Rockets Daily – Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Daily Factoid: Hakeem Olajuwon averaged 4.75 more points than Shaquille O’Neal during the Houston Rockets’ 4-0 sweep over the Orlando Magic in the 1995 Finals.

  • Jonathan Feigen – ‘The NBA’s International incident: Perspectives clash’: “Luis Scola looked horrified even at the suggestion that something might have kept him from playing for Argentina in the FIBA World Championship this month. He was familiar with the dilemma teammates have faced. San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili, long an Argentina national team star with Scola, has battled injuries, some incurred while playing international events. He will not play this summer, a decision Scola endorsed. Rockets teammate Yao Ming, a frequent lightning rod of debate about the risks and rewards inherent in national team commitments, has repeatedly indicated he’d retire from international competition. Under the circumstances, Scola can’t blame him. Scola, however, reported for training camp in Buenos Aires as usual last week, unwilling to consider anything else.’I didn’t even think about a team not allowing me to play for the national team,’ Scola said. ‘We didn’t even talk about it. I didn’t even think about it’… ‘For me, it’s never been a question,” Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said. ‘With Yao Ming, that was part of the agreement of him coming (to the NBA). But I do think there are benefits to playing internationally, staying in shape primarily, staying in basketball readiness. ‘With Luis Scola, it’s similar to Yao Ming. Anyone who knows him knows that playing basketball for Argentina is like oxygen for him. To ask him to not play would be extraordinarily difficult to do, even if we wanted to, and we don’t.’”
  • Jonathan Feigen – ‘Yao, Rockets set for series in China against the Nets’: “When Yao Ming’s long wait to return to the court is over, he won’t have to wait long to be back on the floor in China. The NBA will today announce its long-expected China Games schedule, two individuals with knowledge of the deals said on Tuesday. The Rockets will face the New Jersey Nets Oct. 13 in Wukesong Arena, one of the primary venues in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and Oct. 16 in Guangzhou’s International Sports Arena.”
  • Credit YaoMingMania for finding this video of Yao Ming’s shootaround without his boot.
  • Jonathan Feigen – ‘Rockets to open season at Lakers on TNT double-header’: “A season after the Rockets were excluded from the schedules of the NBA’s primary national broadcasters, they will tip-off the season Oct. 26 in Los Angeles against the Lakers to complete TNT’s opening-night double-header.”
  • Shaquille O’Neal hilariously challenged Hakeem Olajuwon to a game of one on one after losing to the Rockets in the 1995 Finals.
  • Ball Don’t Lie – ‘Create a caption: Vintage Brad Miller headband lunacy’
  • ESPN – ‘Sources: Shaquille O’Neal, Celts close’: “Free-agent center Shaquille O’Neal will likely sign with the Boston Celtics, as soon as Tuesday night or Wednesday, sources told ESPN The Magazine’s Chris Broussard… Pressed if he would feel weird putting on a Celtics jersey after spending time with the Lakers, O’Neal simply shook his head and said, ‘No.’”
  • ESPN – ‘Magic resign Jason Williams’: “Jason Williams is returning to the Orlando Magic. The Magic announced Tuesday that they re-signed the free-agent point guard, adding depth to their backcourt with another reliable veteran. The 34-year-old will become Orlando’s third point guard along with starter Jameer Nelson and recently signed Chris Duhon.”
  • Charlie Rosen – ‘How much longer will Kobe stay great?’: “The fact that Kobe Bryant will be 32 years old when the new season commences raises a concern about how long he can operate at a championship-caliber level…Since the only player in NBA history with similar skills was Michael Jordan, some relevant comparisons are useful… Before his initial abbreviated retirement, Jordan had played nine seasons, won three championships and averaged a total of 38.7 minutes per game. This includes the 17 games MJ played in 1985-86 when he broke a foot. Prior to his own 32nd birthday, Kobe has played in 14 seasons, won five championships, and averaged 36.6 minutes per game… Jordan bought into this philosophy during the Bulls initial championship over the Lakers in 1991, thereby saving his body from being unnecessarily pounded on by heavier and stronger big men. Kobe, however, spent most of his earlier Jacksonian-seasons aborting the triangle. His super-macho ego dictated that he challenge even the biggest bigs by stubbornly driving the ball into the paint no matter what physical abuse awaited him there. Whereas Jordan’s major injuries were suffered either very early or very late in his career, Kobe’s body parts are just beginning to break down. Witness his current knee surgery and his mangled finger. If Jordan could quickly recover from his own knee surgery at 22, at age 32, Kobe’s full recovery will take longer. MJ had the power to easily become more of a post-up scorer whose fadeaway jumpers avoided contact. When Kobe does try to establish himself in the low post, his outlay of energy is considerable. So, even though he’s a magnificently conditioned athlete (perhaps the most fit in the league), it’s hard to imagine Kobe’s scoring over 20 ppg eight years from now. And his probable failure to equal MJ’s longevity can ultimately be traced to Kobe’s youthful egomania.”
  • Mike Schmitz of the Valley of the Suns argues that Hedo Turkoglu can defend power fowards .
  • ESPN – ‘Timberwolves waive Delonte West’: ‘The Minnesota Timberwolves have waived guard Delonte West. West was acquired from Cleveland with Sebastian Telfair on July 26 in a trade that sent point guard Ramon Sessions and center Ryan Hollins to the Cavaliers. But West’s $4.6 million contract was guaranteed for only $500,000 if he was waived by Wednesday.’
  • Tom Sunnergren of the Philadunkia 76ers: “Evan Turner, while not a guy with overwhelming physical skills, is very good at everything there is to be good at on a basketball court.  He scores often and efficiently.  He owns the boards.  He has great court vision, soft touch, and the assists to prove it.  He gets steals.  He blocks the ball well.  He’s good from the line.  Evan Turner can be any kind of player he wants to be– the question is what kind of player is that?… So I asked him.  And he patiently signed more autographs while he answered.    “I want to make my teammates better,” he told me…I asked him if there any other players in the game, past or present who he views as an analog for himself, that he patterns himself after? “A lot of people say Brandon Roy, and he’s a great player, but…” What about Grant Hill? “Yes,” his eyes widened and he smiled, “I definitely see Grant Hill.  People have been telling me that for a long time.  I like the comparison.  Coach Collins made me a highlight-tape of him playing in Detroit that I watch.  I would love to have a career like his.  I like his game a lot.” This is very good news. Grant Hill, while not only having a very similar build and skill set as Turner, represents just about everything that is good about basketball. To quote a certain former-Sixers-coach, he plays the game the right way. He also played it, briefly, better than anybody else. He was the most productive player in basketball during the 1996-1997 season; a season during which he was coached by Doug Collins.”
  • Jeremy Schmidt of Bucksketball traces and evaluates the moves made by Bucks GM John Hammond the past two years.
  • NBA Playbook dissects Derrick Rose’s new jump shot.
  • Chris Tomasson – ‘Nuggets Shake Up Front Office, Dismiss Mark Warkentien, Rex Chapman’: “You’ve heard of the jinx of being named NBA Coach of Year. There might not be one for Executive of the Year, but Mark Warkentien on Tuesday did become the fourth of the last seven to leave a team within three years of winning the award. The Denver Nuggets announced on Tuesday that Warkentien, the vice president of basketball operations who won the award in 2008-09 and whose contract expires Aug. 31, would not be retained. In a major front-office shakeup, the Nuggets also announced vice president of player personnel Rex Chapman, whose contract also expires Aug. 31, would not return.”
  • Kevin Arnovitz breaks down the NBA’s teaser schedule.
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