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The Daily Blast – March 21, 2013

Motivation – After last night’s crucial win over the Jazz, Chandler Parsons revealed that McHale spelled out for the team why the game was a must-win.

“Coach went over the mathematics and the importance of this game before we went out there, and we understood the tiebreaker. We understood what’s at stake with the seeding, so this was a huge game for us going forward,” Parsons said.

After the failure against Golden State on Sunday, it was good to see the team make love to pressure last night.

Days of Future Paul – When asked about Houston’s possible interest in him as a free agent next year, Paul Millsap claimed ignorance, via the Chronicle:

Told his is a name often listed among the Rockets’ options, Millsap declined to consider that possibility during the season.

“I didn’t know that,” he said. “My main thing is to win games. I don’t get caught up into all that. … You have to play where you are. That’s how I look at it.”

One Utah-based blogger had this take on Millsap’s very un-contract-year style of play:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/Clintonite33/status/314577125212581890″]

Youth Movement – Yesterday, I discussed at length the tension between the production of athletic young players and the need for coaches to establish team culture. Then Hoopspeak revealed a gem from Stan Van Gundy embedded in an article about the development of Andre Drummond:

In a panel discussion at the 2013 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, former Miami Heat and Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy supported nuanced deliberation with respect to player progression.

“The Washington Wizards went through a time where they took JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche and all those guys and they just let them play… The idea is that the players will continue to get better; I don’t buy that.  ‘If I can play the way I’m playing and I don’t have to change anything to get my playing time, why am I gonna change it?’ The only way to get better is to say, ‘These are our standards, this is the way we play basketball.’  And guys can sit for two or three years until they meet those standards, and then play better.”

It’ a common notion among fans (myself included) that rookies don’t develop while sitting on the bench. Coaches like Stan Van, Dwane Casey, Rick Adelman and Kevin McHale have displayed a belief that they develop rookies by sitting them on the bench. Teams like the Wizards and Kings are starting to make these coaches look smart.

Clingy – Motiejunas is barely hanging on to his top-10 spot on NBA.com’s rookie ladder, and his poor shooting night against the Jazz probably didn’t help his case. He’s still creating great content for McHale quotes though:

Motiejunas slips this week, but had his best game since the last writing. In last week’s rout of the Suns, Motiejunas scored a career-high 19 points on 7-for-12 shooting but was more impressed with the blowout win. “It’s not really important for me, my career high,” Motiejunas said. “I’m thinking more about team victories.” Coach Kevin McHale was impressed, though. “He’s one of those kids, on his report card it says, ‘Plays well with others.”

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About the author: John Eby got on the Rockets bandwagon in 1994 and never got off. He is a public relations guy and recovering TV journalist living in South Carolina.

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