossal failure during his stint in Houston.  Lin, now, is playing for his next contract, with Linsanity now having been long forgotten as a distant memory, at least in the eyes of NBA general managers, and with the bulk of his $25million paycheck already having been squared away safely in long-term securities.  What happens next is anyone’s guess, but as sort-of-an-Asian myself (I’m South Asian), I hope he succeeds because it would really suck if our defining moment in American sports was deemed a complete fluke.  The reader may note that I am not exactly holding my breath on Sim Bhullar panning out.

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in uncategorized

It’s now 5:45 AM at the time of writing.  I went to bed at 1:18 AM.  Soooo, you do the math – I’m not exactly awake right now.  But this cup of coffee on my desk will give me a good hour and this preview isn’t going to write itself.  So away we go.  This piece won’t be styled formalistically in the manner of years past because I could literally fall asleep here at any moment, so we’ll do a stream of consciousness of my current thoughts.  Starting with Chris Bosh because I’m still depressed.  Do you guys realize that were it not for eleventh hour panic offer from the Miami Heat, this preview would be titled something like “Why the Houston Rockets are the favorite to win the NBA Championship”?  That really hurts.  I’m still excited about the season because, it’s basketball, and I run a basketball blog, but the pain from that turn of events still lingers…not just because Terrence Jones seems to have somehow regressed from last season.

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in essays