• First and foremost, I’m looking for a few new contributors to lighten the load this year.  Specifically, I’d like someone who is interested in writing postgame recaps as I’m afraid my own schedule might serve prohibitive.  But if there’s anything else you think you can bring, let me know.  Drop me a line at rahathuq@red94.net with a writing sample attached.  I’ll re-post this until the opener.
  • I’m beyond frustrated right now with the television situation but I’ll hold my tongue.  The problem is, I don’t see how this is going to be resolved any time soon.  If you read Red94, you’re one of a very small percentage of people who actually still care about the Rockets.  Without any sort of leverage–in combination with the fact that none of the major carriers have budged–CSN is going to have to budge on its demands.  If this isn’t resolved by the opener, this will reflect poorly….but if a tree falls in the forest…well, you get my drift.

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in columns
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Let me preface this by saying that this is the first game I have seen so far this preseason.  I do not have CSN and was unable to make it out to Toyota Center on Friday.  I also did not see any of the summer league games.  So take these remarks within that context.  (Though I think that kind of blind ignorance can make analysis more truthful in some instances.)  Anyways, here are my thoughts:

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in game coverage
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Since I’ve been doing this, I’ve written a season preview before each campaign.  This is not that.  I don’t know enough about this team to even try and preview it.  So on that point, we’ll wait until a few preseason games are under the team’s belt…or at least until I’m able to actually watch one.

For now, my interest is the early predictions, from the few things we know.

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in musings
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Unfortunately I will not be watching this game as I am a happy customer of AT&T U-Verse.  And I will not be switching over.

What to look for?  Royce White won’t be making the trip, so that’s a bummer as I’ve decided he’s the most intriguing player on this team.

I don’t expect the OKC regulars to get much burn outside of the first quarter.  As for the Rockets?  Seeing as they don’t have regulars, we don’t really know what to expect.

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in game coverage
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The former franchise savior in a heartfelt post on his own personal Facebook page announced the news that he will be leaving the NBA, at least for now, to play for the Qingdao Eagles in China.  One chunk from that status update stood out:

Isaiah Thomas, Rich Devos, Leslie Alexander and John Gabriel, you believed in me and I thank you. Jeff Van Gundy, you exemplified the brilliance of what a great coach is. Steven A. Smith, you gave us players a voice and for that I thank you. Doug Christy, Charles Oakley, Dee Brown, Mugsy Bogues, Antonio Davis, Dell Curry, Kevin Willis, you all showed a young kid from Auburndale Florida how to be a better player. Kobe, you made me work harder and it was an honor to play against you. And Yao, we shared an experience together that will always be with me, thank you.

The Stephen A. Smith dynamics were interesting because I can’t recall another athlete, at least in this sport, outright showing appreciation to a media figure for serving as an outlet to the public.  But what hit home more was the mention of Jeff Van Gundy, the only such mention in the post of a former coach.

We’ve heard Van Gundy rave about McGrady’s talents over the years on national broadcasts, even recently going so far as to say that T-Mac was the closest thing he had ever seen to a perfect body and a good mind.  Until now, we didn’t know if the appreciation was mutual.

I’ve contested that Jeff Van Gundy was the best coach this team has had in the now-close-to-20-years I’ve been following it.  I felt this way because, despite his reputation as an authoritarian, Jeff was a realist.  He knew how to get through to people in unconventional manners.  His communication skills are precisely why Kelvin Cato and Cuttino Mobley enjoyed career years under his tutelage.

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in musings
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