The Rockets Daily – August 23, 2013

Big Chocolate Shoulders – CSN Houston has put together a 20-minute special which is posted on the team’s official site all about Dwight’s arrival. Judging by Howard’s suit in the video, the interview was taped the day of his introductory press conference, and he said a lot of things that have been said already, but he brought up a couple of points which I hadn’t heard before:

  •  He said that after only a week of work with Houston’s training staff, his back was feeling better. This would be encouraging, but it really just confirms that his back continues to give him trouble and will be a concern going forward.
  • When asked about the Rockets’ run-and-gun style, Howard said, “I love it, I just need to get in good shape … I think it’s going to be great for me even though I’m 27 and I’ve been around for a while just to add some more youth to my game.” Hold this thought for the next segment.
  • “I have these big chocolate shoulders right here,” Dwight said, looking at the female interviewer with a grin, “and I’m going to put them shoulders to work for this city and this team, and we’re going to move forward.”

I really don’t know what to say right now. Quick, let’s rank something…

RankageESPN’s Summer Forecast has Houston coming in 4th in the Western Conference next season, which sounds about right. Now, remember that thought you’re holding about Houston’s fast pace? Take it out, skip to the 5:08 mark of this video and listen to David Thorpe dishing the wisdom:

If you didn’t take the time to watch the video, Thorpe says,

“I think they have a systemic flaw in that I think Dwight Howard needs to play slow and that Kevin McHale needs to coach fast. I don’t think McHale is a great X’s and O’s guy. I think if he has a super fast system in place he kind of can manage from the sidelines, then he’s fine. I don’t think he’s a very good coach when the game slows down, and I think Dwight needs that.”

My contrarian take is that you need a decent post player to help run an offense when the game slows down, and McHale had nothing close to that to work with last year (unless you count D-Mo, which I don’t because his defense was so atrocious he couldn’t stay on the floor). But I defer to Coach Thorpe on this one, since he has more basketball knowledge in his left bicuspid than I have in my whole head.

If McHale doesn’t have the chops to get Houston’s half-court offense flowing, and if it looks like he might lose his job, the situation would be awkward since his presence was a huge draw for Howard. However, as NBA coaching staffs increasingly head toward specialized assistants as in football, it might be more likely that Morey hires on a new offensive guru as an assistant while McHale continues as head coach/motivator/figurehead.

The Lin Saga – We’ve got more context for Lin’s quotes about his struggles in confidence last season, thanks to SI.com and a video of Lin’s speech on YouTube (start at the 1:08:20 mark).  Although much has been made of Beverley threatening Lin’s starting spot, it looks like Lin’s crisis of confidence really came before Beverley arrived on the team:

“On Dec. 15, 2012, I wrote in my diary: ‘I’m tired and weary and can’t wait for the season to end.’ I went on to write, ‘I haven’t been able to eat or sleep recently. I’m just tossing and turning with anxiety. What if I lose my spot as a starter? What if I have to be the back-up the rest of the season? What happens if my back-ups are actually better than me?’”

Beverley was signed on January 7, and by February, Lin was playing on a different level from the first half of the season. It looks like the issues that were holding him back are in the rearview mirror.

One final note about Lin’s mental toughness that I just stumbled across: two of the top three opponents that Lin averaged the most points against were his former teams–New York (17.5 points) and Golden State (19.5). When Lin has a chip on his shoulder, he’s hard to beat.

Bonus factoid: He really struggled against mediocre Eastern Conference teams: Milwaukee (9.0), Washington (7.5), Detroit (9.5) and Charlotte (6.5) all kept his scoring bottled up. This is either a fluke or evidence that Lin has trouble getting motivated for extremely uninspiring regular season games.

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Total comments: 32
  • Buckko says 11 months ago Jefferson is terrible and plays no D at all.
  • timetodienow1234567 says 11 months ago

    Sac would have gladly have harden a max deal. Evans just isn't as good. Regrading brooks and Garcia, brooks would probably be back in china if we didnt sign him there was not a big market for him at all, Garcia might have gotten a little more money but he wouldn't start anywhere.


    Exactly. Lol. Brooks is no longer a viable NBA player in most GMs minds. I just don't see more than an insurance policy player. And it's sad because he was good not too long ago. And Garcia will get minutes at the backup 2 and 3 spot. He will prob play as much as Delfino did last year. So why not come back?
  • Cooper says 11 months ago Sac would have gladly have harden a max deal. Evans just isn't as good. Regrading brooks and Garcia, brooks would probably be back in china if we didnt sign him there was not a big market for him at all, Garcia might have gotten a little more money but he wouldn't start anywhere.
  • Alituro says 11 months ago

    How could he maximize earning potential riding the pine?

    IDK, ask Gortat, or maybe even Harden.. If Harden had been the starting 2-guard in, let's say, Sacramento, putting up good numbers, do you think it would have resulted in the big payday and fame he enjoyed by riding the pine on a contender like OKC? Would Gortat be a starting center in the league had he came off the bench behind Varejao? How about Tyreke Evans is it possible he would have fared better in a 6th man role on a contender, rather than starting on the Kings all those years? Trevor Ariza was able to deceive us all by playing off the bench for a contender, nobody would have taken a chance on him if he was on another team.

  • rockets best fan says 11 months ago

    How could he maximize earning potential riding the pine?

    I was trying to get Alituro's comment........my bad :lol:

  • Alituro says 11 months ago

    That lack of competitiveness is not prevalent in the NBA. It's different with a Ginobili type because he closes out games as one of the core. I think maybe less than 1% of NBA players would rather be Joel Anthony than Vucecic.

    If that's the case why were players like Brooks and Garcia so easy to sign at vet mins this year? Surely either could have gotten better pay elsewhere and definitely more play time? Garcia could start on a team at the bottom, and Brooks has and can, at least be in the depth charts #2 on a lesser team... Lets face it, all these guys are pretty rich, so the money is usually not an issue, other than big contracts, a ring is the most coveted prize in the league (probably moreso)... I just don't see anyone sacrificing a bonafide chance at the prize simply to be billed as a starter elsewhere... Asik will get more chances at a starting role (he's young), but how many more will he get at a ring?

  • timetodienow1234567 says 11 months ago How could he maximize earning potential riding the pine?
  • rockets best fan says 11 months ago

    That lack of competitiveness is not prevalent in the NBA. It's different with a Ginobili type because he closes out games as one of the core. I think maybe less than 1% of NBA players would rather be Joel Anthony than Vucecic.

    I agree with you personally, but NBA players who want to maximize earning potential may view it differently

  • rockets best fan says 11 months ago

    Their starting FC would be
    PF = Zeller
    C = Asik

    with Jefferson off the bench.

    with the contract Jefferson just signed I doubt he will be on the bench. more likely the unproven rook Zeller will be allowed to ease into the league from the bench.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 11 months ago

    tumblr_me4ugyR7vu1riqizno1_400.gif

    Wasn't really what I meant specifically, only that were I Asik, I'd rather be playing behind Howard on a contender than starting on a team (any) at the bottom of the league..


    That lack of competitiveness is not prevalent in the NBA. It's different with a Ginobili type because he closes out games as one of the core. I think maybe less than 1% of NBA players would rather be Joel Anthony than Vucecic.
  • Alituro says 11 months ago

    tumblr_me4ugyR7vu1riqizno1_400.gif

    Wasn't really what I meant specifically, only that were I Asik, I'd rather be playing behind Howard on a contender than starting on a team (any) at the bottom of the league..

  • timetodienow1234567 says 11 months ago Their starting FC would be
    PF = Zeller
    C = Asik

    with Jefferson off the bench.
  • rockets best fan says 11 months ago

    Zeller.

    I like Zeller, but given the opportunity to land Asik I bet he would see a little more bench time.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 11 months ago Zeller.
  • rockets best fan says 11 months ago

    Lol. Way too slow to play PF.

    it's not like they have someone who would be better.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 11 months ago

    I bet if they got Asik they would move Jefferson to PF


    Lol. Way too slow to play PF.
  • rockets best fan says 11 months ago

    He wouldn't be the starter for the Bobcats. They have Jefferson.

    I bet if they got Asik they would move Jefferson to PF

  • timetodienow1234567 says 11 months ago He wouldn't be the starter for the Bobcats. They have Jefferson.
  • Alituro says 11 months ago

    One thing Thorpe didn't consider is that his statement about McHale playing fast was taken in a vacuum... out of context. The only advantage we had on any team last year was our youth. The biggest disadvantage we had was our lack of experience. In this game they ONLY way to exploit said advantage and negate the disadvantage is to play as fast as possible, both forcing the older, more experienced teams to play harder and get more tired than normal, and also giving your team more possessions to help negate the mistakes caused by youth and inexperience. This is the best way our squad could have been coached. Had he slowed them down, we would have missed the playoffs and McHale would have lost his job after a 30 win season. Is McHale capable of coaching a slower, more structured game? Who knows? He's never been proven to be not able too. As stated before, maybe we add coaching staff to help facilitate the transition to this type of play. Regardless, it's too soon to reasonably and confidently make such a claim.

    On Omer... If you were given the chance to play back-up to the best center in the world on a squad ready to contend and log near 20 minutes per game (for $8million), and were also given the chance to be starting center for the Bobcats... which would you choose? I personally think his stated displeasure (never a direct quote) was an attempt from Morey to see if he could land a big PF fish like LMA, Smith or Love. Omer should have no problem with hanging around the next two years, improving his game while learning from 3 of the best ever, getting paid and possibly collecting a ring or two.. If it doesn't work out for him, he doesn't have to sign the next Rockets offer after 2 more seasons. He's still young enough to cement his own legacy after this go 'round.

  • Steven says 11 months ago It wouldn't surprise me if Dwight averages 25 and 14 this year. With the speed the Rockets play, Dwight will get his touches on the block early in the shot clock, before the other team has their defense fully set. Dwight beats his man down the court catches it in the paint for a dunk. The guys on NBA TV who worked with McHale say, he believes that you run not for yourself but for your teammates. By you running allows passing lanes to open up, defenders paying attention to you opening up driving lanes. Plus if Dwight runs for 32 minutes a night and gets a little fatigued, Asik can step in to give him a rest.
  • Sir Thursday says 11 months ago

    you have to look no further than the team's end of game out of timeout plays to affirm the statement that mchale isn't an x's and o's guy.

    That seems like selective memory - there have been one or two excellent late game out of timeout plays. For example, this one. Now, there have been some poor ones too (especially towards the beginning of the year), but as the season went on I thought he improved.

    ST

  • Rahat Huq says 11 months ago

    you have to look no further than the team's end of game out of timeout plays to affirm the statement that mchale isn't an x's and o's guy.

  • miketheodio says 11 months ago

    you know I was of the belief D-12 was a diva too.....and I still believe he has a little in him, but over the course of time watching him after his decision to come to Houston......I believe a lot of what has been put out on him reallyhad nothing to do with him. I think the scene that took place in Orlando was the organizations fault more than his. players have secret talks with front offices all the time.....if they had a conversation with D-12 and told him it would be private then after the meeting went out and told Stan what D-12 had said then they were at fault not Stan or D-12. we all know the LA mess. so I wouldn't be critical because to me he was just a player looking for the place that he felt would make him happy and now he may have found that

    after chris broussard saying it was 50/50 right before dwight announced his decision, i will be highly skeptical of what the media says from now on. i thought it was just the news media that had an agenda, but apparently, the sports world isn't immune from agendas either.

  • rockets best fan says 11 months ago

    I'm glad we got Dwight. But he will still be a diva. Unless he gets his 20 post ups a game I fully expect him to complain.

    you know I was of the belief D-12 was a diva too.....and I still believe he has a little in him, but over the course of time watching him after his decision to come to Houston......I believe a lot of what has been put out on him reallyhad nothing to do with him. I think the scene that took place in Orlando was the organizations fault more than his. players have secret talks with front offices all the time.....if they had a conversation with D-12 and told him it would be private then after the meeting went out and told Stan what D-12 had said then they were at fault not Stan or D-12. we all know the LA mess. so I wouldn't be critical because to me he was just a player looking for the place that he felt would make him happy and now he may have found that

  • BrentYen says 11 months ago

    I'm glad we got Dwight. But he will still be a diva. Unless he gets his 20 post ups a game I fully expect him to complain.

    That's more than 20% of the total, it is a lot....

  • BrentYen says 11 months ago

    true.......but with Harden and Howard to run the P&R this year I don't see why that can't be our bread and butter

    That will depends on Harden's condition in late game situation. I think he handles the ball to much and it hurts the team. Lin and PB has to get the ball more and Harden need to be fresh for the last 5 possesions.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 11 months ago I'm glad we got Dwight. But he will still be a diva. Unless he gets his 20 post ups a game I fully expect him to complain.
  • rockets best fan says 11 months ago

    But if you remember last season, in critical situations. I think the only play he called was ISO and P&R. Very predictable and easy to defend, that caused ROX a few wins IMHO.

    true.......but with Harden and Howard to run the P&R this year I don't see why that can't be our bread and butter

  • miketheodio says 11 months ago

    i don't think the pace issue will be as big as that guy says. it will slow down with dwight, but not too much. i think that is for the best anyways.

  • BrentYen says 11 months ago

    I agree McHale isn't a good X's and O's coach, but I don't for see that being as big of a problem as this guy seems to think it will be. McHale has some quality coaches on the bench with him.

    I hadn't seen some parts of that video.......was very refreshing :)

    But if you remember last season, in critical situations. I think the only play he called was ISO and P&R. Very predictable and easy to defend, that caused ROX a few wins IMHO.

  • rockets best fan says 11 months ago

    I agree McHale isn't a good X's and O's coach, but I don't for see that being as big of a problem as this guy seems to think it will be. McHale has some quality coaches on the bench with him.

    I hadn't seen some parts of that video.......was very refreshing :)

  • BrentYen says 11 months ago

    The half-court offense was ran more by Harden last year, and I think McHale ocaasionally X&Os some good plays. I feel He runs more Horns in the middle of the season and came bcak to rely on Pinch-post, high pick and roll, and ISO more at the end. With the addition of DH12, that's hope we get more offensive set from McHale.