Rockets Daily: Monday, November 22nd, 2010

  • Despite Houston’s embarrassing record to start the season, there has been a steady contingent of Rockets fans who believes the talent level of this team will eventually show itself as the losing percentage for the Rockets in close games (1-4 in games decided by five or less so far) normalizes. That group of fans probably digs the advanced statistics because the eminent authorities at Basketball Reference released their weekly schedule-adjusted offensive and defensive rankings (the differential between both serving as de facto rankings of the league), and the Houston Rockets are, according to the rankings, a middle-of-the-road team with efficiency ratings that would befit a .500 outfit rather than a 3-9 one clawing its way toward respectability (it may be important to note the rankings didn’t take Friday’s loss to the Raptors into account). This should provide at least a modicum of relief for a fanbase still trying to figure out what the hell happened.
  • The league’s best team made a deal Saturday to help bolster its playoff chances by adding important depth at the two most important positions to do so, center and point guard. Now, didn’t that sentence sound way more exciting than saying that the Hornets traded Peja Stojakovic and his ridiculous expiring contract to Toronto and got back Jarret Jack, David Andersen (oh yeah, that one) and Marcus Banks?  While this deal won’t likely cause any major waves on one of this league’s most surprising breakout teams or the Rockets’ last opponent, it should be noted that one-time lottery pick and athletic freak Jerryd Bayless was also sent up north in this deal, yet another sign that the kid just isn’t getting it (he showed great promise at times last year in Portland, but he was quickly shuffled toward the back of the bench after struggles with Nate McMillan). Here’s hoping he really finds a place to turn it on now that he’s not facing in any pressure in T-Dot.
  • Rockets fans may be able to console themselves with the fact that one of the league’s best teams according to record, the Boston Celtics, was also felled by the crafty Toronto Raptors this weekend; Sebastian Pruiti writes about how a four-point Boston lead quickly became a one-point deficit because of a few smart gambles (or at least well executed ones) on coach Jay Triano’s part. Quick note about this matchup: superstar point god Rajon Rondo, he of the almost 15 assists a game, did not suit up against the Raps.
  • No matter what schedule-adjusted offensive and defensive rankings may assert, the Houston Rockets are convinced that they have been a pretty bad team to start this year. Shane Battier thinks the team could use some due diligence: “None of that was a revelation, but the Rockets said the chance to get home and get back to work offered a chance to do something about it. ‘We need to see ourselves on tape,’ Battier said. ‘We need to be on the practice court and sort of remind ourselves of the things we practice every day. You tend to forget when you’re in a travel-heavy schedule the things we worked on in practice. A lot of mental mistakes, but the eye in the sky never lies. It’s good to see it on tape. There’s no easy fix, no magic beans, no magic powder we can sprinkle on the Toyota Center. We have to go out and get through with hard work.'”
  • You may have caught this somewhere else, but if you haven’t, behold my favorite moment of a still-ridiculously-young season. Amar’e’s winded but winning, yet even he knows what just happened. There doesn’t need to be any tired “changing of the guard” metaphors attached to this instant, just a simple acknowledgment between the freaks of what will be coming nightly to the NBA. Color me geeked.

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