Hell Hath No Fury - Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban still hasn’t gotten over being scorned by Dwight Howard in free agency. From the worldwide leader:
“Obviously, he made a mistake in judgment,” Cuban said Thursday, a little more than 24 hours before the Mavericks play Howard’s Rockets in Houston. “Do I blame him? No, that’s what young kids do. They make mistakes in judgment.”
Cuban goes on to argue that players should choose good franchises rather than good teammates, which presents a fascinating chicken-egg question. Franchises are great when they have great players. If a franchise doesn’t currently have good players, then are they really any good? How long does a franchise remain a “good franchise” after they no longer have good players?
Cuban’s position comes across a lot like the Lakers’, which is to say that a team’s past success should excuse its current state and make it an attractive landing spot for free agents. That’s a hard case to make with a new owner (Los Angeles), a new GM (Dallas), or an aging roster (both).
Optimism- On the other hand, Jeff Van Gundy. The former Rockets coach has been a frequent applauder of Rockets management and teams since being fired in 2007, and this year is no different. Via Clutchfans:h
“I love the Rockets (this year),” said Van Gundy. “I think the Rockets will come out and play in the Finals and I think the Rockets will win the championship.”
This brought out pure shock from the show hosts, both of whom quickly asked for clarification.
“I think they’re going to win it (all),” said Van Gundy. “I think (Miami) is great, but I really like Houston’s makeup.”
Van Gundy has been rating Houston higher than many other pundits for years, even leading our editor-in-chief to question the sincerity of his Rockets predictions back in 2010. Whatever feelings JVG has towards the franchise way down in the depths of his heart, he is always a sunbeam of optimism for Rockets fans at this time of year.
Injury Update – According to the team’s site, Patrick Beverley (ribs) and James Harden (wrist, back) sat out of Thursday’s practice. Both are likely a game-time decision Friday night.
The Dirk Test – When asked at Thursday’s practice about how the Howsik/Asward frontcourt would match up with Dirk Nowitzki, McHale answered, “It’s a great test for us because he’s as good as it gets at at that spot, and you know, is a great player. He and Monta Ellis have a little two-man game going and we’re going to have to be able to, you know, we’re going to have to be on our–we’ll have to be playing great defense to be able to guard that.”
He expressed great confidence in Howard’s ability to guard Dirk (physically, is there any player better suited to the task?). If the Rockets can perform well defensively against Dallas, then any questions about how Howsik/Asward can play against stretch fours should be put to rest. Their overall offensive viability, however, is another issue entirely.
Marketability Watch: Dwight Howard – Now that “Dwightmare” is over, the big man is back to doing exactly the kind of endorsement you would expect: a CGI kids movie about turkeys.
Safe stuff here for Dwight. No fart jokes. No awkward routines. Just some pun humor for a kids movie. The film might be a critical flop, but at least Dwight is back to doing pleasant basketball-star stuff instead of a bunch of somber sit-down interviews with Stephen A. Smith. It’s not Lebron’s “What Should I Do?” but it’s a start.
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