I can’t think of anything to write about right now and I have a pocket of time before dinner, so this will be a post about the darkest era in the lifetime of my Rockets fandom. Someone told me Cuttino Mobley, who was at the game the other night, said he and Steve Francis would have each averaged 30 points in this year’s Rockets offense. Mobley would have fared well for sure – he was a good spot-up shooter and cleaned out a lot of the nonsense from his game upon the hiring of Jeff Van Gundy. I’m not sure about Francis. He could only shoot 3’s off of his own dribble. You could see him in a Lou Williams role off the bench, perhaps, but definitely not in the starting lineup with Harden. Actually yeah, I think he’d do well leading the second unit with Williams.
Reminiscing upon the Francis era beckons even greater appreciation for James Harden just because of how completely different the two players were despite their aesthetic similarities. I can guarantee you Mobley made his comments not grasping the distinctions, thinking he and Francis could fit right in as the lead dogs in a D’Antoni system. Even though Harden, like Francis, pounds all of the air out of the ball, and is tops in the league in isolations, he’s such a brilliant decision maker that the outcome is still one of the best offenses ever, and was still one of the best offenses in the league even pre-D’Antoni. Francis, conversely, was probably one of the dumbest NBA players of his generation, and the poster-boy for the now extinct species of score-first point guard. One of my most lasting memories of Francis was after, or during halftime of, a blowout loss against the Mavericks when he taunted that Dallas could only defend he and Mobley with a zone because they couldn’t guard them straight up. Well Steve, the scoreboard is what matters.