With Linsanity in full force, the Houston Rockets management in recent days has once again found itself in the crosshairs of vicious skeptics. What’s hilarious is that the criticisms paint the analytics method as some esoteric strategy foreign to common sense. In actuality, it’s in line with what we do in every single walk of life. Ever buy a car? Did you just take it for a test drive or did you check out some consumer reports too? This isn’t rocket science. Consumers gather as much information at their disposal to make informed decisions in the marketplace, especially when millions of dollars of investments are involved. Why is this something so difficult to understand?
Some of the logic out there right now is borderline absurd. I contest that Lin wouldn’t have been producing nearly at this level had he remained with this team, and wouldn’t have even gotten the chance. But let’s say we concede the Rockets messed up and let a gem slip through their fingers. What does that mean? Some paint it as a mark against management; proof in the flaws of their ways. Since when has any methodology been error-free? Since when did random flaws disprove the entire method? No approach is 100% in any scope of nature. If you point to Lin as reason for disbelief, I point to Brooks, Landry, Hayes, Scola, Parsons, and Budinger as reason that it’s working.
There are a lot of things over which one can criticize Rockets management. Holding on to Yao too long. Doing the same with Scola. Perhaps not tanking, though the verdict on that is still out. But holding them to the fire over Jeremy Lin is preposterous.
I threw the Woj piece up on the front page yesterday for your personal edification, but didn’t get a chance to share my thoughts. So I’ll do that here. First, a more pressing matter.
I wrote last night that the Jeremy Lin situation was turning into a complete and utter disaster. Once more, I want to be clear: the disaster is the Knicks draft pick which is losing value with every day; it is not, as some have inferred, that we lost out on Lin.
What Jeremy Lin is doing right now is remarkable. Watching him closely last night, it is clear he belongs in this league. He’s a smart player with all of the athletic tools needed to succeed at his position. But he would not be having this same degree of success were he still with the Houston Rockets.
Nevertheless, Kobe was chatting Rondo up for most of the fourth quarter. Rondo’s a player who so intrigues Bryant. Who wouldn’t want him? But he isn’t available to the Lakers. Everyone knows the Lakers need a point guard, and the price of a top playmaker remains the same: Gasol. The Houston Rockets still have a longing for Gasol, but the Lakers would want a player the Rockets are most reluctant to part with: point guard Kyle Lowry. The Lakers could probably pry a combination of Kevin Martin and Luis Scola for Gasol, league sources said, but it’s doubtful they’ll move Gasol without solving their point guard problem. Lowry has developed into one of the league’s finest point guards, but Rockets general manager Daryl Morey isn’t trading him.
When I asked Stern about his decision to overrule Hornets general manager Dell Demps, he said that he hadn’t ‘overruled’ anybody. I responded that he had ‘revoked’ the trade. Stern then remarked that he hadn’t ‘revoked’ the trade, but rather merely had not ‘signed off’.