Unlike yesterday when Jeff Green’s name started really making the rounds, there isn’t really anything new to report that hasn’t been mentioned. That’s why I’ve decided to compose a random stream of consciousness of my thoughts at this hour to fill the time. If you’re looking for updates, you won’t find any on this particular page.
- I’ve mentioned this a few times, but is there any player in the league regarding whom there is greater variance between actual ability and fan perception than Omer Asik? You gotta see some of the stuff that’s come up on my timeline: opposing fans think this guy is a complete scrub with bad hair. After I tweeted about the Aldridge report hinting at a Cavs swap involving Varejao, someone from the Cavs end actually said they’d only do it if Parsons were included too and even then, “maybe.” Uhhh, what.
Beyond the compilation and gelling of talent, beyond the fine-tuning of playbooks and familiarities with self and other, comes another level of NBA challenge—pace. The undoing of many a title competitor, knowing when to ease off and slam down on the acceleration pedal throughout the slog of the season is often the difference between having or not having the most important factor of all on your side. Health.
Much is made of the Chicago Bulls’ incessant pressing of this pedal. Fans and pundits alike have suggested it to be the cause of their never-ending injury problems. It’s not just Derrick Rose—the team’s other four starters have already missed a combined 16 games this season. And we can all remember what malnourished version of themselves they were by the time they got to the Miami Heat last year.
It would seem insane that Tom Thibodeau and his cast of excellent heads could not figure out that their hard work ethic, their ceaseless pressing in practices and games, is potentially their achilles heel. But at the end of the day, it’s also the source of the edge his teams have had.
Laying off the pedal is a privilege granted to the mega-talented in this league. The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs have showed their aptitude to spin their vaunted on-off switches as needed, but it’s a team skill for the very elite, the most crème of NBA outfits. Before developing a touch with one’s speed-shifting, a team must first do the hardest work of all and create a system of patterns and roles effective enough to warrant speeding and slowing.
The Situation – In the words of Inigo Montoya, “Lemme explain. No, there is too much. Lemme sum up.”
The team was also without Coach Kevin McHale, who the Houston Chronicle reports is due back on Wednesday after time off due to the death of his mother.
All That Power – The Rockets fell to 8th in Marc Stein’s Power Rankings after this week’s losses to Portland and Sacramento. Stein writes:
Houston has held it together pretty well through the Omer Asik saga, sporting a mark of 11-6 since Asik’s demotion from the starting lineup. You get the sense, though, that the other Rockets are more than ready for this thing to be over with Thursday as we’ve all been promised it will be.
The Rockets got the same no. 8 ranking from John Schuhmann at NBA.com:
On Thursday, the Rockets outscored the Blazers 66-36 in the paint … and lost. On Friday, they got outscored 66-40 in the paint by the Warriors … and won. Paint points may be overrated, but rim protection is still important, so it will be fascinating to see what Daryl Morey gets for Omer Asik this week. A first-round draft pick would be nice, but a perimeter defender would make an impact right now.
As of Monday night, the Rockets are seventh in the Hollinger Power Rankings, so they miss the Power Ranking trifecta by just one spot. [read more…]