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@  slick shoes : (09 May 2016 - 08:13 PM) ...and we've got the great Kenny Smith coming in tomorrow.....
@  DenverRocket : (09 May 2016 - 05:50 PM) Apparently Blatt is interviewing today. Joerger close to signing up with Kings
@  majik19 : (07 May 2016 - 05:43 PM) um.. Dave Joerger anyone?
@  majik19 : (05 May 2016 - 04:25 PM) I was just about to ask about Vogel. But can he take us to the next level?
@  slick shoes : (05 May 2016 - 03:04 PM) Vogel is available. We need to snatch him up asap.
@  majik19 : (05 May 2016 - 02:59 PM) I also find it funny that McHale said "no thanks" to the Kings job.
@  slick shoes : (04 May 2016 - 03:07 PM) I'm really enjoying the fact that we have only interviewed one coaching prospect and he would rather coach the 2nd worst team in the NBA than us.
@  thenit : (28 April 2016 - 06:27 PM) Harden is the best offensive player but the best overall was Klay last night
@  majik19 : (28 April 2016 - 04:25 AM) klay thompson is the best player on the floor. hard to win when Harden isn't the best.
@  majik19 : (28 April 2016 - 04:19 AM) GS is better at hitting bad/covered shots than anyone on our team is at hitting open shots.
@  majik19 : (28 April 2016 - 04:16 AM) that was embarassing. 4 offensive rebounds. 2 missed 3s by Ariza and 2 missed 3s by Beverley.
@  Cooper : (28 April 2016 - 03:24 AM) this team is depressing
@  majik19 : (28 April 2016 - 03:01 AM) Ariza is a complete negative on the floor. he can't hit a shot or fight through/around a screen to save his life
@  majik19 : (28 April 2016 - 02:54 AM) everyone but james harden is terrible right now
@  thejohnnygold : (27 April 2016 - 08:49 PM) I think Walton is going to be a solid hire for somebody. I wouldn't mind if it were for us.
@  slick shoes : (27 April 2016 - 06:15 PM) I'd like to see them take it full circle and hire Walton. I don't know if he's the right buy for their young core currently, but maybe 2-3 years from now.
@  thejohnnygold : (27 April 2016 - 05:24 PM) Knowing LA, they will do something that leaves us all scratching our heads.
@  slick shoes : (27 April 2016 - 04:56 PM) While I do favor JVG, I hope that we also kick the tires on a few other guys as well.
@  thejohnnygold : (27 April 2016 - 01:34 PM) If you mean JVG--no, I'm not worried. :)
@  slick shoes : (27 April 2016 - 12:32 PM) Is it just me or is the Lakers firing Scott a bit worrisome for our coaching search?

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Sort of a Houston Rockets playoffs preview, but more of a wrap up of thoughts


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#1 Red94

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    Posted 17 April 2015 - 01:16 AM

    New post: Sort of a Houston Rockets playoffs preview, but more of a wrap up of thoughts
    By: Rahat Huq

    • I wrote this weekend that the Houston Rockets had "collapsed", squandering a chance at what would have been the franchise's first division title in twenty years with back to back losses to the San Antonio Spurs.  Oops.  As we know, the team took care of business to close out the year, getting a bit of help in the form of good luck in some other outcomes, and now, they've reclaimed the #2 seed.  Yes, in terms of appraisal, the second seed means no different than the sixth, and the only implications are in playoff positioning.  But there's just a good feeling about the whole thing, at least for someone like me who has been following this team for so very long.  Relatively speaking, this franchise has been mediocre for the better part of two decades, with nothing to really hang its hat on.  I don't know if it has any cumulative effect, but there has to be some value to good feelings, right?
    • Of course, the real implications are on the court where the Rockets can now avoid the Warriors for the longest duration possible.  Here's a thought exercise I mulled over for the week before things became final: if the probability of defeating the Blazers was marginally better than the probability of beating the Mavericks, but the probability of beating the Spurs/Clippers was significantly higher than beating the Warriors, which route was overall more preferable?  I think the way things played out was the best case scenario, personally.  In terms of carryover repute entering the next season, there's a pretty big distinction between making the Western Conference Finals and making the second round.  If you make the second round, nobody really cares; if you make the conference Finals, you're thrust into the upper-echelon.  Yeah, maybe it doesn't matter what the media thinks, but it's fun to get praise, right?  There's also the theory that the team comes back more focused and driven.
    • I expect the Rockets to win this series, maybe even in  five games, but I don't know if it's wise to just count the Mavericks out completely, like some of you have.  They can be a dangerous squad and are still guided by the same core that pushed San Antonio to the brink last season.  And Carlisle over McHale might be the biggest advantage in this series, though I know some of you will take issue with that statement.  But ultimately, the Rockets will win this series because they have the sixth best defense in the league, and good defense is the determinant with lowest variance.  Dallas, on the other hand, is down at 18th in the league, and their offense has fallen significantly from its historic levels before the Rondo trade.
    • The Rockets closed the year just outside of the top-10 in offense, sitting at 12th, and it can be argued both ways whether the loss of Dwight Howard would have pushed that trend positively.
    • I know injuries are a part of the game, but man, it's really a shame that Motiejunas had to go down for the year, especially with how he had been playing for the better part of the season.  No one will even remember or even care, but it's a huge loss that cannot be overlooked.  With a healthy Motiejunas, Houston had, I think even objectively speaking, the best frontcourt rotation in basketball, with Terrence Jones coming into his own upon his own return.  Instead, the team has Joey Dorsey absorbing those same minutes once reserved for Motiejunas, the former a man who breeds new meaning to the term incompetence.  It hurts man, it hurts.  I know the rotation would've been shortened anyway, to where it would have been tough to find minutes for all four of those guys, but I had so thoroughly prepped myself for the prospect of demolishing second units with Terrence Jones and Josh Smith off the bench.  That front court "freshness", versatility, and athleticism was going to be our big advantage over anyone we faced.
    • On the other hand, I'm not entirely sure Patrick Beverley is a crushing loss for the team.  I wrote back on March 16 that the Rockets were essentially playing 4 on 5 with Beverley on the court, and I don't know that anything he did after that point before his injury invalidated that statement.  In theory, the team will suffer defensively against the elite point guards in the West, but the numbers show that Beverley wasn't exactly stopping anyone this season.  And he certainly wasn't doing much of anything on the other end.  Even if Jason Terry and Pablo Prigioni are inferior defenders to Beverley, I'm not sure the dropoff is enough to negate the significant disparity in shooting between the players.  Simply put, I'd much rather have Jason Terry on the court to close out games than Patrick Beverley and thus, Pablo should be just fine for the remaining 48, especially with Corey Brewer to pick up against bad match-ups.
    • Lastly, for today, I'll ask you, dear reader, what in your mind would constitute success for the 2015 season?  I tossed this around on Twitter a few weeks ago and I honestly think this season is already a success.  Maybe that's sad that I've set the bar so low, but really, can you honestly say that losing in the first round in this western conference would warrant blowing the whole thing up?  I don't know that I can.

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    #2 Steven

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      Posted 17 April 2015 - 01:35 AM

      Anything less then a parade in June is failure. Only one team is truely successful each year (tanking teams notwithstanding).

      I do agree about not blowing this team up, even if they collapse in the first round. But summer 2016 is going to be very very interesting. D12, TJones, D-Mo will all be FA (the last two restricted). TV money is going to explode the cap. And huge names are going to also be FAs.

      But I see the Rockets going into that summer as Back-to-Back Champs, reshaping its team for a Threepeat run.
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      #3 rzm

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        Posted 17 April 2015 - 01:25 PM

        "Winning a championship is ALL that matters! Everything else is failure!" That's something a child would say. This season has already been a success. If we get past the Mavs, it'll be MORE successful. If we get to the Conference Finals, it will be VERY successful. If we get to the Finals, it'll be MORE SUCCESSFUL THAN ANYONE REASONABLY PREDICTED. And if we win the Championship, it will be SUPREMELY successful. 

         

        I'm a season-ticket holder and I've enjoyed the ride, the ups and downs, the wins and losses. I'm with them till the end, wherever that may be, however high up that may be. 


        Edited by rzm, 17 April 2015 - 01:27 PM.

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        #4 NorEastern

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          Posted 17 April 2015 - 04:04 PM

          I have done an analysis of Carlisle's and McHale's coaching. Here is a snippet of what will be the final product:

           

          As a few of you might already know, I credit coaching little for the success of a NBA team. The definitive study was published by Berri in 2011. Unfortunately the study has been pulled from the web. Berri looked at a decade of NBA team data when Phil Jackson was at his coaching prime. With massive amounts of data and a complete statistical analysis, Berri et. al. concluded that the difference between Phil Jackson and the worst NBA coach in the league was five wins. Maximum.

           

          In addition it has been statistically shown, over a very large data set, that calling a timeout late in close games benefits the defense much more than the offense. Here is some of the data:

           

          But so much for statistical analysis. Let us just jump right into perhaps one of the most divisive of topics possible. The coaching comparison between Carlisle and McHale. Or as he is termed on one of the more unseemly Rocket's fan sites, McFail.

           

          Carlisle is an excellent coach. He has a 'ship. He will be elected to the NBA HOF on the first ballot. But let us be honest. He is no Pop. No current coach in the NBA can compare with Pop. But then if you dig down a little deeper, how tied is Pop to Manu, Parker and Duncan? How does one statistically differentiate between the coach and his players? Berri separated out the talent disparities between Jackson's teams talent as compared to the rest of the NBA. Berri has a PhD in statistics, I do not. Nor do I care to commit to the months of work that a full statistical analysis of Pops coaching career. I just thought I would bring up a question I frequently think about.

           

          Carlisle. How good really is he as a NBA coach? A definitive answer, minus a wide scale study like Berri conducted, is an impossibility. Is he sound out of timeouts? Yes. Do his players show up every night. Yes. Are his rotations sound? Yes. Do his players get adequate rest? Yes. Does he work the refs well? Yes. Do his players buy into his systems? In Rondo's case no. Rondo forced Carlisle to change his system. Is he a good offensive coach? Yes. Is he a good defensive coach? Well, no. And there is one obvious warning sign. Dallas actually got worse after the Rondo trade. While their defensive ratings did improve their offensive ratings dived much much more. Dallas is no longer an offensive juggernaut. They are just merely good. The inability of Carlisle to maintain his starting five's offensive output by exchanging Felton, no offensive juggernaut, for Rondo points somehow to a coaching deficit. Carlisle was unable to convince Rondo to play within his systems. And that somehow completely decimated the Dallas offense. It fell from by far and away the best in the league to currently fifth. And that is why the Rockets are the prohibited favorites to win this series.

           

          In contrast, McHale. McFail. Asked the same questions about Carlisle's coaching of McHale and he grades out a yes. Every single one of them. And no Ariza and Harden do not need their minutes restricted like Nowitski and Duncan. They are both much younger and energizer bunnies when compared to those old geezers. In addition McHale somehow managed to integrate Josh Smith, a perennial NBA under achiever, into the Rockets offensive system. No coach has ever been able to do that. Not even SVG.

           

          Overall McHale, on the entire season, has been a better coach than Carlisle. In the playoffs it is a toss up.


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          #5 clydesmoustache

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            Posted 17 April 2015 - 04:30 PM

            From Grantland Cuban firing up the Rockets.http://grantland.com...n-nba-playoffs/

             

            "In the playoffs, teams with limited game plans get exposed. Conveniently, Cuban believes that Houston, his team’s first-round opponent in this season’s playoffs, is one of the most one-dimensional teams in the playoffs.

            “[The biggest difference is] practice time. There’s no more predictable team than the Rockets. You know exactly what they’re gonna do,” he says. “But James Harden is so good. That’s what analytics have begot. Right? Predictability. If you know what the percentages are, in the playoffs, you have time to counter them. Whether you’re good enough to do it is another question. Because they are very talented, and James Harden, I think, is the MVP. Because that’s not a very good team over there.”


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            #6 majik19

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              Posted 17 April 2015 - 05:29 PM

              That's an interesting take on analytics that I haven't heard put in that way.

               

              But I would argue that this happens on lots of teams, even if Morey and McHale have turned it into a "philosophy" or "method." When you're playing the Cavs, you know LeBron is going to have the ball, and if he's "good" or "on a mission" Lebron, he's going to attack the paint again and again and either kick it out, run a pick n roll, or post up. The Grizzlies are going to run their offense mostly through the high post. 

               

              Obviously the Warriors, Mavs, and Spurs are more multi-dimensional... but I'm not sure that necessarily relates to playoffs. A lot of the time, all that matters is having the best player on your team. This playoffs, we may actually have that - something we haven't been able to say since The Dream. 


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              #7 Johnny Rocket

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                Posted 17 April 2015 - 05:42 PM

                  I expect Capela to play instead of Dorsey, and give the Rox a new look off the bench that teams will not be prepared for.


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                #8 thejohnnygold

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                Posted 17 April 2015 - 06:00 PM

                I think it's time to put the "mediocre" tag to rest.  It's all about perspective and the subjective measure of success.  Here's an interesting statistic:

                 

                Since 1984, the Houston Rockets have posted 3 losing seasons.  That's a fact.  Check for yourself HERE.

                 

                While that hasn't translated into a ton of playoff success, it does include three finals trips with two wins, 1 trip to the conference finals, 4 trips to the 2nd round, and a slew of first round exits.  Only 9 years since 1984 have we missed the playoffs.

                 

                It hasn't worked out the way it did for Jordan, Bryant, O'Neal, Duncan, or James....but then, look at those names....remember that outside of Spoelstra, Jackson and Popovich have dominated the Finals (Larry Brown gets a mention).  Top level players and coaches.  

                 

                If that's mediocre then so be it.  I see things differently.

                 

                As for the Mavericks, I don't think anyone is over-looking them.  If they are they shouldn't be.  Houston will need to play well to win this series.  


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                #9 Steven

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                  Posted 18 April 2015 - 03:15 AM

                  "Winning a championship is ALL that matters! Everything else is failure!" That's something a child would say. This season has already been a success. If we get past the Mavs, it'll be MORE successful. If we get to the Conference Finals, it will be VERY successful. If we get to the Finals, it'll be MORE SUCCESSFUL THAN ANYONE REASONABLY PREDICTED. And if we win the Championship, it will be SUPREMELY successful.

                  I'm a season-ticket holder and I've enjoyed the ride, the ups and downs, the wins and losses. I'm with them till the end, wherever that may be, however high up that may be.

                  Actually not winning the championship is FAILURE!!! I didn't say that there isn't success in a season when you don't win the championship (when actually going for it), but to not host the Larry O'Brien Throphy and shut down the city of Houston for a parade in June is a form of failure. If they make it to the Western Conference Finals and lose game 7 on a last second shot, then we can see success in the next step being right there to take next season. But that would still mean the team had some failure in not going all the way. This isn't a zero-sum game of everything being successful vs everything being failure.
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                  #10 Dan G

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                  Posted 18 April 2015 - 07:47 AM

                   

                  •  Relatively speaking, this franchise has been mediocre for the better part of two decades, with nothing to really hang its hat on.  I don't know if it has any cumulative effect, but there has to be some value to good feelings, right?

                   

                  Come on Huq, has your cynicism clouded your judgement or something? I know you said relatively speaking, but in my opinion, in no way have we been mediocre for the better part of two decades. Johnnygold is right, that word needs to be retired in Rocket fans' vocabulary. I didn't really need to look at johnnygold's link to learn that we've been pretty successful over the last 20 years, but the link definitely helped fill in the blanks of what has transpired.

                   

                  If anything, we have been spoiled rotten with constant winning seasons and playoff appearances. In the Western Conference over the last decade or so, mediocre teams don't make the playoffs period. Every team has to fight and claw their way just to clinch a playoff berth and grab whatever seed they can get their hands on. Every matchup is a heavyweight fight. If this were the Eastern Conference and we barely made the playoffs year in and year out, then maybe you can label us as mediocre for the two decades, but not in the West.

                   

                  Have we had some sub par seasons? Sure. After the Ming and T-Mac era, we certainly had a few of those seasons. Have we had some terrible seasons? Sure. The Stevie Franchise era can attest to that. But other than those seasons, we have pretty much made the playoffs every season since we won our two ships, and we did so in the brutal West.. To call that mediocre is most definitely being spoiled rotten.


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                  :lol: All in the game, yo, :D all in the game :lol:!


                  #11 JY86er

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                  Posted 18 April 2015 - 10:34 AM

                  Teams are galvanized by playoff success or failure and losing in the first round is not enough for this team to grow on. Last season's 0.9 second defeat created a monster named Harden and finishing #2 in the West and winning the division (which is rare for the Rockets anyway) only solidifies their growth from last season. Saying they did well in spite of injuries doesn't fly. Everybody deals with injuries. This team is capable of making a deep playoff run, but not without seeing the pressure of some 7 games series wins to battle test them. Its got to be a tough second round or more to gain anything from this season.

                  In 1994-1995 who won the division? Sure, you'll recall who did if you think about it. They were even a #1 seed with the league's best record, but they only get remembered for how Hakeem and the Rockets trampled them headed toward winning the championship.
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