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Rockets Daily – Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Daily Factoid: A five-by-five is a statistical rarity that occurs when a player tallies at least five points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks in a single game. Since the NBA began recording blocks, there have only been 14 five-by-five performances of which Hakeem Olajuwon holds the record with six.

  • ESPN – ‘Sources: Carmelo Anthony likely to go’: “All signs continue to point toward the eventual divorce between Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets. League sources say it is now a matter of when, not if, Anthony and the Nuggets will go their separate ways. Anthony is weighing whether to sign a three-year, $65 million extension offered by the Nuggets. His dilemma, league sources say, is what affords him the best chance of continuing his career elsewhere. Anthony could sign with Denver and convince the team to then trade him. His other option would be to not sign the extension, thereby forcing the team to move him rather than risk losing him next summer as a free agent. During his annual basketball camp in Colorado on Saturday, Anthony said he had no timetable on when he’ll decide whether to sign the extension. In either case, “he’s going to make it real clear that he’s not coming back,” said one league source.”
  • Trey Kerby – ‘Eva Longoria says Tony Parker wants to play in New York’: “Tony Parker’s wife, actress Eva Longoria, was overheard last night saying the San Antonio point guard wants to come to the Big Apple. The couple was at sold-out Red Bull Arena last night in Harrison, N.J., to watch their friend Thierry Henry and the Red Bulls lose 1-0 to the L.A. Galaxy. Asked if Parker’s presence meant he was coming to New York, she responded, ‘No, we’re just here watching [Henry].’ Asked if her husband wanted to come to New York, she quickly flashed a smile, nodded her head and said, ‘Yes.’ If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times — any time a basketball player’s wife is an actress who was very famous five years ago, they are going to want to play in New York. It’s just common sense, Thomas Paine style. Add in Henry’s recent arrival to New York and this feels like a slam dunk, to use a basketball term that doesn’t really apply to Tony Parker’s game. Maybe “this feels like a teardrop floater” makes more sense, but it doesn’t sound as good. Moving on. Obviously these are just rumors, and they’re some of the most ludicrous you could ever dream up — a player’s wife who is a television star was caught mouthing the word “yes” to a question that is assumed to be about going to New York is very, very silly — but Tony Parker in New York makes a lot of sense. He’d be great in the uptempo system Mike D’Antoni uses and his wife would love the extra attention from living in New York. That might not be the best reason for signing there, but it’s certainly valid.”
  • ESPN – ‘Tracy McGrady ready to revive career’: “Tracy McGrady doesn’t see himself as an old, broken-down basketball player. He’s hoping that his free-agent deal with the Detroit Pistons will help him prove that to the NBA. ‘It’s not like I’m 41 or even 35,” McGrady said after signing a one-year, $1.3 million contract Monday. “I just turned 31. No one has come down and stolen away my talent — I still have a lot in the tank.’ Knee problems have limited McGrady to just 65 games over the past two years, and he struggled to make an impact last season with New York. In 24 games with the Knicks, all starts, he averaged just 9.4 points. ‘I was coming back from an injury, and I wasn’t healthy enough to play the way that I will be able to play this season,” he said. “The difference between my knee last year and this year is night and day.’ McGrady knows that years of back problems and microfracture surgery on his knee mean that he won’t be the same high-flying superstar who led the NBA in scoring in 2002-03 and 2003-04. But he still thinks he can be an impact player. “I probably can’t dunk on guys like I did against Memo Okur here in 2003 — I hope that’s not still a bad memory for Pistons fans — but I can still put the ball in the hole,” he said. “Even last year, when I wasn’t recovered, there were two or three games where I was able to take things over for the Knicks. I’m going to be able to do that more this year.”
  • The NBA Playbook details how point guards can be effective in the post.
  • Mike Prada of SBNation: “I think there’s a very good chance Wall won’t be scoring a ton of points next year.  This is in part because he still has areas of his game that need to be developed.  His jump shot, for example, is still a work in progress, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him play overly cautiously at times to avoid turning the ball over. At the same time, I think the major reason Wall’s points might be down have little to do with Wall himself and much more to do with three of Wall’s fellow projected starters: Josh HowardAndray Blatche and Gilbert Arenas… Those three are scorers… and by “scorers,” I mean they are high-usage players that like to create their own offense more than the average NBA player. Defining a “high usage” player is pretty easy, because we have a stat for that called usage percentage…  if you’re not familiar with the stat, it basically identifies how often a player ends a possession by his team while he’s in the game… Not only do Howard, Blatche and Arenas like to use a lot of possessions, but they have historically scored a lot of their points on their own.  There are a lot of ways to illustrate this.  For one, all three have traditionally had low assisted field goal numbers, i.e. the percentage of baskets they score that are assisted by someone else.”
  • Eddy Rivera of Magic Basketball demonstrates why J.J. Redick was one of the most efficient players last year.
  • Andrew McNeill of 48 Minutes of Hell diagrams why he thinks Richard Jefferson is a better player when he moves off the ball.
  • Michael McNamara – ‘The Tale of Two Arizas: Which One Are the Hornets Getting?’: “On paper it looks like Ariza has found a home in New Orleans. If one were to draw up a checklist that would best serve Ariza’s game, the Hornets would fit nearly every criteria. A superstar point guard that can get him open looks in the half court and easy shots in transition. Check. A starting lineup with three players that teams will focus on ahead of Ariza. Check. A coach who understands the position and will work with Ariza every day. Check. A front office who believes in what he brings to the table as a player. Check. Those who debate which team in the four-team trade got the best player are missing the point. Even if Collison’s impressive half season leads you to believe that his future is brighter than Ariza’s, it does not mean that the Hornets got the short end of the stick. They got the piece that was best for their individual puzzle, regardless of what Collison becomes with the Pacers. Ariza is here now and,most likely, we won’t know for a couple of years how to truly grade this trade for all teams involved. If the Hornets get the Trevor Ariza Rockets fans saw before Kevin Martin, this trade will likely be a fail- but all signs point to a higher likelihood that the Hornets will get the more efficient Ariza. Where Ariza’s game goes from here is unknown, but there is a blueprint out there for him to follow.  In 1996 there was another tall, lanky athletic forward who was twenty five years old and had just finished a career year with the Rockets. Like Ariza, this player had also been a key contributor to a team that made back to back Finals appearances and whose contributions extended beyond what showed up in the box score. The player was Robert Horry. Horry will never be mistaken for a superstar, and he never averaged double digits again in his career after his 12 PPG outburst in 95-96, but he played another twelve years of quality NBA basketball, picking up another 5 rings along the way. He did whatever was asked of him and hit the open shots in the clutch, much like Ariza did in the 2009 playoffs. Guys like that are rare, and Ariza has shown that he can be one of those guys for a good team and maybe he will be again for the Hornets. We won’t know for a while and in the meantime all we have are stats, but as Chuck says, those won’t tell you the whole story of a guy like Ariza.”
  • Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post explains how true shooting percentage, or TS%, works.
  • Mike Schmitz of the Valley of the Suns breaks down the type of impact he expects from Josh Childress next season.
  • Brian Robb – ‘Rondo To Start for Team USA?’: “The cream of the crop always finds a way to rise to the top, and even while playing with some of the best this country has to offer, Rajon Rondo has managed to break through. Just weeks, after some reporters around the team questioned whether the point guard would even make the final roster, Rondo started and excelled in two Team USA scrimmages over the weekend, establishing himself as a favorite to get the starting nod once the FIBA’s start in Turkey in two weeks. ‘I like playing with Rondo,’ Billups said. ‘He’s a winner. I love playing with winners; guys that know how to play the game. Guys that every possession know what it means.’ Chandler said having a pass-first playmaker on the floor has made his job a lot easier. ‘He’s looking every single time,’ Chandler said. “For the big man, sometimes you’re guessing, ‘Is he shooting? Should I attack the boards, or is he passing?’ So it’s good to know, he’s looking to pass first.’ His playmaking is certainly important for Team USA. But arguably just as important will be what he brings to the floor defensively. ‘It starts with Rondo,’ said Team USA and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. ‘He wants to play defense. And he knows that the people behind him are playing defense, too.'”

About the author: Rahat Huq is a lawyer in real life and the founder and editor-in-chief of Red94.net.

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