Antiheroes – Henry Abbott (TrueHoop) seconds Rahat’s motion for the Rockets to abandon James Harden’s fruitless isolation plays at the end of close games:
Hero Ball, or isolating your best player with the ball and letting him create for himself, is one of those things that looks dumber with time. Not long ago there was no way to know if it was the best approach or not. Increasingly, though, the evidence is making clear it’s far better to attack the defense at its weakest. (Hero Ball does the opposite.)
So, why are the Rockets, such a smart team, using this approach?
Most Valuable Asset – Bill Simmons (Grantland) has fired up the first half of his annual trade value column. He acknowledged that Lin dropped out of his top 50 from last year (must be something about the jersey he’s wearing), Omer Asik just barely didn’t make the cut, and Chandler Parsons weighed in at no. 48 with a great idea for a TV show:
Meanwhile, Parsons has been doing an eerie Ryan Anderson impersonation for one-eighth the price. Even better, he inspired this e-mail from Nick in Bloomington:
“I’ve been thinking of an idea for a TV show that would air during the NBA offseason. It’s a sitcom called Launchpad, and it stars Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lin, and James Harden as three buddies who all live in a Houston apartment together and Omer Asik as their wacky neighbor. All my friends say that they would watch the hell out of this show.”
How did Nick miss out on a “with Dork Elvis as their landlord” joke there? The sabermetric Stanley Roper! He could have cracked jokes like “I don’t know what’s later — Chandler’s rent checks, or Chandler’s help D on corner 3s!” and then turned to the camera for the extra laugh. I’d totally watch Launchpad as an animated series. Maybe there’s still time.
Maybe CSN would pick it up and air it everywhere but Houston.
Opposition Research – OKC blog Welcome To Loud City takes an end-of-season overview of the decision to trade James Harden. Verdict? Rockets did good:
Yes, the Thunder have a better record this season but that is a short term achievement. In the long term the Thunder will be worse without James Harden. I was very bullish on what Harden’s upside could ultimately be in the NBA and he has proven me dead wrong. Harden went from being a pretty good player to being a impact All-Star player who is proving that the gap between him and Westbrook is a lot closer than people thought. The action of trading Harden has resulted in more discussion about winners and losers. In the present the reaction is that Thunder have not missed a step but once the off season hits and Kevin Martin is wearing a different jersey and Jeremy Lamb continues to find his way in the NBA the reaction can change greatly.
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Rockets? Matt Cianfrone at Hickory-High, that’s who:
If you want a team that “no one should want to face” check out the Rockets where great role players like Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik surround a superstar in James Harden and form an elite offense. Or to Chicago where for all we know Derrick Rose will reappear for the playoffs to join Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and an elite defense. Those are the dangerous teams.
Not the Lakers or Celtics.
All they are is old and not very good.
Rocket Man – Via Hardwood Paroxysm, a real-live NASA astronaut wished the Rockets luck before the Lakers game, but they let him down:
There’s still a chance to do him proud in the playoffs.
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