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.

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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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A note on yesterday’s published works

Yesterday’s piece, ‘Imagining Hakeem Olajuwon on Houston’s Sideline’, was written by Michael Pina.  My own name was mistakenly put in the byline during the editing process.  Our apologies for the confusion.

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When asked if he’d be willing to teach his one and only friend the finer arts in constructing a believable lie, a proud George Costanza quickly dismissed the request: “Jerry, I can’t. It’s like saying to Pavorotti, ‘Teach me to sing like you.’”

Just because someone instructs a lesson to another person, it doesn’t necessarily mean things will click; physical abilities don’t permeate from one body to another by a magical touch, and some students simply don’t have the same mental capacity as their teacher. That’s life. But in the NBA, the players we’re discussing here are the best of the best—450 fate controlled lottery winners—and if they were to have someone whose sole job was to teach them the finer arts of, say, footwork in the low post, then we might be on to something.

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Chasing the Dragon

When I was younger, like most inarticulate, baby-faced sports aficionados, there seemed no limit to the number of downright awful basketball players that made up the majority of NBA rosters. Yeah, I knew about the Charles Barkleys and Gary Paytons and even Jeff Hornaceks, but for every one of those stars, 15 Chucky Browns proliferated the pro basketball landscape, hawking up ill-advised mid-range jumpers, being hopped over for rebounds and catching passes with their collective face. Eight-year-old me could not be convinced that the NBA did not have its fair share of miserable basketball players who just sucked, sure to be supplanted by this pudge-encased spectator and my size 6 pair of Jordan 13s. You know, when I grew up.

Flash forward to the present day, where I am highly aware of exactly how hard it is to do the things NBA players do with disarming ease after practicing for years. While everyone goes through slumps, and though a relative hierarchy among the haves and have-nots still exists among the league’s players, basically every NBA player has a skill set that brings something to his team that is of consequence (see: Thabeet, Hasheem- height). That’s why the beginning of the 2010-11 season brought a bigger surprise for Rockets followers than most NBA viewers get to see, in the worst kind of way: Chase Budinger did not just look bad; he looked like he did not belong on an NBA team. [read more...]

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