Kyle Lowry Should Scare You

The point at which an NBA player becomes the best of his team should be a watershed moment, a glorious juncture when potential finally meets production, when all of those scouts can finally stop holding their collective breaths and start to unabashedly gloat. At the same time, being the default best player on an NBA team is a lot like being the prettiest girl in the room. No one appreciates the Ricky Davises and Antoine Walkers and Shareef Abdur-Rahims of the world, tirelessly padding those stats and maybe even sneaking in an All-Star appearance amidst all of the back-breaking, eminently soul-crushing losing that goes on on these teams.

While the Houston Rockets have avoided dealing with quite too much of that mind-numbing defeat stuff (eh… there’s still been plenty of it), the question of who the team’s best player is has been of constant interest since Yao Ming fell down and never got back up in Game 3 of that Conference Finals those 125,000 some odd years ago. [read more...]

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It’s a tricky thing to discuss character in terms of sports, to say that one player is superior to another because of his or her mental, rather than physical, make-up. That sort of logic might lead to some absurd assertion like: “Dr. Jack Ramsey would take LeBron to school in a pick-up game,” or “John Hollinger could absolutely handle Dirk one-on-one!”

But that’s exactly what I’m about to argue, not that any of us could play professional sports if we just studied hard enough, but that an NBA player’s mentality might be just as important his physicality.

This consideration, I believe, is particularly relevant to the Rockets’ current cache of Small Forwards.

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Welcome, Michael Pina; New Red94 contributor

I’m pleased to introduce our newest contributor, Michael Pina.  Michael is the founder of an all-everything, killer crossover promoting NBA blog called Shaky Ankles. His work has been featured on Hardwood Paroxysm, Buckets Over Broadway, Both Teams Played Hard, and linked to The Point Forward, Ball Don’t Lie, and  many other various/random locations. He believes Jonny Flynn is the next Aaron Brooks (in a good way). Follow him on Twitter @ShakyAnkles.

What ensues beneath the jump is Michael’s first contribution to Red94:

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An Argument for Argument-Ending

Remember this point last summer, when you and I and everyone we know (shoutout to Miranda July) couldn’t help themselves but to piss and moan about the Melodrama and the Decision, wondering when we’d get a chance to ever get to talk about real, American-made professional basketball again? When all actual hoop talk appeared obfuscated amid a flurry of transactions, when John Salmons’s free-agent-status ruled headlines over summer baseball? It’s almost embarrassing to think of how much I wished I were hearing about LeBron throwing cold fries back at cafeteria chefs as explanation for his move to Miami rather than the tired, miserable groans from the NBA lockout. With all respect due to Larry Coon, the drudgery of collective bargaining agreement logistics has finally crushed my will and limited the vast majority of my basketball intake to that of my own experiences at the playground. Of course, as I’m sure it has for most of us roundball fiends, this tragedy has pushed me to the hobbies I had so obliviously neglected through last season, and by indulging in them, I, as I’m sure the rest of you have, realized exactly how badly I need there to be an NBA season.

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As the doggedly hot days of this Texas summer try to turn our t-shirts into swimming pools/wet mops, the NBA lockout continues to encourage us, like a worried parent, to find other hobbies. In lieu of taking up shuffleboard or Starcraft, I’ve decided to help pass the time by breaking down the Rockets’ roster.

I’ve chosen to separate the players by position, though I realize that in this post-modern NBA doing so is a somewhat dubious and often generally pointless exercise. For the purposes of this column and my hopes of not drastically straying off topic, position will serve a purely functional distinction.

As I began last week with point guards (the easiest to define), we’ll stay in the backcourt this time around and discuss Shooting Guards.

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