If you aren’t following me already on Twitter, why not?  Everything here will have already been said on there, but in short and sweet bursts of 140-character goodness, and in real-time, as the thoughts arrive into my head.  I don’t even know why I’m writing this now except that we are closing in on the biggest time window in the NBA season, and the Houston Rockets have a bag of $46 million to hand over to someone, and it doesn’t quite seem clear if anyone is willing to take it.

We learned this afternoon that they have secured a meeting tomorrow with forward Al Horford, and just moments ago that they might not yet be completely out of the picture on guard Mike Conley.  Stepping back, examining the ensuing celebration, (of which I was a large part of), its saddening that victory this year represents just even getting a face to face.  Oh Houston, how low we have fallen.

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in musings

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Despite earlier reports that they weren’t at all even in the running, a recent Y! report listed Houston as one of several hopefuls who could still potentially get a meeting with Durant.  And James Harden says he’ll be trying.  So who knows at this point?  I still think while they didn’t break the top tier of meetings (Golden State and San Antonio), Durant gives the Rockets a chance to make their pitch, just as a token to James Harden.  One could argue Durant would let Harden know if his team were completely out of the running, just so that they don’t sit around wasting valuable time.

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It feels so long ago since the Houston Rockets were eliminated from the postseason at the hands of Golden State, that I can’t even remember if I wrote anything looking back on the season.  Possibly I didn’t.  We also had a lot to discuss with the D’Antoni hiring and the rumors surrounding that process.  But here we are in the middle of June, in the days leading up to the NBA draft, but having no first round draft pick.  That’s the most depressing outcome possible after coming off a disappointing season.

The thing I just can’t get over is how quickly everything changed from just last season.  I maybe started thinking about this deeply after all of the commemorations recently of Houston’s title teams.  I don’t know that I was emotionally present during the ’94 title run, but in 1995, I watched all 82 games + the postseason, even if needing to finish certain Pacific coast fourth quarters from my headphones, under the safety of my covers.  The most striking thing, looking back, is that I took winning for granted.  I was overjoyed, but I didn’t grasp even a fraction of the magnitude of the circumstances.  Even in the ensuing years, culminating in 1997, when the team made deep playoff runs, I still assumed relevance was a right.

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This news doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, and one can’t blame Harden at all for this decision.  I wouldn’t go either if I were in his shoes.  But its still disappointing given the impact Team USA had on Harden’s ensuing season two summers ago.  I’ll admit it was a wishful fantasy of mine that Harden, after spending another summer in the presence of positive influences and in a leadership role, would come back next October with the same focus and mindset with which he approached the 2014-2015 campaign.  Instead, we’re left hoping that last year’s fall from grace will be enough motivation.






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I finally got around to hearing Woj’s podcast interview with Daryl Morey, and a few things stood out:

  • Morey said that people misinterpreted his statement that whatever coach they hired, they needed to improve their defense saying people took that to mean they would hire a defensive-leaning coach.  Here was his actual statement: “I think its somebody who embodies what we need.  We need to get our defense stronger.”  I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
  • Morey mentioned repeatedly that the team had won the third most games of any team in the league in the last ten years.  This was news to me.  But it begs an interesting question: is “consistently good” without extreme success really enviable?  I think most fans would prefer a string of lottery seasons followed by consecutive deep playoff runs.
  • To that end, Morey stated, when asked about Les Alexander’s involvement during the hiring process of Mike D’Antoni, that it was the right thing for the owner to be involved and that the owner is the one person who has the same incentive as the fans, in contrast with the motivations of the general manager and coach.  I’m not sure I agree at all with that statement.  An owner could have a very short term outlook on his investment, eschewing long term growth in favor of immediate relevance and revenue.  In fact, later in the interview, when asked of the team’s course over the past ten years during his tenure, Morey implicitly confirmed the well-known fact that it was Alexander who has not allowed the team to properly rebuild, by reiterating his opinion regarding the difficulty and low odds associated with retooling on the fly, even saying “…you could argue we’re feeling the effects of that.”  As someone who will always play the odds, there’s really no doubt left from Morey’s multiple statements over the years regarding the percentages that if it were up to Morey himself, he would have enacted a complete tear down at some point rather than pursuing the course he’s been required to take.  So no, I, as someone who wants to see this team harvest and cultivate young talent, do not have the same incentives as the owner.  And while I, and my readership, as die-hards, may not be entirely representative of the entire Houston sports market, the rest of the people out there don’t care about this team during down times in the first place.






in musings

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