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Rockets Daily: Monday, October 25th, 2010

  • Thank God preseason games don’t matter, otherwise Rockets fans would likely be in hysterics over the depressing aloofness displayed by Houston in each of the last preseason games’ endings. Except that these games sort of do matter, especially in building a level of confidence in role players needing just that before entering Kobe Bryant’s dojo tomorrow night for a nationally televised showdown against the champs. Watching the Rockets flail about for consecutive fourth quarters on consecutive nights has to remind viewers that while fans may say that the Rockets are so deep that its second-stringers could vie for a playoff spot, that is actually not true. Teams will force Kyle Lowry to make plays, Chuck Hayes to prove that his offensive game has developed beyond “get under the basket, wait for Tracy McGrady to do something amazing”, Brad Miller to actually move. Those same fans can be thankful that Kevin Martin, he of the 53% three-point shooting clip this preseason, will actually see the court in most fourth quarters, a move Rick Adelman neglected to make in either San Antonio or Dallas. This team, as great as it can be, will need its starters to be just that: starters, the players relied on to produce the vast majority of wins. With Martin and Scola in their respective primes (Yao should be as well, but we all know how well that’s gone for him) and a somewhat healthy large guy in the middle, this team can produce them, but it will not do so primarily through the strength of its bench, the element most Rockets fans felt most giddy about entering the preseason. Seriously though, damn the doubts. NBA basketball will begin tomorrow. This is a time of obscenely unreasonable hope, where YouTube videos can make a fan believe that, again and as always, this could be the one, the year it actually happens. Just one more commercial break, and we’re there. I can’t wait.
  • Yao Ming will be going all out this season. Banging down low, keeping up with the Rockets’ fast break attack, general speed- whatever he has in him, Yao will be bringing it for 24 minutes a night this season, according to the Houston Chronicle. This seems to further the auspicious notion that abusing Yao’s actual time on the court will do the most damage, and that he will likely not have to change his game to afford himself a greater chance at avoiding injury when out there: “Teams that could not handle him or that would reconfigure their defense to deal with him need only bide their time. Yao, however, said his limited time might allow him to keep up with the Rockets’ pace. He might even be able to squeeze much of his usual production into his time allotment. ’I don’t need to worry about playing a lot of minutes, maybe saving (energy) for later,’ Yao said. ‘I’m just running out, using everything I could. The tempo of the game will be different from what I’m used to.’ He also said Adelman will not have to worry about him banging in the low blocks. ’Don’t worry,’ Yao said. ‘That’s what I’m doing the last 20 years. It’s like you eat oatmeal since you are a kid. You don’t change now.’”
  • Noam Schiller thinks the positional revolution should end in anarchy; essentially, his piece for Hardwood Paroxysm extols the virtues of tearing down a long obsolete system of “true bigs” and “pure points”, but aims to make the end goal be a realization that these, and all, positions don’t truly exist in basketball: “Taking things even further away from the NBA, just for the sake of the argument, think of pick-up basketball. If you show up on an asphalt court and call “I’ve got small forward!”, you probably won’t be permitted to play. But what separates pick-up ball from professional ball (apart from the obviously heightened level of play)? Coaching. Order. A hierarchy that goes past “give me the ball because I’m the loudest”. I’m very much on board with the positional revolution, because it maximizes assets much better than tradition. The five established positions offer some wiggle room, but not enough to encompass players of all kinds and types. As such, it is more than likely that every team in the league has multiple “unorthodox” players on their roster. If they are utilized in an unorthodox way as well, their abilities can be utilized to the fullest. But if you take a Tyreke Evans and tell him he has to focus only on creating for his teammates, or take a Dirk Nowitzki and deny him the chance to play outside of the post, you’re missing out.”
  • The guys from the True Hoop Network’s fantastic new blog HoopsSpeak talked to NBA Playbook‘s Sebastian Pruiti about trying to game plan for a revamped Monstars in a Space Jam sequel. Yao Ming gets what is likely the Shawn-Bradley-nod for simply being really fantastically huge, though his skill set is put to good use in Pruiti’s Utah-Jazz-style offense. One thing: why don’t either of these guys mention LeBron past the initial premise? If he was good enough to bring this to the NBA Finals, he might be able to beat any squad of beasts or Monstars for a night.
  • Basketball ProspectusBradford Doolittle simulated the upcoming season 10,000 times because that seems like a lot of times. He found that the Heat would likely win the title, and your Houston Rockets is likely the tenth-best team in the league. Houston won the title 35 times in those some 10 K simulations; I will allow fans to decide if that fact is entirely depressing or a little inspiring.
  • Making preseason predictions is good, clean fun (I’ve got 52 wins and a 3-6 seed, by the way. Degenerates, start your betting). Trying to guess which Rocket will probably get the most technicals likely does not fit that definition, though. Read as Rockets.com’s West Medlin tries his damnedest to explain why Brad Miller will be the Rockets’ Sheed this season, along with a few more intriguing predictions: “Miller has to be the frontrunner here. Any man who willingly engages Shaquille O’ Neal in any sort of physical confrontation must be characterized as falling somewhere in between ‘Ivan Drago tough’ and ‘Mel Gibson crazy.’ That sounds like fantastic ‘Sheed potential.”

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