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The Rockets Daily – July 29, 2013

Golden Oldie – Several outlets are reporting that Marcus Camby will be a Rocket for the veteran’s minimum next season. Camby brings the fourth Defensive Player of the Year Award to Houston’s center rotation, and brings the team’s new average age to 768 years old (give or take).

His last season in New York was a disappointment, and he is one of the most offensively limited players in the league. Fortunately, he knows it.
During his last stop in Houston two years ago he grabbed 22.8 percent of available rebounds–an elite number. He is likely on board as an insurance policy to make sure the defense doesn’t fall apart if either Howard or Asik get injured, and there may not be a player in the league better suited for that role.

What To Expect While You’re Expecting(Note: It’s a long time until the Dwight-led Rockets squeeze out into the light of their first regular season. To fill some of that time, it’s worth taking a look back at some past articles of the travails and triumphs of Dwight that fans should prepare for going forward. This is the fourth entry.) Lately I’ve been re-reading The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons, in which the Sports Guy makes the case for a reworked Hall of Fame: hypothetical Pyramid of the 96 greatest players ever. There was Dwight on the list at no. 78, right after his 6th season in the NBA. A few of Simmons’ thoughts on Dwight:

“Our most important under-thirty center right now, our only “Good God, that guy is a freaking specimen!” big man . . . and if T-Mac and Vince were the most polarizing superstars of the last decade, then Howard already has this decade sewn up.”

This book was published in 2010. It’s uncanny how well that statement holds up.

“If Jordan was consumed by winning, then Howard is consumed by winning people over. He’s too nice a guy. It’s his fatal flaw as a superstar, the same issue that doomed David Robinson until Tim Duncan fell into his lap.”

You could look at this statement a couple of ways. David Robinson never had a teammate as good as James Harden until Duncan came along. On the other hand, James Harden is no Tim Duncan. Also, Simmons is spot-on saying that Howard wants nothing more than to please people, but I think by now he knows that no one will be pleased with anything less than  a championship.

“It’s hard to imagine him getting any better . . . even though he’s only twenty-five years old. Alpha dog pedigree, sidekick mindset. Too bad.”

That last statement came after a breakdown of Howard’s limited touches in Orlando–about half as many as Hakeem, Shaq, Ewing and Robinson commanded in their primes–pointing out that Dwight seemed to be happy with a minimized offensive role. So which Dwight will we see? The Book of Basketball version who just wants to block shots and smile? Or the man who left L.A. because he was sick of D’Antoni’s guard-centered offense? The Rockets don’t need Dwight to be the psychological Alpha dog if Harden is willing to hold on to that role, but is Howard willing to be the best player but not the dominant voice? Will Dwight quarterback the defense but let Harden dictate the offense? Will Chandler Parsons become the heart and voice of the team through sheer charisma, and will the two superstars resent it? I really need to be locked in a room until the season starts.

Texting DwightGrantland’s Shea Serrano has a new series going in which he imagines text conversations with Howard. It’s not as classic as Text Messages To Pop (scroll down), but it has it’s moments. A snippet:

Me: hey now
Dwight: hey-o
Me: i saw that story about Chandler Parsons
Dwight: what’s that now?
Me: the one about him recruiting you
Dwight: oh, right. yeah, that’s the homie. Chandler. The Chandman.
Me: the what?
Dwight: The Chandman. It’s like The Sandman, but I just plugged his name in instead
Me: oh i got it
Dwight: i’m always giving everyone nicknames. i’m really good at it. my friends call me Mr. Nickname.
Me: for real?
Dwight: … no. :( they mostly just call me Dwight. Or sometimes Dwite. have you ever seen that show Naked and Afraid? that’s what i’m watching right now. it’s wild.
Me: how tf did we … dude, i asked you about Chandler Parsons

I only know one thing about the Dwight era: it won’t be boring.

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

(Note: It’s a long time until the Dwight-led Rockets squeeze out into the light of their first regular season. To fill some of that time, it’s worth taking a look back at some past articles of the travails and triumphs of Dwight that fans should prepare for going forward. – See more at: http://www.red94.net/the-rockets-daily-july-26-2013/12962/#more-12962

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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.