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This was by far the best move I have seen Jordan Hill make in a Rockets uniform. A faceup dribble-spin is elite level for a big. Kenny Thomas and Carl Landry could do it, but they weren’t 6′10. This is exciting. Is Jordan Hill the next Hakeem Olajuwon? No. He’s looked very bad in the post at times, even fumbling passes. The greater point is that these glimpses give hope of what might be yet to come.
Jordan Hill will likely never make an All-Star team. But it should be clear by now to anyone watching that Stromile Swift he is not. He has the two things you can’t teach: physical tools and work ethic. In light of those attributes, these early glimpses of a fine tuned skillset during this infancy stage of his development are incredibly encouraging.
Former UCF star Jermaine Taylor makes first NBA start against the Lakers, scores career-high 15 points for Houston – Knights Notepad – Orlando Sentinel
Former UCF star Jermaine Taylor made his first NBA career start when the Houston Rockets hosted the Los Angeles records. Rockets officials are seeking verification from the Elias Sports Bureau, but Taylor is believed to be the first ex-UCF player to ever start in an NBA game.
The thing I find most interesting about Jermaine Taylor is that he’s pretty much the anti-Moreyball player. Like Billy Beane, Daryl Morey has always seemed to target players who had some flaw so irredeemable that other GM’s overlooked their NBA-level qualities and dismissed them entirely.
But Taylor is exactly the type of guy that Morey avoids. The college star with the prototypical body and athleticism who is good at everything, but not NBA-level at any one thing. Those jack-of-all trade guys are the ones who usually flop.
Taylor’s best quality seems to be his competitive spirit. He’s extremely physical both defensively and offensively, getting very rough with Kobe Bryant at times last night. The shot is weak: he was accurate from ‘3′ but I don’t expect Taylor to ever be known for his shooting; his release is far too slow and carries too high of an arc to get off against coverage. I do think though that he can develop into a penetrating spark off the bench at some point.
My hope is that Taylor continues to see minutes. My personal preference would be that the team continue to sit Martin and rest Scola, giving Taylor, Jordan Hill, and Chase Budinger heavy minutes in these final few games. However, I don’t see this happening.
Free-agent-to-be Amare’ Stoudemire said yesterday he has held a grudge against Tracy McGrady for once blowing him off when Stoudemire was in high school.
Stoudemire, however, claimed it would not be a deal breaker in signing with the Knicks this summer if McGrady is around.
“I’m not a big fan of Tracy McGrady — as a person or as a player,” Stoudemire said.
This was pretty random. Click the link to read the rest of the story, but apparently, according to Stoudemire, McGrady blew him off once when the former was in high school. McGrady denies having any recollection of the event.
Odd. My first thought goes back to ‘04 when McGrady identified Stoudemire as one of the three young superstar big men of whom he was interested in joining (Yao and Jermaine O’Neal being the other two.) If such dislike exists, surprising that Stat didn’t speak up then when his Suns were on the verge of gutting their nucleus for the scoring champ. Then again, perhaps that’s why the Suns suddenly so drastically stripped down their offer?
Not much to take away from this one. In addition to Jordan Hill, Shane Battier, and Jared Jeffries (and I guess David Andersen), Kevin Martin sat this one out. Since it became clear that this season was over, I have been keying in on three things during the games: Trevor Ariza in his new role, the on-court relationship between Kevin Martin and Aaron Brooks, and Jordan Hill. With Martin out, and Ariza forced back into his original role, it was pretty tough to force myself to watch this one, especially since my two favorite players in the league were going head to head on TNT.
The Thunder beat the Rockets for the first time in 14 tries last night, dominating them thoroughly from start to finish. However, overall, I’m not concerned at all by the outcome as we were extremely short-handed, playing without Shane Battier, Jordan Hill, and Jared Jeffries. Hilton Armstrong saw time in the 1st half which should be enough reason to throw this game out from any type of analytical consideration.
Aaron Brooks was scorching last night, going 11-14 from the field, 7-7 from 3, to lead the Rockets with 31. Eddie Winslow carried the Grizzlies with 30, giving Chuck Hayes all he could handle.
With just 17 games remaining, Brooks is by far the Rockets’ most viable award candidate. The Rockets have not won an individual NBA performance award since Steve Francis was the Co-rookie of the Year in 2000, and if Brooks becomes their first-ever Most Improved winner, it would be a breakthrough for a team that has not had an All-Star, player of the month or player of the week selection this season.
Not that it matters, but I have always found this award to be so inaptly named. It’s true that Aaron has improved this year – he’s made huge strides with his interior passing and overall decision making. But the irony at play is that the considerations are being made on the basis of his scoring increase. As is almost always the case for recipients of this award, that increase has for the most part been a function of increased usage/opportunity, not actual improvement, in the literal sense.
I suppose it would be too difficult to objectively evaluate improvement from a league-wide scope. Still, at least change the name to Breakout Player of the Year or something of that ilk.