This clip features a Steve Francis-Olajuwon led Houston Rockets team against the Toronto Raptors, featuring Vince Carter and a very young Tracy McGrady.
McGrady sets a career high with seven blocks and absolutely posterizes Olajuwon at the 4:24 mark. What could have and should have been.
Francis is similarly spectacular to watch: check out the sick spin move at the 0:37 mark of the clip, one of many weapons in a dizzying array.
I’ve made the comparison before but Jeremy Lin reminds me a lot of Francis, not in their skillset–in terms of ballhandling and diversity of moves, the two aren’t even in the same stratosphere–but in type of player.
The two are both point guards whom, if given complete control of the team, are good enough to lead it to around above 40 wins (the normal mark for the Francis Rockets and a realistic conclusion if extrapolating the Linsanity era), but if needed to play a complementary role (since topping out at 40 wins isn’t exactly desirable aspiration) have struggled. Lin’s the far better passer, Francis the far superior ball-handler, and both players like to attack the rim and shoot jumpers off the dribble. But neither exudes composure in directing an offense, both struggle with turnovers, and neither can hit the open set 3 with consistency.
In Francis’ sole season under Jeff Van Gundy, when the offense became Yao-centric, Francis’ numbers dipped to the lowest of his career. Save for a short period in Orlando during Dwight Howard’s infancy (man, all the connections here!), Francis never recovered and his career was ultimately over. Lin will need to build upon his improved shooting from the month of April and learn to play slow if he wants to avoid the same fate.