Five Notes on a String: January 13th, 2012


Every Friday, I’ll post this collection of thoughts accumulated over the past week, so named because it gives a perfectly arbitrary number limit to the amount of this rambling madness. Come get some.

  • Now that Terrence Williams officially catches splinters with the bottom of his shorts for a living, the time may be now to proclaim Daryl Morey’s grand “Let’s see what the 2009 NBA Draft’s least productive players can do for us!” experiment dead in the water. Johnny Flynn has gained more ire as the most inconsequential Rockets point guard since Brent Price than anyone else on the team, including Hasheem Thabeet, who people either completely ignore or endlessly pity (before feeling bad for themselves for having to watch him play basketball rather than, say, give giraffes high fives to make end meet). Jordan Hill does some things sometimes, and I think that may be the most laudatory comment I can make on the former Wildcat.  Chase Budinger, a man currently second in the rotation to a rookie who was also a second-round pick, currently stands as Houston’s lone respectable investment in that draft, a disheartening fact that brings me to a much more enervating one about our dear Rockets: they are currently entering an era in which they look to be that worst kind of bad, the Pistons kind. The kind that no one cares about. No name on this team brings back the same immediate dry heaves that Walt Williams or Glen Rice long after he had stopped escorting around a certain future reality-TV-star/vice-presidential nominee, but that epoch of Rockets basketball is the last that I recall being this ostensibly hopeless. Maybe a month of games against the lowly trolls under the bridge of quality NBA basketball can change this, make all of these bits and pieces of respectable professional basketball players into reanimated corpses at least because if not, the basketball gods might just remind me exactly what it’s like to get what I asked for: a lottery team, and a remarkably dull one at that.

Photo courtesy of Richard Heeks via Flickr

  • Maybe the convolution of the particularly tantalizing stories in the national media about the insufferably offensively deficient New York Knicks and the “Free Steve Nash” mini-movement, but I feel as if I’ve done the ultimate New-Yawk-fanboy machination and preemptively written the tale of “Nash saves the Garden!” in my head. In a vacuum, better fits nor angles for feature stories in May don’t exist. The Knicks desperately search for a consistent pick-and-roll option, or basically anyone who actually enjoys the action of passing a ball while having the physical capabilities to do so; Nash and his agent dig around the NBA for a viable place to end his career in pursuit of a ring or at least an appearance in the Finals that has eluded the virtuosic little genius. He comes back to the fold with the man who gave him the career he has now, and in turn keeps that man’s job, reunites with his old PNR buddy from his salad days and transforms Carmelo Anthony into the efficient scoring moster we all thought he could be. I’m writing sweeps week stuff here, people. Too bad this couldn’t work financially in any way (unless the Suns amnestied Nash,  a terrible personnel move that’s about as likely to happen as Robert Sarver making a smart personnel decision ever). I know i’m not the first to think of this, but now that I have, I feel closer to Peter Vescey than I ever have, which can’t be a good thing.
  • Gosh, Kevin Martin can’t be this bad, can he? Going into this season, the press gave Martin a pair of pre-cooked excuses to pop into the microwave whenever he started to disappoint this season (unhappy with being traded and then not, the demise of the rip-through), and through ten games, he’s every bit the flop that he could have been. What tears at fans of the king of ugly scoring is his dip in efficiency, mostly due to his embarrassing numbers from behind the arc this year (a below-league-average 32% on 5.6 attempts per game); while his True Shooting Percentage hasn’t taken the epic fall it probably should thanks to a masterful mark from the free-throw line (though he’s putting his worst TS% since an injury-plagued half-season with the Kings before he was sent south to Houston), he’s getting to the line far less than ever before given his minutes. No matter the reason, whether it be the two reasons mentioned already, a natural decline thanks to his more-than-bizarre path toward advanced stats stardom or just a miserable early-season slump, Kevin Martin will continue to hurt the Houston Rockets every time he plays as he has up to this point in the 2011-12 season. Christ. What a season.

Photo courtesy of Meredith Farmer via Flickr

  • Wait, so why can’t LeBron just have bad games? Sports really hasn’t had this bad of a Catch-22 since maybe Tiger Woods or something; I don’t even know, just grasping for straws here. When he  pillages the league, starts the season as well as any NBA player ever has, crushes teams into chalky bone dust, everything he does should be expected, just the king taking his birthright. When he fails? Dywane Wade’s the closer. What? How does that work? I feel like the vast majority of people who watch NBA basketball are sports radio hosts. Weird, wild stuff.
  • Looking at the All-Star voting yesterday, I noticed Ricky Rubio placed third in Western Conference guard voting, behind Kobe and CP3, and I must say, that’s just glorious. Maybe it’s just the entirety of Minnesota stuffing the ballot box or a nation of 11-year-old girls who thought they were voting for bizarro Bieber, but however this is happening, I am proud of NBA fans who actually would like to watch an exciting exhibition game come February. I love you all, sports radio hosts of America.

Catch me on Twitter @JacobMustafa and in this weekly notebook every Friday. Thanks for spending your time here.

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Houston Rockets vs Sacramento Kings – January 13, 2012 7:00PM
The Houston Rockets did not target Hasheem Thabeet and Jonny Flynn
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