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Rockets Daily: Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

  • If Carmelo Anthony is the inefficient ball vacuum he’s been called in recent days by Rockets fans not so eager to buy stock in the Melo sweepstakes (yep, that’s what it’s called), is Rockets (and Nets, T-Wolves, Kings, Clippers, Warriors, Globetrotters,Wizards, Orangemen, Bulls and Knicks) fans’ interest in him based solely in a foolhardy Jordan-like adoration for the wing scorer? Can a man not hit 20-foot-fadeaway jumpers without building a mythos these days?  Warriors World‘s Ethan Sherwood Strauss looks at the way Kobe-Bryant-love grew thanks to 81-point-games and ill-advised fadeaways during Bryant’s years as the primary (read: only) option for the Lakers, leaving people to forget all that may have been wrong with both Kobe and those teams: “So what does this have to do with Carmelo Anthony? Well, we obsess over him for many of the same reasons we focus on Bryant. When Melo’s draining shots in the playoffs, the casual fan gets swept up in the drama (How many shots in a row can he hit? Will he score the game winner?). The other facets of the game fade into periphery, blur as we look for the next Anthony bucket. And those memories of off-balance jumpers linger longer than anything from a Denver playoff exit.”
  • Luis Scola cannot stop scoring. Regardless of the defense placed before him, this very slow, very tall fellow will spin, dip and hook his way into buckets; for Argentina, the post craftiness has turned the gold-mdeal-winning Scola, who’s dropped 30 or more in each of his first three games in the FIBA World Championships, a true savior in the absence of Manu Ginobili. The Argentinian Jesus will continue his reign of blessings/terror against the Serbs today.
  • The Houston Rockets have been associated with a great deal of superstars in its short time as an NBA franchise. In this history of the Rockets’ first few years in this league, I was reminded that this team was once coached by Tex Winter and employed the triangle offense (you may have heard of it before). For non-Rocket historians, it delineates some of the more interesting connection between the team and guys like Pat Riley and Rick Barry.
  • In the past five or so years, many coaches coming off of fantastic seasons with great seasons have lost their jobs, usually due to a first-round flameout. Basketball-Reference has made a list of the most successful coaches, based on regular season record, to be fired the following year; the Rockets and Jeff Van Gundy’s somewhat amicable break-up makes the list at five: “A common theme for the coaches on this list is an inability to get out of the first round of the playoffs; in fact, one might be tempted to think they’d have more job security if they hadn’t made the playoffs at all! In Van Gundy’s case, he directed Houston to the playoffs in 3 of his 4 seasons despite losing to injury 126 combined games from his two superstars, Yao Ming & Tracy McGrady. No matter, though: when the Rockets lost a bitter 7-game first-round series to Utah after a 52-win regular season, JVG was relieved of his duties and embarked on a broadcasting career. His successor in Houston, Rick Adelman, managed to coach them to the 2nd round in 2009, but his overall record is only mildly better than Van Gundy’s was.”
  • The Boston Celtics just got a lot better, more fun and crazier, as supremely talented but equally disturbed shooting guard Deltone West returned to the franchise Wednesday with a non-guaranteed deal. The Celtics continue to bet on tempering the volatility of its new acquisitions with the strong camaraderie (UBUNTU!) present in the C’s locker room, but West is not some misguided youth. He’s a grown man with serious mental issues who needs to be treated accordingly; in all earnestness, here’s hoping West finds some stability in that locker room full of egos and BenGay.
  • The Miami Heat will likely be very good next year at three positions, the 2, 3 and 4, while being very bad at the other two, the 1 and 5. Well, the Heat’s comparatively weak (by comparative, I mean not to the other Heat, but compared to any other team’s point guards) point guard position may have already been a question mark on a team replete with them, but that situation may have just gotten worse. As it always is when things have gotten as bad as they possibly can be, it is probably time to call Rafer.
  • For those of you who were blessed enough to watch Tracy McGrady’s 46 minutes as a Houston Rocket last year, I don’t think one of you poor souls wouldn’t have gladly had Ben Gordon filling those minutes. Alas, in summer particularly, reputation precedes all, and McGrady’s is as big as it is tragic. PistonPowered‘s Patrick Hayes ranks McGrady before Gordon on the team’s shooting guard depth chart; while Hayes does admit to having an unreasonable affection towards the lanky, hollowed-out-corpse-of-a-player, he alludes to a “star power” McGrady simply didn’t show in the last few years. As a man with my own personal adoration for the Mac, I’d hate to see his career ending with another grave disappointment.
  • Muslims in the FIBA World Championships, like the Turks and Iranians, are generally not fasting for the holy month of Ramadan, occurring currently, leaving Bethlehem Shoals to conclude that NBA players who did fast during the NBA season were not superior Muslims but perhaps just superhuman (well, Hakeem was obviously the latter): “The takeaway is that, for whatever reason, these Muslims in the NBA chose to fast when they probably could have gotten out of it. Certainly, they found themselves in more of an all-or-nothing situation than the Iranians, who know they’re likely headed home soon. Maybe that intensified their feeling that Ramadan had to be observed; it would be all too easy to write the whole month off. That doesn’t make these NBA players more observant or devout than anyone at the Worlds, but it’s a testament to their faith — and their fitness — that they could keep up in the planet’s top league under these conditions.”

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