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@  cointurtlemoose : (07 April 2015 - 01:17 AM) Copied from rotowire
@  cointurtlemoose : (07 April 2015 - 01:17 AM) Papanikolaou (ankle) hopes to return during the upcoming week, the Houston Chronicle reports. “I am pretty close,” Papanikolaou said Saturday. “I am feeling pretty good. Great job by the training staff, great communication, great work. I hope by the end of next week, I will be back and I can’t wait.”
@  Mario Peña : (06 April 2015 - 04:31 AM) I fully understand the Carlisle factor but it seems that there is something rotten in Dallas. I'm not convinced that ownership, Carlisle and the leading players are on the same page. Despite that I know they are dangerous but I don't think as much in a matchup with the Rockets.
@  JY86er : (05 April 2015 - 08:06 PM) Carlisle is confused. Who hacks with the lead and in the second quarter?
@  majik19 : (05 April 2015 - 03:47 PM) when playing dallas, can't forget the Rick Carlisle factor. Also, Rondo could morph into playoffs Rondo.
@  Mario Peña : (05 April 2015 - 02:55 AM) If Dwight is 75% for the first round and they get Dallas I think the Rockets could destroy them.
@  Mario Peña : (05 April 2015 - 02:54 AM) Yesssss!!!
@  majik19 : (05 April 2015 - 02:15 AM) Memphis loses to Washington... They're giving us a chance!
@  Losthief : (04 April 2015 - 07:51 PM) last i heard was 7-10 days from march 27th...so that be sunday...but not hearing anything new so...im guessing he's had more setbacks or something.
@  JY86er : (04 April 2015 - 06:39 AM) What's the real deal with Papanikolau? There has to be more to it than a sprained ankle now.
@  Losthief : (04 April 2015 - 03:59 AM) to be fair...strauss in the article does point out the panel was asked "who WILL win" at 80 percent curry. And then he said the question of "who SHOULD win" was asked and was much closer at 40 percent harden to 50 percent curry. And...while i hate strauss sometimes too he did on truehoop tv say he only supports curry b/c the team is historically great and that it is just unlucky harden is this good in a year with a team like GSW. I might disagree with him about what MVP means but he's better than amin who is just a jerk about houston/rockets in general.
@  Mario Peña : (03 April 2015 - 10:36 PM) Here's a list of guys in the last week or two that are putting a Harden as the MVP: Windhorst, Legler, Simmons, Thorpe, Johnson, Jackson, Smith, Patt, Sheridan and a few others I can remember right now. Forget Strauss!
@  majik19 : (03 April 2015 - 07:02 PM) I'd be okay with a repeat of 1995, where Hakeem was clearly the MVP and made sure the league knew it in the Western Conference Finals (on the way to the championship).
@  txtdo1411 : (03 April 2015 - 06:54 PM) I can't stand Strauss, but he may be correct that it has already been sealed. It's a shame that Harden won't win it in a year he has done everything he possibly could to get the award. Oh well, a Finals MVP will work just fine ;)
@  Mario Peña : (03 April 2015 - 05:42 PM) That piece is by Ethan Sherwood Strauss, the Warriors Truehoop beat writer and he has been for Curry all year. He openly admits to being a Warriors fan.
@  majik19 : (03 April 2015 - 04:58 PM) ESPN thinks the MVP race is already over (and unfortunately, they're probably right): http://espn.go.com/b...ce-already-over
@  JY86er : (03 April 2015 - 11:16 AM) Excellent 4th wuarter
@  Losthief : (03 April 2015 - 03:54 AM) nah he bumped knees looked fine in the 4th fury.
@  cointurtlemoose : (03 April 2015 - 03:15 AM) A Mavs win always feels like 2 wins at once...
@  Fury : (03 April 2015 - 02:56 AM) I can only get Gamecast... Feigen's tweeting about Dwight limping. Is he hurt?

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Yao Ming - Part 3


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#1 RedNinetyFour

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Posted 10 July 2011 - 09:58 PM

In eight seasons with the Houston Rockets, Yao Ming averaged 19 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.  The 7'6 center shot 52% from the field and a sparkling 83% from the free throw line.  The first overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, Yao made eight All-Star game appearances and was an All-NBA selection five times.  He earned over $93million in salaries over the course of his career.


What's most striking in reflecting back upon Yao's career is the good health he enjoyed in his first three seasons: the giant only missed a total of two games in those years at the time assuaging fears that a man his size could not endure the pounding of the NBA game.  The rejoicing was premature.  Yao went on to play more than 60 games only once in the next six years.


Was Yao Ming's career a failure?  The bar is high for first overall selections and Yao's Rockets only passed the first round once during his time with the team.  Having said that, he will go down as the greatest 'giant' in the league's history, proving far more productive than any other man over 7'4 to have played the sport.


Was Yao the right pick?  While he certainly fared better than Duke's Jay Williams--the man many believed in 2002 should have been the first overall selection--few would argue against Amare Stoudemire's body of success.  While Stoudemire himself has never been considered a true 'superstar', the power forward was vastly more productive than Yao over the course of his career.

What's forgotten are the expectations Yao carried upon entering the league.  While taken with the first pick, he was not selected as a 'franchise savior.'  In those days, the Rockets belonged to Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley and it was believed by many that if the core could remain healthy--Francis had missed the majority of the previous season--the team was already on track for the playoffs <em>without Yao. </em>Yao was picked to simply complement - to stretch the floor for the guards with his soft shooting range.  At the time, it was thought that anything more would be gravy.  Yao was picked to be, not the cornerstone, but one of many pieces to a developing championship core.  (The team at the time had huge hopes for <a title="the late Eddie Griffin" href="http://www.red94.net...iffin/516/">the late Eddie Griffin</a>.)


But Yao turned out to be far better than advertised--showing off an NBA-level postgame--and from there, our expectations became warped.  No one thought in '02 that he'd be virtually unguardable inside against single coverage. When we saw it, we wanted more.  We demanded more and he couldn't deliver.


Yao was a conundrum.  He was the league's single most unstoppable force.  When receiving the ball in the paint, it was almost an automatic hoop.  Yet at the same time, he was so easily neutralized.  Simply putting a 6'8, athletic power forward in front of his body would force the Rockets to completely take Yao out of the game.  He would obliterate Dwight Howard head to head, but the likes of Al Harrington and Boris Diaw rendered him useless.


<a title="Like former teammate Tracy McGrady" href="http://www.red94.net...y-5/1108/">Like former teammate Tracy McGrady</a>, Yao's career ultimately boils down to a case of 'too litte, too late.'  By the time Rockets management surrounded him with a capable supporting cast, his body had failed him.  In the '05 and '07 playoffs, with stars healthy, Houston relied on the likes of Ryan Bowen, David Wesley, and Luther Head to play major roles.  Had the team had even one of Aaron Brooks, Carl Landry, or Luis Scola--Daryl Morey signature acquisitions--one could see those teams easily advancing to the Finals.


The plan after surgery was to team Yao with a new star and retool the franchise with Yao still as its centerpiece but with a more balanced roster.  The team struck out last summer and Yao got hurt once again.  He has now announced his retirement.


Questions abound: might Yao have stayed healthy had he not faced the demands of playing basketball year-round?  The NBA was taxing enough on his 7'5 frame - we forget that due to his national obligations, his body never got a break.  But to that question, and many more, we will never know the answer.  What is clear though is that his jersey will likely hang from the rafters at Toyota Center, the #11 never to be worn again.  As one of the greatest ambassadors this sport has ever seen, his case for the Hall will be made.  Despite not having brought success, Yao will be remembered as this franchise's third greatest center.


The page is now turned for the Rockets, a divorce from an era.  McGrady is gone, and now, so is Yao, with that faintest of hopes for a return completely smothered.  They will pick up the pieces, as they have been doing, and continue the quest for a new star and a new block upon which to build.  One thing is for certain: whoever he is, whoever our new savior may be, he will not be nearly as unique a figure as was Yao Ming.

<a href="http://www.red94.net...7093/"></a></p>
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#2 Guest_KingJosh_*

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 02:03 AM

Rahat do you really think Stoudemire was the correct choice over yao? Even today I would still have taken yao 9 times out of ten, even with the power of hindsight.

Amare has a current career average of 22/9, 4 pts better than yao - yet he is half the defensive presence of yao. His team's success has always been accompanined by 1st tier talent (Nash, J.johnson, Marion etc) and has had injury problems of his own. This year we saw amare attempt to lead his team by his own and only barely squeak into the playoffs in a piss weak Eastern confrence. There is denying that he is NOT a superstar. However when healthy, yao definitely WAS a superstar. 22 and 10 while anchoring a top 5 defence? Prime yao was a top 10 player, and a center at that.

Scoring PF with no defence are a dime-a-dozen these days, hell the rockets aqcuired one for v.span. Give me 7 years of a transcendnet superstar center anyday.
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#3 Guest_Rh rivera_*

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 04:55 AM

Rahat do you really think Stoudemire was the correct choice over yao? Even today I would still have taken yao 9 times out of ten, even with the power of hindsight.

Amare has a current career average of 22/9, 4 pts better than yao - yet he is half the defensive presence of yao. His team's success has always been accompanined by 1st tier talent (Nash, J.johnson, Marion etc) and has had injury problems of his own. This year we saw amare attempt to lead his team by his own and only barely squeak into the playoffs in a piss weak Eastern confrence. There is denying that he is NOT a superstar. However when healthy, yao definitely WAS a superstar. 22 and 10 while anchoring a top 5 defence? Prime yao was a top 10 player, and a center at that.

Scoring PF with no defence are a dime-a-dozen these days, hell the rockets aqcuired one for v.span. Give me 7 years of a transcendnet superstar center anyday.


this is nonsense. he played in 60 games only ONCE in the past 6 seasons. Amare has been one of the best 3 or 4 players in the NBA at his position, and has only missed one season because of injury. Also Amare will play for 5 or more seasons more.
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#4 Rahat Huq

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    Posted 11 July 2011 - 06:04 AM

    Hmm - good debate.

    When healthy, I think you could make an argument for either guy. Yao anchored some of the best defenses in the NBA. At the same time, he's easily taken out of ballgames by fronting defenses. You can't take Amare Stoudemire out of a ballgame. (His WCF against the Spurs in '05 was historic.)

    Not taking out health, it's not even a debate. Amare stayed on the court; Yao could't.
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    #5 Guest_inpropagation_*

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    Posted 11 July 2011 - 08:32 AM

    You can't take Amare Stoudemire out of a ballgame.




    ummmm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6f5Uyu6Dv4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BR4mGmz8jqE
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    #6 Guest_Cuttino M._*

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    Posted 11 July 2011 - 08:40 AM

    this is nonsense. he played in 60 games only ONCE in the past 6 seasons. Amare has been one of the best 3 or 4 players in the NBA at his position, and has only missed one season because of injury. Also Amare will play for 5 or more seasons more.

    I wouldn't call it nonsense (except the part about Amare being a dime-a-dozen PF.. Amare, esp pre-microfracture, was a Force of Nature) considering fact that Amare no longer plays for the team that drafted him because of injury history, ie, uninsurable, potentially catastrophic knee and eye injury risk and gambling a max contract on such risk.

    Quality starting centers, as the Chuckwagon Experience shows us, are hard to find.
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    #7 Guest_Cuttino M._*

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    Posted 11 July 2011 - 08:50 AM

    ummmm

    hee hee hee... you gotta love the Chuckwagon (just not starting at C).
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    #8 Rahat Huq

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      Posted 12 July 2011 - 12:30 AM

      ummmm

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6f5Uyu6Dv4

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BR4mGmz8jqE

      I knew someone was going to bring this up. Chuck Hayes' dominance of Amare is an anomaly. Just like Vernon Maxwell's dominance of Michael Jordan. Almost every guy has the one guy who gives him fits.

      There were numerous people who could take Yao out of a game.
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      #9 Guest_inpropagation_*

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      Posted 12 July 2011 - 05:54 AM

      on that note, I believe it
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      #10 Guest_wtflife_*

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      Posted 12 July 2011 - 11:47 PM

      I would say that Amare and Tmac probably beat Dallas. I loved Yao he was so unique, but the fact that Carlos Boozer could front him and basically remove him as an offensive presence really says what you need to know.

      I think Yao got everything out of his NBA career there was for him to get out of. He became more than he should have been through hard work, and perfection of various techniques. Amare is a far greater talent than Yao that has never put the effort in to become what he could. If Amare works hard stays healthy and he and Melo can take the Knicks to the finals of the eastern conference then he is the better choice, but that is far from guaranteed.

      I only require them to get to the eastern finals, because sadly I believe the NBA is no longer competitive for the next 3 seasons whenever they may happen. Until Wade is crucially injured I think the Heat will win title after title. They are a healthy Mike Miller or one other free agent away from walking through the league. Hoping I am wrong, but sad to think it is so.
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      #11 Guest_ripandrup_*

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      Posted 13 July 2011 - 12:34 AM

      If Boris Diaw "neutralized" Yao by fronting him, didn't any number of PFs "neutralize" Amare by scoring on him at will? Amare's turn against Tim Duncan in the '05 WCF was transcendent, but Duncan gave it right back to him (27 and 14 for Timmy in the series). By your logic, they both should have sat on the bench.

      Bottom line: if we re-did the draft, I'd take Amare over Yao. If the draft came with magic pills to keep everyone healthy, I'd still take Amare over Yao because, like the other commenter said, pre-microfracture Amare was a force of nature in a way that Yao never was (or even could be. There's a chance Amare could've fixed his defense, there's really no chance that Yao could've fixed his pick and roll coverage, for example.) But your continuted undervaluation of Yao says more about your beta male psychodramas than it does about Yao's performance on the court.

      Yao against Al Harrington: http://bkref.com/tiny/hJPZP

      Yao against Boris Diaw: http://bkref.com/tiny/moDlR

      Yao against Memo Okur: http://bkref.com/tiny/tVHgg
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      #12 Guest_hi_*

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      Posted 13 July 2011 - 06:57 AM

      If you are to just compare skills I'd say it's equal with Yao Ming winning on defense and Amare winning on more flexible offense.

      If you want to take everything into account and compare how much each player does to their organization, then to re-do the draft I'd take Yao for sure.. Amare was just as injury-prone as Yao upto last season. When he finally got healthy, he almost immediately left the suns leaving them nothing. Yao Ming also brought tons of money and fans into the rockets organization, something that Amare can never do.

      Bottom Line - Money is important, and you never want to get LeBron-ed.
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      #13 Guest_Lyfestyle_*

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      Posted 13 July 2011 - 01:14 PM

      I think the defensive comparison is less obvious, given that Yao was (mostly) coached by JVG and A'mare was (mostly) coached by D'Antoni. It's an apples and oranges comparison. You say Yao's was a top-5 defense, but it was also a horrific, awful offense. The reverse was true of A'mare's teams.

      No clear-thinking person would take 9 years with 1 playoff series win followed by a retirement over the numerous successes that A'mare's had and will continue to have for the next 5-6 years.
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      #14 Stephen

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        Posted 13 July 2011 - 04:18 PM

        There was no Yao-Amare debate at the time.
        Amare was not picked second,he was the SIXTH big man taken in the Draft,behind Nene among others.
        It's rather like debating whether the Rockets should have taken Luther Head or Monta Ellis.
        My what if is what if the Rockets had insisted on including Varejao(at time still unsigned 2 Rd pick by Orlando)in the trade. Having Varejao to spell Yao and Howard would have been huge and when Howard went out at end of season,Varejao could have stepped in at PF instead of Ryan Bowen. Personally,I believe w/Varejao the Rockets beat Dallas and much of subsequent Rocket history changes for the better.

        Would Amare have been the current Amare if drafted #1,out of High School,onto a Steve Francis led team?
        Would Les have signed JVG w/out the money Yao was pouring in to Rocket coffers? W/a core of Francis,Mobley and Amare,all fairly young,would Les have gone for a coach better know for teaching,perhaps a college coach over JVG(and less expensive as well).

        Assuming JVG was hired,in JVG's first season Amare was injured in Phoenix and missed 19 games. Just what kind of an impression would that make on JVG.(Factor in in the outstanding 7 SECONDS OR LESS book on the Suns there are multiple statements on the Sun's dissatisfaction w/Amare's rehab efforts.) That would have been a toxic brew w/JVG disliking Francis,Amare's desire for fame clashing w/Francis' attitude on Rockets being his and then the coaching staff wondering if Amare was disciplined enough to play in NBA.
        Meanwhile Yao goes to GS-a wet dream for GS ownership considering their market-and after backing up Dampier for a yr becomes GS Center. W/the Chinese income GS may well keep Arenas,doesn't need to trade Jamison and has an offensive fantasy feast in Arenas,Jason Richardson,Jamison and Yao.
        McGrady likely ends up being traded to GS as Orlando's Otis Smith(basketball knowledge behind Magic's Hockey GM)has deep ties to Arenas and McGrady,Yao and Jamison form the core of GS going forward.
        This means the Rockets are continuing forward w/a Francis,Mobley,Amare core for next few yrs as JVG and his players increasingly butt heads.After a couple of First Rd flameouts,the Rockets see Amare blow out his knee and are left facing serious questions about their future direction.

        Rahat,
        Yoa was mainly "taken" out of games by fronting. However,that rarely happened when McGrady was on the floor,as McGrady would drive to hoop and pass to Yao who would have his defender behind him. It worked extremely well when Aaron Brooks was the PG-which was more of a reflection of how poor Brooks was at feeding the post than Yao's inability to dominate.

        W/Yoa it's easy to forget how little top competition he had faced before coming to Rockets. While he had the fundamentals down pat,the experience of playing top competition was missing. Then when he came to Rockets the offense flowed thru first Francis,then McGrady. It wasn't until Yao's fourth yr that JVG asked McGrady to defer to Yao. Than we saw what Yao had become,an MVP-type,dominating player. If,if,if...if JVG had been retained and Yao had stayed healthy,Yao would have put up some pretty big numbers.
        When Adelman came in,he wanted to spread the offense around,open up the court for other players and move Yao out of low post.But at end of close games,Adelman went to Yao down low and that's where Rick wanted the ball to go.

        BTW,if you can,watch some of the Rockets/Suns games. There's a trend of Amare starting strong and being completely invisible as game goes on. Almost like he's been taken out of games ;)
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        #15 Guest_Cuttino M._*

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        Posted 13 July 2011 - 09:09 PM

        And let's look at the flip-side of this scenario as well... Even though Yao couldn't make it to half-court in 7 seconds or less, don't you think he gets that Suns team over the hump against the Spurs for a championship or 2? Slide Matrix to the 4, all sorts of athleticism and shooters on the wings, pound it down low with Yao when the game slows (something tells me Nash could get the ball to Yao, fronting defenders or not). How does anyone stop that?

        Yes, Amare is a force of nature--a human YouTube dunk machine--but Yao changes the game, opens things up for his teammates, forces defenses to change their strategy. ALL YOU NEED FOR Amare IS AN A-MINUS POST DEFENDER; Yao REQUIRES A TEAM DEFENSIVE STRATEGY! Who stops Yao 1-on-1? Rockets should've been able to exploit the fronter.

        Maybe you take Amare over Yao with their injury histories, but on the court, it's Yao, no question. If we had 2-3 years of a healthy Yao on the current Rockets team, this is not even a conversation. Amare:Yao::Dominique:Bird. Ergo, Yao > Amare
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        #16 Stephen

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          Posted 14 July 2011 - 02:06 AM

          We tend to overlook Morey had kicked the tires w/Amare several times and ultimately turned down a deadline deal as he didn't want to commit long-term to Amare at max level.(Esp w/Amare being uninsurable thru League Insurance w/Eye issue,as well as knees.)
          So in the revisionist Amare history,he prob gets traded to NY instead of McGrady,who likely wouldn't have been traded to Houston.
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          #17 08huangj

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            Posted 04 April 2015 - 02:04 PM

            Now when I read back to this post and remember the Yao Ming injury, it might be a blessing in disguise. We got Dwight, Harden, and at least 6 quality supporting cast members.


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            #18 YaoMan

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              Posted 06 April 2015 - 03:14 PM

              I never saw this post til it came back up again and It never ceases to amaze me how Yao was supposedly "taken out of games" with fronting defenses.  As one of the guests above pointed out in the head to head, Yao dominated anyone of those supposed Yao stoppers who took him out of a game. I especially "love" how Diaw always took Yao out of a game when Yao always dominated Diaw especially dropping 41pts, 16reb, 7 assist, 2blks. Give me a break. Rahat has always looked down on Yao because JVG and that Rockets team didn't have a plan B for feeding the post for fronting defenders.  Send Yao to Utah and Jerry Sloan's offense and Yao would have avg 30 pt a game.

              If you have a fronting defense, you don't simply move it to the other side and have Yao go to the other block.  You use a back pick from the weak side as Yao moves to the other block to pick off Yao's defender before you swing the ball.  If the defender goes the long way (over the pick from the top side) to try to front again, you'll have an open layup or pass to the screener. If they go under (bottom side), then swing the ball, Yao gets the ball with defender to his back. Sloan set this up for Malone for decades so that he could get the ball in his sweet spots. 

              Subsequently there are other plays as well to set up a post position with the defender on the back. Move Yao all the way to right in front of the basket if the defender is fronting, you'll have no resistance since no one is behind Yao. The fronting defender will have to go back with Yao to guard any lob pass. Run a forward to the elbow then set a down screen on the fronter (basically, the screener comes from the elbow and drops right in front of the defender making him the meat part of the sandwich with Yao.  Curl Yao above the screener and then feed the ball from there.

              I could list many more but the fact of the matter is Rockets didn't space the floor very well with those teams. JVG while a defensive mastermind, is no where close to Larry Brown or Jerry Sloan (and of course Pop) when it comes to x's and o's.  What Rahat always fails to mention to is when someone like Harrington fronted Yao, Tmac or Sura would lob pass over the top but the weak side defender always came to double quite a bit.  Other times they just didn't know how to pass the ball to him. And the Francis/Mobley days with Yao were just full of inept post entry passers. No one player consistently "took" Yao out of his game.  Usually a defensive strategy with some weak side doubles were employed, knowing full well Rockets didn't have a great post entry guard to feed him the ball.

              I remember when one time Josh Howard fronted Yao and the Rockets had 3 TOs in a row trying to feed him with bad passes. I'm sure Rahat is thinking of this as Josh Howard taking Yao out of the game.  Funny thing is when they kept going to him, Yao ended up with 20+ points and Mavs eventually put a big guy back on him. Memory is a funny thing - you seem to only recall what you want not what is objective. The only guy I remember giving Yao problems consistently was Al Jefferson with his crafty footwork and great bball instinct. Al did average 2 more points and 4 more reb in their head to head but Yao was 6-2 in those matchups and he still shot nearly 60% from the field.

              Come on man, this is not Greg Oden or Sam Bowie, both who have had injuries and health issues before.  Bowie was hurt his Jr year and had surgery. Greg Oden's has out most of his collegiate year and his physical and x-rays had a ton of red flags and anomalies. Yao is and has always been one of the most skilled big men to ever play the game, probably right behind Sabonis. He doesn't have nearly the fluid movement or athleticism that the Gasol brother's possess but he is right there in terms of skill, ability and basketball IQ. 


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              #19 thejohnnygold

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              Posted 06 April 2015 - 06:49 PM

              @Yaoman--this is the most crucial part of your post in my opinion.

               

               

               

               He doesn't have nearly the fluid movement or athleticism that the Gasol brother's possess but he is right there in terms of skill, ability and basketball IQ. 

               

              What you are neglecting in your analysis is that Yao Ming moved like a man with fire hydrants strapped to his legs.  He was slow, cumbersome, and was unable to react quickly enough to receive any pass that wasn't delivered squarely to him.  Trying to move him away from defenders was pointless as they were quick enough to adjust however they needed to.

               

              I never felt like Yao's offense was his problem.  It was defense.  I have heard all about how he "owned" Shaq.  OK then.  Mostly, I remember him getting owned by anyone who had feet that worked faster than his.  Speed beats size.  Playoffs will expose such weaknesses.


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              #20 YaoMan

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                Posted 06 April 2015 - 08:06 PM

                @Yaoman--this is the most crucial part of your post in my opinion.

                 

                 

                What you are neglecting in your analysis is that Yao Ming moved like a man with fire hydrants strapped to his legs.  He was slow, cumbersome, and was unable to react quickly enough to receive any pass that wasn't delivered squarely to him.  Trying to move him away from defenders was pointless as they were quick enough to adjust however they needed to.

                 

                I never felt like Yao's offense was his problem.  It was defense.  I have heard all about how he "owned" Shaq.  OK then.  Mostly, I remember him getting owned by anyone who had feet that worked faster than his.  Speed beats size.  Playoffs will expose such weaknesses.

                He wasn't super fast (one of the many reasons I compare him to Sabonis) but I would disagree he had fire hydrants on his legs. He was a bit slow to jump out on pick and rolls and he wasn't going to run down any speeder players or be a Mr. 94 feet but he wasn't as lethargic as Gheorge Muresan or even remotely close to that. He never really got "owned" by a speedy player like what Rahat said with Harrington or Diaw.  Speed beats size sometimes, yes. Not all of the time though. Look at the head to head with Dwight and Yao. I saw everyone of those games except one and out of the 9 times they met, only once did I feel Dwight out played Yao. One was a wash and 7 games Yao clearly outplays Dwight.

                http://www.basketbal...01&p2=howardw01

                Did he have his weaknesses? Of course he did. Was he mechanical in some of his moves? No doubt.  He had some handling issues when he brought the ball down but most centers have that problem.  I think his handles on catching the ball vastly improved since his rookie season.  And conditioning was another Achilles heal for him - he would wear down as the game went on. He worked on that too but there was only so much he could improve on that part.

                Slow and cumbersome? A little slow yes - he's 7' 5", he's not going to be Corey Brewer in a foot race or any kind of race for that matter. Many of the centers he played against were most certainly faster than him yet he has near Patrick Ewing averages all across the board.  And I think you are bit harsh on remembering how fluid he is (again nothing like the Gasol brothers) but look at him in the Portland series.



                Smooth turnarounds. Quick help defense to block Aldridge. Handled a quick bounce pass for a quick dunk. Watch that quick drop step spin on Aldridge (one of the quickest PF, in my opinion) for a easy reverse.  Pretty good block on Roy too. Not sure what Yao Ming you remember, maybe some of the games coming back from injury but seeing him live many times and of course tons on the tellie, he was nothing close to a tree stump in the lane. 

                 

                I'm sure you remember the behind the back dribble all the way to the house of the flush:


                Look, I'm not saying he was anything close to the agility of David Robinson or even in the same ballpark as Hakeem.  All I was debating was this notion that Diaw or Harrington or quicker players like that "owned" him and he was easily shut him down, which is just inaccurate. 


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