‘Trying hard,’ long celebrated, is an act so metaphysical that it eludes even those most comprehensive of contemporary NBA analytics. The oft-mysterious rise and/or fall in a plaeyer’s—or, more importantly, a team’s—actual exertion toward winning is also a maker or breaker of any prognostication, however Hollingerian it may be.

And trying, more than anything, is what pushes teams through the long, dog day months of the season, which we’re deep into from Christmas until the moment for final playoff pushes comes. While it may seem granted that millionaire professionals are giving it their all, all the time, a true NBA fan knows better; this is a taxing season played by relatively small rosters, and no amount of money or physical training can change that. And a true NBA fan knows, further, that there’s a wide range of effort throughout the league.

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in columns

in game coverage

The Daily Blast – January 15, 2013

For fans of symmetry – three losses in a row equals slipping three standings in ESPN’s power rankings. By Hollinger’s ranking, the good guys are still holding strong at 10th in the league.

Dunkface – The Houston Chronicle asked Chandler Parsons about the opportunity to guard Blake Griffin and vice versa.  Why is this important? Because it gives us an excuse to watch this again:

Also from the Chron, Jeremy Lin has shaky ankles.

Sabermeterriffic – it would behoove all disciples of Daryl to read this and then this from Hardwood Paroxysm on the subject of creating a stat for shot quality.

Speak of the devil – our fearless leader took to Twitter to answer fan questions yesterday. He lists his biggest regret as the Terrance Williams deal (surprise!), and downplays the likelihood of a lot of movement at the trade deadline.

Coach Mac – McHale thinks Chris Paul is really good at basketball and that it will be hard to beat the Clippers if they give up a lot of dunks. Well…he’s not wrong.

in columns

NBA basketball is changing. Rules changes and new methods for measuring and developing talent usher in new styles of play, new styles of player, and new styles of winning. Teams like the Miami heat are reaping dividends by throwing out the idea of standard NBA positions, and so-called “small ball” is pushing the league to ever higher scoring heights. Never one to sit idly by, the Houston Rockets have joined in as a pioneer of new styles of basketball. While the Miami Heat may have brought the positional revolution to the average NBA fan with LeBron in the post and Chris Bosh starting as the tallest Heat player on the court, the Rockets are having their own quiet revolution.

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in essays

During the Morey era, the Rockets have had a higher rate of roster turnover than any other franchise in the league, practically fielding a completely new team every season.  The end–establishing a high growth foundation–justified the means, but in the process, some old friends were lost.  I thought I’d take a moment to check in on these former fan favorites through channeling some colleagues on the ‘sphere.

Note: Every player on this list, to some large degree, was a lovable figure exuding the grit which had defined this franchise for the past few years.  Except for Trevor Ariza.  He is here for no other reason than that a figure so polarizing simply could not be left off.

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in conversations

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