Reacting to the lottery

The lottery is such a funny exercise. The fate of a franchise that’s normally attune to watching its business decisions play out among the world’s greatest athletes on a basketball court, gets decided by ping pong balls popping in a secluded room in the Tri-State area.

More often than not, mysteriousness like this can give berth to controversy, and last night’s events are no different. I understand why people cry conspiracy when a team that was recently purchased from the league in slightly desperate fashion is rewarded with the first overall pick, but please, let’s be serious. The draft lottery isn’t rigged, and the same people who believe it is could concoct similiar arguments had several other teams won it instead (most notably Sacramento and Brooklyn).

If the ping pong balls were drawn 100 times, there’s a good chance the Rockets still wouldn’t win, so conspiracy or no conspiracy, Houston had no shot. But you’re smart enough to know that. Here are some of my thoughts on last night’s lottery, and how what transpired could impact the Houston Rockets as they head into their extremely interesting offseason.  [read more…]






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Gasol revisited

I don’t watch as much basketball as I once did.  I catch every Rockets game, due to my duties here, but I no longer subscribe to League Pass.  That’s why I was left almost speechless the few times I caught a Lakers game towards the end of the year.  Oh I had read and heard all the quips about “hero-ball” and how the Lakers needed to get their big men involved.  But I had imagined it as random ‘heat checks’ from Kobe or ill-advised shots in succession from time to time.  But I could never have conceived that what I later saw in reality was actually possible.

This year, under Mike Brown, the Lakers at times go entire stretches of games playing what almost seems some primitive form of streetball with 4 men watching stagnantly as one takes on an entire defense.  It’s so bad at times one can only marvel at its occurrence.  Kobe will receive the ball at the top of the key and jab-step beautifully to brilliantly aesthetic jumpers with defenders draped in his face, or he’ll receive in the post and fade away off of double teams.  He’ll hit a few in the course, only reaffirming his belief in the plan.  Rinse and repeat.  In the midst of these spectacles, Pau Gasol has been reduced to a bystander; I think I saw him as the post-entry passer a few times, at the most, hilariously…

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Lowry does not believe he and Goran Dragic, his successor as the starting point guard this season, will both return to the roster next season. Lowry was even less confident he and Rockets coach Kevin McHale can successfully coexist.

“I don’t think so,” Lowry, 26, said. “I honestly think it would be tough. Things have to be addressed. The situation would have to be addressed.

“If things aren’t addressed coaching-wise, I guess I have to be moved.”

The only surprise here is that he went public with the sentiments.

Lowry’s antics this past year have been extremely disappointing.  Longtime readers will recall that he was the first Rocket this blog really endorsed.  For his all-out hustle and on-court leadership, I turned a blind eye to his incessant whining about calls during games.  I ignored the battery charge because I don’t concern myself with players’ private lives.  When he didn’t get in the huddle, drawing McHale’s ire, I was disappointed but told myself it can happen – look at Dwyane Wade’s recent runin with his coach.  But this—to air dirty laundry—has really left a bitter taste.

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Is Pau Gasol worth it?

This summer, Pau Gasol has three doors staring him straight in the face, each one leading to a different future, and each one dictating a different ending for how he’ll spend the rest of his career as a meaningful basketball player.

1) He leaves L.A. behind and becomes the same player he was in 2010, ridding himself of all the name-calling, unjust third-option placement, and total lack of respect that’s bogged him down these last two seasons.

2) He leaves L.A. and brings all the baggage with him, roaming around the perimeter, showing up for some games and disappearing in others, and looking more like a second or third option than a franchise player.

3) He stays in Southern California and continues to disintegrate beside Kobe Bryant.

That’s it right there. Those are the three roads. If it comes down to the first two options and you’re the Rockets, there’s quite a gamble in not knowing which door he ends up walking through. At this point they’ll need to ask themselves: is it even worth the risk? [read more…]






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Report cards: Kevin McHale

I am loath to dole out grades.  I’ve never done it.  Why?  Because it presents a veil of finality.  Not every issue is closed or can be defined by the assignment of a single character.  But I’ll do it.  Psychologists will tell you that people like grades because people want conclusions.  Whilst casual reading, people don’t want to be left with open-ended analysis; they want a concrete takeaway in concise form.  So with that, I’ll do this…for you guys.  But know I hate such gross oversimplification in assessment.

We’ll start this series with Kevin McHale.  I’ll work through every major figure associated with the team, or until I grow tired of the whole thing.  That could very well happen as early as like the Kevin Martin issue or even last up to Hasheem Thabeet.  We’ll see.  Actually, I had been working on (putting off) a ‘season in review’ piece, but realized I needed to do some of the major thinking in more detail and figured this series would help.  Anyways, without further ado, I present to you the Kevin McHale installment.

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