Behind the Scenes - ESPN put together a panel to rank the different aspects of all 30 NBA front offices from 0-10. The rankings started with the total front office experience and then broke down into the specific positions within the group, starting with owners. The rest of the positions will be done later in the week. The Rockets front office was ranked seventh with a score of 7.1, well behind the first place Spurs at 9.45.
San Antonio is the obvious choice for number one. Greg Poppovich is one of the league’s biggest assets and RC Buford has consistently kept a contender around Tim Duncan. Their owner, Peter Holt, is very hands-off and has been content to let smarter people than he run the basketball operations while he polishes his rings. The rest of the teams ahead of Houston are, for the most part, hard to argue against. The Heat have Pat Riley, the Mavs have Mark Cuban’s particular brand of enthusiasm and Rick Carlisle, and the Pacers have Larry Legend. The two teams directly in front of Houston, however, are a little more curious.
I don’t pretend to know the inner workings of all NBA franchises, but I do know that Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf has been staunchly against pushing his team salary into the tax threshold despite playing in one of the biggest markets in the Association and having a pseudo-contender built around a former MVP for the past several years. But they do have Tom Thibodeau. And the Celtics were ready to run Danny Ainge out of town before his ole pal Kevin McHale gift-wrapped Kevin Garnett for him and saved his job. Brad Stevens is a nice coach and could turn out to be great, but it’s a little early to give him too much credence.
Seeing that Les Alexander was ranked fifth (7.41) in the ownership rankings, and taking in to account Daryl Morey’s presumed high ranking, you would think Houston would score a little higher on the overall rank. That can only mean that the Rockets were docked for Kevin McHale. I’ve been a little hard on McHale in the past for his lack of creativity at the end of games, but his understanding of the value of analytics and shared vision with Morey deserve some credit. His team is one of only five teams to rank in the top ten in both offensive and defensive efficiency, after all.
One-on-One with the Hair - Grantland’s Zach Lowe interviewed Chandler Parsons and discussed a host of topics including being a contender, defense and inflight poker games with the guys. It’s a good read.
What’s one individual skill you’ve really worked on — one thing you watch for on film, when you watch yourself?
I want to be able to guard one through four [point guards through power forwards]. I’ve been trying to get there all year. Tonight, I’m starting on Deron Williams. Last night, I started on Chris Paul. I have to continue to get stronger, guard the post better, guard on pindowns better. With added strength, I think all that will develop better.
Lastly, the Houston Rockets are being sued by a former caterer that worked for the company responsible for the locker room spread at the Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets. The suit claims that Rasean Tate, an openly gay server, was taunted and harassed while working in the Rockets locker room in February of 2013. He was later fired for what he says was punishment for filing a complaint with his company, Levy Restaurant Holdings.
There is surely more to come involving this story, but if it is true it’s deeply disturbing. Jason Collins was still three months away from announcing that he was gay and nearly a year away from signing with the Brooklyn Nets of all teams, but to know that this type of behavior could still exist in a professional environment is lamentable.
The NBA’s history, like all pro leagues, is peppered with discrimination of all types, so you would expect more acceptance from it’s players. No one knows the complete truth yet, but these types of things are typically guilty until proven innocent. It’s unfortunate that it involved the home team.