This was a very difficult list to make. I’ve watched roughly 95% of the Houston Rockets’ games since 1994 and have seen a lot of bad basketball and a lot of extremely bad players. I was there the year Matt Bullard and Walt Williams started in tandem at the forward spots. I was there when Scottie Pippen fell down in a series-ending Game 1 and again present when Mo Taylor found Krispy Kreme. I’ve seen it all or at least as much as any other adult living in this era. Nevertheless, I’m confident in the validity of these rankings and confident that true justice has been served. Without further ado, on to the list: Read More
Moving on from the horrific car accident that is the NBA’s current labor negotiation, here comes some casual dabbling in the always fun world of speculative free agency predictions. As we saw happen when the NFL finally came to its peaceful resolution, the splurge of signings, trades, relocation, and bag package quintupled in a condensed period of activity. It was as if God crammed all the blizzards, freezing rain, and icy roads usually reserved for November through February into a single week, then declared it winter. Read More
Whether it be financially, physically, emotionally, or all three rolled into one seismic disaster, every player, on every team, is bruised by the lockout. Guys really want to play ball, and a shortened season not only hurts them individually, but it’s a backward step for their teams as a whole—which doubles as a backward step, once again, for them as individuals, by way of their contribution towards a lower product.
A few aging groups, built on creaky knees but veteran skill and experience—the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, and Dallas Mavericks to name a few—are hurt less than others for two reasons: 1) A shortened season means less opportunity for old man injuries to occur. Guys like Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, and Kobe Bryant aren’t sighing relief that games are being missed, but when they look at the glass as being half full, all three recognize their possible one last hurrah is easier to grab now that energy from October and November can be translated to May and June, when they do things people remember them for, and 2) The continuity/chemistry factor isn’t a concern. For the most part these groups are well versed with one another, and the key instruments that make their orchestra hum on cue are all in place and ready to go. They should hit the ground running as soon as the season starts, with even greater motivation to see the regular season as somewhat of a mini-marathon or full on sprint to the finish, instead of the tedious 82 game regular season.
Unfortunately for Houston, the Rockets aren’t one of those teams. Read More
Eric Todd: If you believe the reports (which in light of how much media posturing there has been up to this point, how can you completely?), it looks like we might not see an NBA game until January or later.
Watching (reading about) all this from afar, I can’t help but in some way relate it to the larger social/political unrest that has befallen the country in recent weeks. The timing is just too perfect.
Now, this isn’t to say I feel there is some grave injustice being perpetrated on the players. To be clear, everyone involved in this mess has a thousand times more money and opportunity than I will see in ten lifetimes. There are no have-nots in this particular play.
Nevertheless, it’s just hard not to see this in terms of workers vs. management, a game that management has never lost and thus one in which they must necessarily play the villain.
Personally, I’m not sure how to feel right now. Depending on the moment, I’m torn between wild, directionless fury and crushing ennui.