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@  majik19 : (13 October 2015 - 09:09 PM) Apparently we claimed Arsalan Kazemi off waivers from the Hawks today... yet another undersized (6'7") power forward for Morey's cupboard.
@  Mario Peña : (10 October 2015 - 01:12 PM) If your part if the Red94 Fantasy Basketball League check the thread to vote for the date and time for the draft event. Thanks y'all!
@  jorgeaam : (07 October 2015 - 08:47 PM) Guys we need 1 more owner for the Red94 fantasy league, if interested please comment on the post in the fantasy basketball thread
@  slick shoes : (07 October 2015 - 06:50 PM) Kobe ranked one spot higher than Ariza? Is this based on legacy or...??
@  slick shoes : (07 October 2015 - 04:13 PM) It was hard to keep up with both the Astros and Rockets at the same time. Should be interesting on Thursday with the Texans and Astros on simultaneously.
@  Mario Peña : (07 October 2015 - 04:09 PM) It was fun to have the Rockets on last night! Right now I'm watching the Celtics versus Milan and Alessandro Gentile is impressive.
@  jorgeaam : (06 October 2015 - 07:47 PM) Well, thinking twice about it, I'd rather have him score less and have the team as a whole do better. Lawson should take a lot of his load off
@  jorgeaam : (06 October 2015 - 07:47 PM) Loving that, hope he hits 30 PPG this year
@  thejohnnygold : (06 October 2015 - 06:15 PM) Someone is feeling confident :) : LINK
@  jorgeaam : (06 October 2015 - 05:54 PM) 10 Teams done, will need 2 more
@  Mario Peña : (06 October 2015 - 02:35 PM) Alright guys, if anyone is interested in joining the Red94 fantasy basketball league we could use one more player to get us to 10 teams (or three to get us to 12 teams). Just check the thread in the Fantasy Basketball forum. Thanks!
@  thejohnnygold : (05 October 2015 - 06:23 PM) I use leaguepass here in Austin with no problems...
@  skip 2 my lou : (05 October 2015 - 03:14 PM) Hey fellas, I'm a rocket fan but I live in the heart of Dallas. Does anybody know if I buy NBA Leaguepass if it's too close to be subject to blackouts?
@  Losthief : (02 October 2015 - 02:24 AM) tks jg
@  thejohnnygold : (29 September 2015 - 05:16 AM) FYI, it was media day today. Interviews are up at NBA.com
@  slick shoes : (23 September 2015 - 06:37 PM) kind of late in the day but NBATV is broadcasting classis Rockets games all day today.
@  SadLakerFan : (16 September 2015 - 04:37 AM) Man, as a Laker fan, I'm learning how little you care about the off season when your team sucks. Anyway, a quick moment to remember Moses. Still remember watching the 81 team as a kid - losing record, NBA Finals. I would have cried w/joy if they could have beaten the Celtics.
@  jorgeaam : (15 September 2015 - 08:30 PM) http://bleacherrepor...ist-after-crash
@  jorgeaam : (15 September 2015 - 08:30 PM) So to celebrate his new contract, Montrezl Harrell saved someone's life on monday
@  thejohnnygold : (14 September 2015 - 04:36 PM) A good article from Blinebury talking about when Hakeem and Moses used to play in the park. LINK

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Golden State Warriors 98, Houston Rockets 87: Narrative is a funny thing; I don't want Rondo anymore


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#1 Red94

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    Posted 09 November 2014 - 03:39 PM

    New post: Golden State Warriors 98, Houston Rockets 87: Narrative is a funny thing; I don't want Rondo anymore
    By: Rahat Huq

    Initially, a preliminary matter.  After the Houston Rockets thoroughly disposed of the defending champion Spurs, the game was largely considered a throwaway, and not a validation of the Rockets' abilities.  After all, the Spurs had rested starting big men Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter, and super-sub Manu Ginobili; they had waived the white flag before tipoff had even happened, the story went.  Predictably, that similar rationale isn't being applied to last night in a game that saw Houston go to war without 3/5 of its starting lineup.  A quick perusal of my timeline, and some headlines, unearthed the type of slobbering over the Warriors that I had expected.  Forget that it took Golden State all of 45 minutes to separate from this severely undermanned Rockets bunch - the media darling Warriors are the league's best team.  At the very most, there are mentions of Howard's absence, but certainly nothing of both Beverley and Jones being gone too, and certainly nothing approaching "throwaway" status similar to Thursday night's dismissals of Houston's win in similar situations.  That's fine.  People already loved the Warriors anyway and they just needed affirmation for their prior beliefs.  It's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.  But it's interesting to note how funny a thing narrative can be, at the national level.

    For as well as Houston has played this season, last night was the most impressed I've been by the Rockets all season.  It wasn't pretty, but my God, did they ever fight.  They went into a game in which they had no business being close, and held the lead for much of the duration, staying close until late in the fourth.  They had no rim protection to speak of and were starting, essentially, three rookies, with a forty-year-old coming off the bench.  They fought the Warriors until they just had nothing left in them, notching their first loss of the year.  Had Dwight Howard been present to gobble up the rebounds that, particularly in one stretch during the third, got away, this could have been a blowout in the Red direction.  Oh, I'm sorry, excuse me, I can't say that for sure: Golden State just played down to their competition and would have tried harder had Howard suited up.

    The box score was ugly, with Houston determined to break the league record in three-point attempts.  That was their only hope, really, in a game like this.  Kostas Big Papa P was particularly egregious, at points being left all alone by Warriors defenders.  Papa started at the '4', a home in the lineup I predicted just nights ago, but rather to close games, not start them.  Even with Terrence Jones available, barring a major trade, Papa will be the power forward in the team's fourth quarter units, by some point in the season: he's just far smarter and more reliable than the former, and you can tell Kevin McHale is already in love with him.  But he must start knocking down his shots.  If defenses aren't respecting him on the perimeter, he won't get an opportunity for the drives that have allowed him to set up his teammates so beautifully.  That being said, did you ever in your wildest dreams see Papa being this good, this fast?  I didn't.

    (As a side observation, what is it with left handed shooters having no arc on their shot?  Both Motiejunas and Papa K have little to no arc on their line-drive threeballs, making for a very difficult attempt).

    Donatas Motiejunas showed up in a big way last night, tallying 16 points and 8 boards, and knocking down two huge triples when the Rockets really needed them.  I see everyone crapping all over Motiejunas, and it makes me wonder if people are watching the games.  Sure, he's been horrible offensively, before last night.  But given that he's been that bad on offense, do you really think the guy would still be in the rotation, unless there was something else he was doing that McHale was appreciative of?  From my vantage point, Motiejunas has played absolutely superb defense this season, something which has carried over from last year.  Next game, watch Motiejunas closely on defense.  He almost never misses a rotation, always sliding his feet quickly to put himself in front of a driving guard.  This shouldn't be underestimated.  There's few things coaches hate more--and which fans understand less--than the inabilities of young big men to play help defense.  It's why Stromile Swift rode the pine for all of his lone year in Houston, despite clamoring from fans that he play, due to the eye test.  Stop just looking at rebounds and blocks as wholly representative of defense.  To be sure, if Motiejunas keeps shooting 20% from the field, he's not going to be on this team much longer.  No matter how good a defender you are, you can't be an absolute zero on offense; even Bruce Bowen had to develop a reliable corner '3'.  And Motiejunas, while good, certainly isn't elite.  But can we please just stop acting like the guy is complete trash?  I'm seeing tweets in my timeline saying things like he's the worst player in the entire NBA.  I don't get that at all.

    Last of all, Isaiah Canaan.  I am very serious about what I am about to say: Isaiah Canaan is this team's future at starting point guard and I'll raise that even one further and say that from what I've seen in these past seven games, I no longer want to acquire Rajon Rondo.  Part of that has to do with Canaan himself, part of it doesn't.  Canaan finished with 21, outplaying Steph Curry through early parts of the game, fearlessly carrying the team on his back in what was, for all intents and purposes, like one of the first games of his professional career.  I know there are those who will read this as a knee-jerk, or dismiss it as hyperbole, but I'm dead serious: this guy is the future at point guard for this team.  I've seen enough already now to determine that.  He's a rookie basically, playing in his seventh game, and is already exhibiting all of the skills you want in a point guard next to James Harden.  It was his seventh game!  (I don't count last year).  He can do everything, basically.  He can get to the rim at will, he finds teammates at impossible angles, and can even shoot threes off of his own dribble.  There was one play in particular where he stared his man down and walked into a 20+ foot bomb, Tracy McGrady style.  The guy is absolutely fearless, and his passing in particular has been eye-opening.  Aaron Brooks is a good comparison, but Brooks was never this good of a passer.  (Brooks struggled mightily with interior passing).  While Canaan only notched 1 assist in the box score, there were countless times last night where he was able to dribble into the teeth of the defense and kick out to a teammate on the perimeter.  Most encouraging of all, Canaan's defense seems to have come a long way from last season, an area where he will have to prove to at least be adequate to be considered the savior at the position.

    http://i1283.photobucket.com/albums/a559/RedNinetyFour/Cannonball_zpsybe1wucd.gif

    If Danny Ainge called tomorrow and said "I'll give you Rondo for the Pelicans pick and Big Papa," I would say "no thanks" and hang up.  I was already leaning heavily in that direction before last night, but last night cemented it.  Why?  Because a big part of why I wanted Rondo, if you recall from our summer podcasts, was because I thought this team needed accountability, a new leader, and a cultural change.  They don't need that anymore.  They changed their culture, seemingly overnight, and Harden is the unequivocal leader.  They don't need anything that could upset the dynamics and hierarchy of this team.  Changing point guards constitutes a paradigm shift in a team's construction, particularly in the case of an individual as strong-headed as Rajon Rondo.  It's not something this Houston team any longer needs or should be flirting with.  It is true, yes, that Rondo could spoon-feed Dwight Howard far more easier baskets than he is currently getting.  But I do not think that is enough to merit the risk of turmoil, seeing how good this Houston team has already become.

    Having said all of that, I feel this team still needs an upgrade at power forward.  Adding someone like a Paul Millsap doesn't change team dynamics, unlike Rondo, because he just represents an upgrade, not a shift in hierarchy or philosophy.  If you get someone like Millsap, you just plug him in to do exactly what you are asking of Terrence Jones, but to have him do it better.  With Rondo, you are changing the chemical balance of your team.  Remember in high school, or maybe junior high, when they'd teach you about the difference between a physical change and a chemical change, and a physical change was just something where you cut a piece of paper, and the paper is just different in form, but it is still the same thing, whereas with a chemical change, you get an entirely new substance?  That's the distinction between trading for a new power forward and trading for a new point guard.  I can't believe that was the analogy I just used, but there you have it.  The Houston Rockets are not in need of a chemical change.


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    #2 thejohnnygold

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    Posted 09 November 2014 - 04:26 PM

    I'm glad that, outside of a few (not-so-unexpected) voices in the shoutbox, that people saw, and appreciated, last night's game for what it was: a great effort.  I know the W's are media darlings, but they are also legit WCF's contenders.  With Bogut healthy, Kerr's influence, and their young core's development--wow, they are very good.

     

    Which is why I was all the more impressed with our guys in red.  They played their butts off.

     

    Perhaps the strangest thing was hearing Clyde Drexler provide useful commentary last night.  He called it when GS realized Houston wasn't going to test Bogut anymore and their defense locked down the perimeter.  We were done after that.

     

    Canaan Truth-ers are growing in numbers.   B)


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    #3 marbony81110

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    Posted 09 November 2014 - 04:44 PM

    I know what you mean about the headlines and comments. I left a comment on an ESPN message board a few hours before the game started that stated..."I guarantee the headlines and comments will barely mention, if not, ignore Houston missing 3 starters when they lose". Once I looked at the headlines and comments this morning I went back to message board just to say..."Called it!". I was sure the Rockets would end up losing, but just didn't know by what margin. Bottom line, the Rockets did not play a good offensive game. Terry, D.Mo, and Canaan were the only ones playing well. Hardin, Ariza, Papa were way off.

    What impressed me was the defensive effort, even with the Warriors finally going inside the Rockets were still there until the last few minutes. I know Curry was happy Bev was not playing. These Rockets are serious.

    I have never thought or wanted the Rockets to acquire Rondo because you need to at least be a shooting threat on this team. He would be like Ish Smith in that category. I know Rondo is a much better player, but he just wouldn't fit with this team. I have always been high on Canaan and Daniels. I thought Daniels should have had a bit more playing time after so many players were struggling with their shots, but I'm sure there had to have been some reason he didn't play more.

    D.Mo did good, but good god man..that is one game out of so many no shows for him. It's great that he moves his feet and never misses a rotation. That's great, but for such a tall and relatively big guy he is a horrible rebounder and a fairly nonphysical player. If Black was D.Mo's height a lot of the rebounds would have went to Houston. Simply put, they need a PF. At least a reliable one off the bench after T.Jones. I am confident that D.Mo will be gone by the trade deadline. 


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    #4 Droogs

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      Posted 09 November 2014 - 04:55 PM

      With how the national media is if the Rockets win by double digits the Warriors were off, if it's single digits then they shouldn't have let them get close, if it's a game winning shot they got lucky, and if it's a loss they aren't good enough. It amazes me that people don't really pay attention to the team and just write them off as having bad defense even though all evidence points the other direction. What I personally am happy about is the Rockets would have won with Dwight and the game proves that what we need is a starting pf who is better than tjones on defense but doesn't give up much when it comes to scoring I.e. Millsap. They also need a backup center who can play inside defense and is a good enough player scoring inside to be watched. Those two things would make this team a real threat as contenders. I trust Morey knows what he's doing a new will solve at least one of those problems by the deadline.
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      #5 Johnny Rocket

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        Posted 09 November 2014 - 05:17 PM

        The key thing to realize the about "The Narrative" is that it doesn't matter.  What does matter is that the Rox are likely to be 9-1 after this week despite multiple injuries and road-heavy schedule.


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        #6 Red94

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          Posted 09 November 2014 - 05:42 PM

          Zach Lowe on Twitter seems to have taken exception to my discussion of the narrative, saying I should do more research before making my claims.  I didn't want to cite specific instances and throw people under the bus (aside from TNT, because that's universal), but I stand by what I said.  By and large, there has not been anything remotely resembling a uniform reaction to GSW's win over Houston with Houston's win over San Antonio.  The circumstances, injury-wise, were exactly identical.  In the narrative, GSW, at the kindest (on most accounts) "beat an undermanned Rockets team."  Following HOU's win over San Antonio, the story was just that HOU won a throwaway against a Spurs team that just didn't care.  

           

          Whatever.  It's not important in the grander scheme of things.  But it's interesting to me, and an interesting subplot to the team's season, in light of how unliked they are as a whole.  Look no further than the comments in the 'Blogtable' article, about Harden.  

           

          I'm damn proud of how this team played last night and has played this season.  Last night only heightened my confidence in what they can do.  


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          #7 NorEastern

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            Posted 09 November 2014 - 07:41 PM

            I would like to commend you on your excellent observation that most fans do not watch players on defense. It is difficult to do because we all tend to follow the ball. I spent years practicing it.

             

            My eye test for the last year has told me that D-Mos defensive rotations are near flawless, and he closes out on shooters as quickly as any seven footer in the game. Today I was running some queries into players and stumbled onto this from NBA.com. It is called a defensive dashboard. Just for kicks and grins I ran some comparison's between big mens defensive performance. The last column, DFG% is the most important. Using SportsVU it measures the defensive performance against specific offensive players. Thus if D-Mo played defense against Bogut it measures D-Mo's performance against Bogut and compares it to how every other player performed against Bogut. Negative numbers in this column are very very good. While comparing D-Mo to great defensive players may not be completely apples to apples, it gives us an idea about D-Mo's defensive play.

             

            Dwight Howard

             

            Marc Gasol

             

            D-Mo

             


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            #8 Steven

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              Posted 09 November 2014 - 07:54 PM

              Welcome to the Canaan-Truther bandwagon Rahat.

              Funny how a year ago certain people (well just me) were bashed over the head for even mentioning their opinion that a certain rookie PG was better then a certain backup PG. Would anyone but the most diehard LOF trade Canaan for Lin today?

              Totally agree about the narrative that the national media always spew about Houston. It's not just the sports media, it's the news ones as well with their hate for the #1 energy market in the world.

              Mark Jackson will be proven to be a better coach then Steve Kerr.
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              #9 NorEastern

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                Posted 09 November 2014 - 08:00 PM

                I am glad to see you coming around Mr. Huq to the viewpoint that Rondo would not be good for the Rockets. I have held that opinion for a long time. He will be terribly expensive as far as assets and salary to obtain. Rondo also seems to need a certain type of player surrounding him at several positions. Harden is the antithesis of the type of player that Rondo needs. And who is more dangerous with the rock in their hands, Rondo or Harden? There is only one correct answer to that question. Rondo would by necessity take the ball out of Harden's hands. And that would have always been a bad thing for the Rockets team.


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                #10 redfaithful

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                Posted 09 November 2014 - 10:25 PM

                Even after a 10-42 night, there are still 4(!) Rockets in the top 20 for 3P% in the league: http://espn.go.com/n..._/stat/3-points


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                #11 08huangj

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                  Posted 10 November 2014 - 08:29 AM

                  I agree with most of the article, but immensely disagree about the Rondo trade. If you can get Papa and the Pelicans pick for a superstar, I'd agree with absolutely no hesitation. While this trade would ruin some of the 3/4 depth and the development of Canaan and Beverley(I'm not confident that the latter can do more than what he's giving us right now), you're getting a third star in return. That's exactly what Morey has wanted for the past summer.

                   

                  Although I admit that I'd rather have Millsap, you're not gonna get him for a lower price than Papa and the pick. The pick is also an non-guaranteed one, and I'm confident that the Hawks will make the playoffs. Rondo is definitely the better player. (Also, I would rather trade Jones instead of Papa in the Millsap situation.)


                  Edited by 08huangj, 10 November 2014 - 08:31 AM.

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                  #12 Red94

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                    Posted 10 November 2014 - 12:31 PM

                    Rondo on this team would have the potential to raise them to frightening levels.  But is it worth the risk?

                     

                    I initially wanted him because I thought this would be a middle of the pack playoff team.  We needed to swing for the fences, I thought, because we weren't good enough as constructed.

                     

                    But so far, this team has looked vastly better than many, including myself, had thought.  More pertinently, they are already playing with the intensity I thought Rondo would bring.

                     

                    Why risk it?


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                    #13 Alituro

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                      Posted 10 November 2014 - 02:37 PM

                      I loved watching Canaan in this game. He's a little underheight, but makes up for it with his bulk and strength. He reminds me of Lowry when we first got him. I think the sample size is too small to make an accurate assessment if his D can compare to Lowry's, but I think the rest of the aspects we've seen, we can say that the voracity on his drives to the hoop, his stellar passing and ball protection definitely all compare. I still think that even while possibly superior to Beverley's, his talents would best serve us coming off the bench, however with a stark elevation in minutes. I just don't think we are in dire need of another playmaker in the starting unit. Beverley is still protecting the ball, playing good D and is hitting his corner 3s. Harden needs to continue to be the primary playmaker of the starting unit especially if we want him to vault to the front of MVP discussions. If you move Beverley to the second unit then you won't be maximizing our offensive potency for the full 48.

                       

                      D-Mo's D numbers are striking! Definitely a compelling case for keeping him around. I guess that's what training with Asik for a couple years gets you.


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