A 7’6″ Hole to Fill: Breaking down the Rockets’ Centers

So here we are at the center of our discussion. The Rockets are a team built around the expectation of a super-large anchor who’s chain separated and set the team adrift in a storm with a demagnetized compass. And now the team’s fantastic collection of parts seem like just that, parts.

With the giant man in tow, perimeter players such as Kevin Martin and Kyle Lowry look to have been perfect cogs in an efficient inside/outside machine that now sputters and spits black smoke, leaving it longingly on the outside of a working plan, looking in.

What’s left are who we have to discuss, players with impossibly-sized shoes to fill. (We miss you, big man.)

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Powering through the Rockets’ Forwards

In recent NBA times, defining the power forward and center positions has been about as simple and clear as corporate tax code. Tim Duncan is apparently a power forward, while Mehmet Okur and Andrea Bargnani hoist three’s from the center position and Brad Miller passes out of the high post and looks cool in a headband.

For the Rockets, this ambiguity is not lost as the great fall of the giant man meant the team’s starting center was shorter than its shooting guard. Left to make sense of this mess, Kevin McHale’s starting line-ups next season are likely to be as consistent as Brandon Jennings’ jump-shot.

For the purposes of this lockout-(un)inspired task I’ve set myself upon, I’ve chosen three of the Rockets roster of post men to designate as Power Forwards.

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ESPN: 5-on-5 on the Milwaukee Bucks

Today’s new 5-on-5 discussion has been published with some thoughts from myself on the Milwaukee Bucks, including this take on this summer’s trade between the Bucks and Bobcats that brought Stephen Jackson to Wisconsin:

Last season’s Bucks offense revealed a couple of things: Bogut’s hand functions as if repaired mostly with duct tape and hope, and Milwaukee needs scoring oh so badly. Though taking the ball out of Jennings’ hands might stunt his growth, Jackson’s particular brand of point-forward-iness should open up an offense that needs ball movement and shooting as badly as any.

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From the NinetyFourums: The blessed and the cursed

Reader Favian Pua breaks down each of the NBA’s respective fanbases:

16. Houston Rockets: The Yao Dynasty has come to an end and dissipating for the most part is the Chinese community who wholeheartedly rode the Rockets bandwagon for the past decade. For those who are sticking it out with the Rockets this year, be warned that this will be the first year of true growing pains. This motley of talent and upside is really young. A quick look at their roster shows that only their two stars, Kevin Martin and Luis Scola, are above 25. However, this youth movement has a predictable ceiling and it doesn’t look like a future superstar is coming out of the fold. You have been warned. It’s been said over and over again: 2009 feels so long ago.

Click here to read the full post and add your thoughts.

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Hors D’oeuvres From Houston

For NBA fans all across the country, this summer—a two to three month period that normally sprints forward like a roller coaster’s free fall—has felt really, really long. Not to make matters worse, but if no progress is made at the NBA’s next Board of Governors meeting, reportedly slated for September 15, the immediate months ahead figure to resemble a sloth making his molasses sandwich; the situation is stagnant, boring, and beyond the point where words like frustration are able to describe the collective feeling.

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