On Yao Ming

With Yao’s induction into the Hall of Fame this past weekend, I looked back on a piece I wrote back in 2010 regarding the Houston big man.  The Mandarin scattered throughout appears because, in an experiment which failed miserably for reasons beyond my control, I had arranged to have the piece translated for wider accessibility.

I touched very briefly on Yao in Episode 104 of the Red94 Podcast, but realized after re-reading the 2010 piece that I had forgotten many interesting details involving his Rockets career.  Most notable among these was his utter dominance of former Rocket Dwight Howard in head to head match-ups.

basketballreference.com

basketballreference.com

In nine games against Howard, Yao averaged 23.6 points and 10.4 rebounds on 56% shooting, with 2.1 blocks, going 7-2.  Howard averaged 12.2 points and 9.8 rebounds on 45% shooting, with 1.7 blocks.

The significance wasn’t just that Howard was thought of at the time as the game’s premiere big man, but that, as I explained in the piece, the statistics dispelled the most common misconception regarding Yao.  Yao was derided by his critics as soft and incapable of withstanding physical play.  In actuality, anyone who actually followed him closely knew that he always played his best against the biggest players – it was the small ball lineups that gave him trouble.






in musings

Donatas Motiejunas’ rookie debut

I wrote last week on the Rockets’ waiting game regarding Donatas Motiejunas, explaining that they seemed to have all of the leverage in the current situation.  While in hindsight, successfully trading Motiejunas to Detroit would have been the more advantageous move, readers will remember that I was extremely upset following initial word of the transaction.

While doing some housekeeping in preparation for the new season, I’ve been digging through the archives from the past few seasons, and have stumbled across some gems.  I found a February 28, 2013 piece which was apparently written the night of Thomas Robinson and Motiejunas’ respective debuts.

[read more…]






in musings

Forecasting the Houston defense

I’ve mused since the signings that I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of the team repeating its success from 2015.  Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon represent the first pure shooters James Harden has played with in Houston, making an already potent offense even more dangerous.  But I’ve also said the team is nearly as likely to be a complete disaster.  As Ian Levy of Nylon Calculus noted recently, in a piece titled ‘Are the Houston Rockets headed for a terrible defensive season?‘, in adding Anderson and Gordon, the 21st ranked defense in the league is adding two players who, by box plus-minus, were estimated to be among the 40-worst defenders in the league.

[read more…]






in musings

Follow Red94 for occasional rants, musings, and all new post updates