Savior – While speaking to about 20,000 people in Taiwan about his faith, Jeremy Lin said, “I was supposed to save Houston basketball.” As the Gospel Herald reports (yes, it feels weird citing a Chinese Christian news service on an NBA blog, but this happens when Lin is on your team), Lin felt the pressure at the start of last season:
Lin became very frustrated and anxious about losing his starting spot on the Rockets – “I became so obsessed with becoming a great basketball player … trying to be Linsanity, being this phenomenon that took the NBA by storm,” he said. “The coaches were losing faith in me, basketball fans were making fun of me,” said Lin, who was called “overrated” and “overpaid” by the media.
Jeremy Lin expressing candid thoughts in Taiwan about the relationship between his faith and his career seems to be something of a tradition now, and his words are a great encouragement, at least to folks who share his faith (full disclosure: I do).
But from a strictly basketball perspective, you can find some loaded stuff in what Lin says. First, it confirms that Lin thought of himself as a franchise player when he arrived–a belief that may or may not have been encouraged by the team during his free agency. You have to wonder what it may have done to the level of trust between Lin and the organization when Harden came on as the new face of the franchise.
Second, Lin’s comments about the coaches seems to confirm that his lack of presence late in games had more to do with Kevin McHale’s confidence in his ability than with his fit next to Harden. Again, this is an issue that could erode trust between Lin and the team. Being named the starting point guard but not being trusted with the ball at the end of the game is a tough situation. In fact, a similar kind of ambiguity from McHale about the starting point guard spot is exactly what led to Kyle Lowry’s trade demand. If Lin’s faith has helped him come to peace with all of that and enables him to play his best, regardless of what kinds of mixed messages he is getting from the team, then Rockets fans of all religions can rejoice. Fortunately, no one is counting on Lin to be the savior anymore.
What’s In a Name? – Zach Lowe’s completely subjective ranking of team mascots for Grantland puts Houston at number 8. It’s hard to strongly agree or disagree because, again, it’s completely subjective. Lowe writes:
The second-highest “inanimate object” on this list, though rockets work with such power, speed, and wonder as to reach into a different category than nets, nuggets, or spurs. If a “thing” can be athletic, inspiring images beyond human flight and achievement, this is the thing. The Space Age motif has allowed Houston’s in-house design team to experiment with all sorts of funky, forward-looking court designs, jersey looks, and logos — including perhaps the most polarizing floor design in NBA history.
Houston has ties to NASA and the space-exploration industry, so the name remains locally relevant even though the Rox are a transplant from San Diego. The lack of an obvious mascot doppelgänger could have been a problem, but the Rockets have made do — first with the bizarrely popular Turbo (just a guy in a nylon suit), and now with Clutch the Bear. Clutch might look soft and jolly, with his round belly and friendly disposition, but he’s not above slamming a cake in the face of some hapless enemy fan or dropping his pants when the occasion calls for it.
Clothes Make The Man – The Rox didn’t fare so well in ESPN’s uniform rankings, which is what passes for NBA news in August. Uni fashionista Paul Lukas ranked Houston’s threads at no. 19:
The stripes on the Rockets’ shorts might have worked back in the era when basketball shorts were actually, you know, short. But with today’s billowy NBA uniforms, those stripes look too swoopy — the effect is almost clownish. Also, the chest lettering feels scratchy and primitive, which doesn’t match the team’s space-age name. Also-also, the “R” logo on the shorts is supposed to look like a rocket blasting off, but it really just looks like dripping paint.
I’m surprised he didn’t weigh in on the increasingly popular McRockets unis. The ketchup-and-mustard digs appear to be emerging as the signature look of the Harden era, and Dwight has been rocking them in his Twitter profile.
Soul Battle – Via Ball Don’t Lie: Steph Curry has recorded his response/remix to James Harden’s Harden Soul song. Does Curry come across as a nice guy with an okay sense of humor? Sure. Is he on Harden’s level of swagger and hilarity? Child, please.
See for yourself…
He lost me when they put a big red negatory sign over the shrimpfest video. Who doesn’t love a shrimpfest?? A nice North Carolina boy goes to the Bay Area and all of his values get thrown out of whack. Typical.
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