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The Rockets Daily – August 1, 2013

Six Degrees of Dwight Howard – You need to look at this chart by Rob Mahoney from SI’s The Point Forward right now. Have you looked at it? Good. That’s a visualization of all the ways Dwight Howard’s free agency impacted teams throughout the NBA, and it’s pretty incredible–17 teams made roster decisions on 55 players based on “The Indecision.” A few of my favorite takeaways:

1. Lakers->Desperation MLE Signing->Chris Kaman->Not Great

2. Mavericks->Plan B->Monta Ellis, Samuel Dalembert, Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington

3. Rockets->Salary Dump->Marcus Morris->Suns->Markieff Morris->Pretty Stoked

4. Lakers->Amnestied to save on luxury tax->Metta World Peace->Second Name Change.

 C’mon, ManAccording to KATU in Portland, Terrence Jones has been charged with misdemeanor harassment after a police sergeant said he stomped on and yelled at a homeless man. He has pleaded not guilty. This is just heart-breaking all-around. If the allegations are true, it’s a case of one of the most fortunate people in the country mistreating one of the least fortunate. Even if they are not, Jones suffers the shame of coming back to his city and having his hometown hero image reduced to a mugshot on the local news. No one wins.

The Pitch – Not-too-bold prediction: we’re going to hear about 100 versions of what was actually said to Dwight in L.A.’s pitch meeting over the next 10 years. This week, Steve Nash told Grantland’s Zach Lowe his side of the story. Sort of.

So, was there, like, a protocol? Did you guys huddle up, decide the order of speakers, prepare remarks, that kind of thing?

We had a plan. First, Dwight met with the business side — Time Warner, the Lakers’ foundation. I don’t know if I’m allowed to give all these details, but it was kind of a pitch for all his off-the-court potential. The second part was Mike, Kobe, myself, Mitch, Jim, and Tim Harris, the president, and we gave him more of the basketball pitch.

A lot has been made of what Kobe said in that meeting. What did you say?

I just said, number one, that I’m really, really disappointed in the season, and I wanted another shot at it. And that we should come back and right the ship, so to speak. Hopefully I didn’t use so many clichés [Laughs.] And my second point to him was that, when you look back on the career, and you can say you played for the Lakers for eight or 10 years, that’s an incredible opportunity. If I were 27, in the prime of my career, there wouldn’t even be another consideration. It would be the no. 1 place you could play.

Did Kobe actually use the word “teach” in his speech to Dwight? As in, “I’ll teach you how to win”?

He might have. I can’t remember, to be honest with you, in terms of word-for-word.

Also, for those who think Dwight Howard has to have a stretch four with him at all times, Nash said this about running D’Antoni’s offense last season with Dwight on the team:

We don’t have the shooters to really space the floor. Pau and Dwight would have been … an interesting mix.

I get the feeling that “interesting” is being used as a euphemism here.

Rambling ManBill Simmons finished up his two-part novel column on free agency, and this half is devoid of depressing predictions for Dwight Howard or tantalizing what-if’s about Chris Paul. But there were a couple more pot shots at Dwight:

One of the funniest exchanges goes to the funniest moment of the month: After Sam Amick reported that Dwight had picked Houston, an hour or so passed, then Chris Broussard reported that Dwight was still 50/50 … and everyone KILLED Dwight on Twitter for two solid hours until Dwight’s agent set the record straight (that poor Dwight had never wavered and really had picked Houston).

What does it say about Dwight’s behavior these past two years that an erroneous report led to Dwight getting unfairly raked over the coals, only nobody felt bad when the real story came out? Who’s up for another swing at the Dwight Howard Piñata? Step right up! Make your 140-character joke about Dwight Howard being wishy-washy! Step right up! I thoroughly enjoyed “The Indecision.”

The Sports Guy has his guys. Daryl Morey? One of the guys. Dwight Howard? Not so much. Also, he’s totally a fan of one potential Asik trade:

Who else is enjoying a world in which Omer Asik’s trade demands get tweeted immediately by multiple reporters? We all know what the right outcome is here: Adam Silver needs to step in and say, “Look, New Orleans, you already screwed up your team — just trade Ryan Anderson for Asik and Patrick Beverley so Harden, Anderson and Chandler Parsons can bomb wide-open 3s for 100 games. That’s what everyone wants. We already saved your asses with the Chris Paul veto — you owe us.”

Personally, I think adding Beverley is too steep a price for Ryan Anderson. I may be overvaluing Asik, but what’s harder to find, shooters who can’t defend anyone or a top-5 defensive center? If the Rockets trade Omer at all, they need to wait until they can fleece somebody. Morey will probably hang on until February, when Riggin’ for Wiggins gets serious and the cold, salty smell of desperation fills the air.

Hope – The Dream just posted a video of his work with Tyson Chandler, which got me to thinking thoughts about Dwight…

My first thought is that, while Howard’s post game is frequently criticized, it is on an entirely different level from Chandler, who is still an effective offensive player (career-high 18.88 PER last year). While Howard looks awkward performing some more complex post moves, in this video, Hakeem is teaching rudimentary stuff that he basically takes for granted in a workout with Howard.

My second thought springs from looking at Chandler’s PER over the years. From ’07-’08 to ‘o9-’10, Chandler’s PER declined from 17.46 to 13.44 to 12.58. Then in ’10-’11, he headed to Dallas, posted an 18.45 with stellar defense, and won a championship. The first three years of that stretch is eerily similar to Dwight’s career. He played well in NOLA until he was hit with injuries, then he went to Charlotte where the combination of injury and team dysfunction led to his second-worst season ever.

So next time you’re worried about Dwight, just remember that the second-best player on the 2011 champions was coming off one of his lousiest seasons with a different team.

Got any sweet links or suggestions? Email them to jeby901@gmail.com or message @EbyNews on Twitter.

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About the author: John Eby got on the Rockets bandwagon in 1994 and never got off. He is a public relations guy and recovering TV journalist living in South Carolina.

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