Rockets Daily: Monday, September 6th, 2010

  • They say a Houston Rockets season has not actually begun until the first injury. With an upcoming training camp heralding the start of actual professional basketball, Chase Budinger sprained his ankle and will be out for four to six weeks. The high-flyer and generally chill bro was set to immediately increase his role thanks to Trevor Ariza’s departure causing a sudden dearth of flexibility at the 3. His defense and consistency will be closely scrutinized in a way they weren’t last season if he plays next to a roster that can contend, so losing a month or more of practice seems particularly ill-timed. Although, I suppose we’ve had less convenient injuries.
  • Chuck Hayes does not play around. He doesn’t let anyone back him down, doesn’t want to take any guff about how short he is and perennially exudes an aura of being too old for this stuff, even though he’s only 27. So if Chuck Hayes thinks the Rockets will be one of the five best defensive units in the NBA next year, we should all prepare for some crisp rotations and active feet. When talking to Rockets staff writer Jason Friedman, Hayes pointed to his current team’s character as evidence of a defensive resurgence for the boys in the ketchup and mustard: “It’s all about the guys we have here and how hard we play. We’ve got guys who can defend and with Yao down there, he’s kind of like a safety net. Sometimes we use him as a crutch and we obviously can’t do that and I’m surely early on we’ll have nights when we’re good and others when we won’t be. But I think we can put it together. Brad Miller is an unselfish player. Patrick Patterson is a real humble and willing-to-listen rookie – he doesn’t have an ego. Then you throw in Yao who is probably the most unselfish superstar out there. I think the pieces are all there. We don’t have any egos in this locker room. Nobody thinks they’re better than anyone else. And that’s a big key to playing good team defense.”
  • As has become the norm for this summer in basketball, though many are talking about the ethics of Carmelo Anthony’s non-trade-demand while obviously enjoying the ability to continue the Summer of LeBron, few have discussed the on-court merits of Anthony going to New Jersey, Houston or any of the other 27 teams that would be happy to have him join their ranks. Kelly Dwyer, of Ball Don’t Lie, decided to actually consider the packages available to the Nuggets and whether Anthony’s prospects in a different destination would produce significantly better results for Melo than he saw in Denver: “Sure, the Rockets would get better with Luis Scola in his prime and Aaron Brooks working it and Yao Ming coming around. The Knicks fans would swear up and down that this is the next step toward securing Chris Paul (who, mind you, is under contract until 2012). And the Nets would have a pretty fearsome troika with Anthony, Brook Lopez, and Devin Harris (and, if he pans out, Derrick Favors). But those teams don’t scare me. Maybe New Jersey, if Favors turns into a borderline All-Star. But that’s about it. And, the scary thing for those teams? Anthony could hang around for merely a year.”
  • Despite severe penalties for making the brand name look bad and the need for constant press coverage, the NBA will, at least for one more year, be a players’ league; therefore, when a story like Luther Head’s comes out, it gives NBA fans pause. Head was signed to a two year deal by outgoing Hornets GM Jeff Bower before allegedly failing a physical that made the contract null and void. According to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, Hornets president Bruce Weber made up the report that Head’s surgically repaired ankle was still a problem in order to get his salary off of New Orleans’ books, leaving Head with a tough summer for finding a job. While Head may be best remembered by you and me as the worst Rockets playoff performer in recent memory, he deserves his chance to consistently underperform in this league as much as the next Tim Thomas, and Weber blatantly lied to achieve a less-than-worthy goal. In order to retain leverage and at least deal with a sated beast in ongoing CBA meetings, David Stern may need to do some talking to Weber, who just hurt his brand name.
  • It may be an older piece, but Dave Zirin is truly introducing a revolutionary idea to sports fans: ownership. According to Zirin, sports teams are more than payrolls and legal titles; they are entities with histories and ties that bind them far more to cities than the titles that owners possess. In the muddled discussion of race, ethics, loyalty and everything else known to man that came in the wake of The Decision, talk of Dan Gilbert and his “right” to signing LeBron James was quiet. Zirin, though, is not: “I’ve got something in the next Progressive where I defend LeBron not on the basis of what he did, but on that question of choice. It’s absolutely, positively his right to choose, and when people have this sense of entitlement regarding individual athletes, you get into some very bizarre, very morally nebulous territory, as if the athlete somehow owes the individual fan, or the organization, something… I would say that we need to make sure that owners do a certain group of things, or else there has to be a public debate and discussion about the city or the state putting the team in the hands of fans, or making it a public utility to serve the city. All I’m trying to do with this book is at least start a discussion about changing the terms of the debate here and changing some of these power relationships.”
  • I got a basketball cake for my birthday this year, and since, I have considered myself a basketball cake connoisseur. No, I don’t have any other reason, thank you for asking. Thus, I present the newest Houston Rockets cake, in all of its red-velvet-glory. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say, “Meh” to this confection. She makes an impressive ball and hoop, but after putting all that work into the rounded shape, it seems “Sheela” lost her focus and kind of whiffed on the rest. Thankfully, as a basketball cake connoisseur, I can always look back at former Rocket Allen Leavell’s wedding day masterpiece and be satisfied.
  • The New York Knicks will probably not be that good in 2010-2011. That doesn’t mean it won’t be as interesting to watch as any team on hardwood north of South Beach this year, though. Hardwood Paroxysm‘s Matt Moore ably discusses why the D’Antoni Knicks may look, at once, completely similar and antithetical to what we think of as a D’Antoni team.
  • Before I lose all available credibility, I’d like to point any interested Rocket fan towards Puma’s championship packs, a series of shoes based around the NBA title winners of different decades. In the 1990’s pack (I’m betting you’ve solved this one) comes these fly reminders that Houston remains Clutch City. Look out for the Dallas and Utah colorways, coming to stores as soon as either of those franchises gets some hardware.

in columns
  • Daniel


  • rahat_huq

    Luther Head is the worst basketball player I've ever suffered the misfortune of having watched in a Rockets uniform.

  • Stephen

    Head was a decent fourth gd off the bench in a 3 gd rotation who had the misfortune of being the only back-up Van Gundy trusted and who became Adelman's top reserve because the horde of shoot-first PGs couldn't get it done(yes Francis and James,I'm talking about you). He actually played fairly well in reg season games,just completely exposed by Utah. First run off court as back-up PG by Price,then had the epically bad series where he lost all confidence in his shot to point he was missing open lay-ups.
    Me,I'd go w/Ryan Bowen or Brian Cook of modern era.

    Which brings up a reminder of couple things:
    1)Just what a horrible job of putting talent around Yao and McGrady Dawson did. Luther Head was the key reserve!
    2)What a horrible signing Francis was. W/out him clogging the roster,when the Rockets made their mid-season trades,then brought in Woods(another candidate for worst of this century),the Rockets could have kept Gerald Green. Doesn't matter what kind of knucklehead he was/is,he couldn't have done any worse than Luther,and if he could have gotten hot for a game or two…

  • Chest Rockwell

    those puma's are fresh to death!!! i never understood why JVG loved Head so much (tee hee) but seriously he didnt waver in his support of the diminutive guard with no real niche. Chuck Hayes is probably one of the best 1-on-1 defenders in the game of basketball currently … i say he can guard any position on the floor in a given situation. Doesnt Chase remind anybody of 'Shaggy' from Scooby Doo?? I get the whole “Hey Bud Lets Party” tired line that Bill and Bull spit out annoyingly too many times per contest, but I cant help but think of the Mystery Van everytime I see him.

  • rahat_huq

    Don't forget that getting Memphis to take Francis' contract off of our hands required us to sacrifice one of the most valuable picks in the draft, #30 (or #31, can't remember.)

    The fact that Luther Head was the key reserve during those years is really all that needs to be said in explanation of the failures of the McGrady-JVG era. The team's results were attributable more largely in part due to CD's incompetence rather than anything on the part of the former two.

  • Stephen

    Re the Knicks,
    As to the tall line-up,don't count on it. Who can shoot 3s of that bunch? This is Mike D'Antoni we're talking about-the guy who talked the Knicks into Gallinari over Brook Lopez. Gallinari starts.
    I wouldn't be too suprised if Douglas sees a lot of minutes at SG in a Barbosa role.
    Am totally shocked the Knicks didn't try to get Anthony Morrow-he'd be perfect off the bench in a D'Antoni system.
    If I had to bet I'd go w/Felton,Walker,Gallinari,Amare and Randolph starting and Douglas,Chandler,Turiaf being the reserves he uses.

  • Stephen

    Hindsight and all,but what really blows is how much better the Rockets could have been if they had handled the 2004 Off-Season better.
    Everyone knew Phoenix was selling the #7 pick. Orlando drafted Varejao,then threw him in on the Gooden trade. Think JVG wouldn't have loved having Iguodala and Varejao on his bench? All it would have taken was a Future First,cash then maybe some more cash and a future Second.
    Oh well.

  • Stephen

    But it could be worse,we could get an endless “Houston,this Bud's for you” after each basket 😉
    Since Shaggy is the prototypical stoner,I'd imagine Bill would be encouraged to stay far away from any such comparisons.(Even tho the Shane as Freddie comparison is fairly apt as well.)

    I kinda want to see what happens when Adelman has to put out a Lowry,Taylor,Lee unit. I'd put the over/under of a player hitting the floor at once per minute.(Between charges,flops,diving for loose balls,bowling over defenders,etc.)

  • Patrick Harrel

    Kelvin Cato???

  • Stephen

    Carmelo Anthony talk is bubbling up a bit.
    Which brings up a huge point I haven't seen addressed anywhere.
    Denver offered him a 3 yr extension,which everyone assumes is the deal Carmelo wants. But he could get an extension for an additional FIVE yrs,and what if that is what he really wants? Would Carmelo wanting max guaranteed money for 5 yrs have an impact on wanting him? Think it would alter Morey's thinking?

  • rahat_huq

    Why do you say its bubbling up? I haven't seen anything new except the CBSsports piece which was basically just Royce's opinion. Was there some new report?

  • Nobody is Better Than Jordan

    Hey man, that place you linked to that's selling those Pumas are also selling counterfeit Jordans and Kobe V's. While I didn't take the time to examine if they were selling any other counterfeit shoes, I know enough about high profile (high demand) Nikes – especially Jordans – that are either not available at all, or simply are not listed at prices that far below MSRP. So, basically, that shoe site shouldn't be a place you'd want to do business with, let alone buy shoes from.

  • Stephen

    That was the piece I was referring to as far as “national” goes.
    I'm prob overreacting based to weekend of perusing various team/fan sites.

  • Doug

    yea that shoe site says we won in '96…

  • Jacob_Mustafa

    Now that, I should have been more thorough about. I knew it was a site with fakes, but I didn't particularly think anyone would actually buy those. Um… I'll fix that link. Thanks.

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