Rockets Daily: Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

  • Can’t anyone be trusted anymore? First, Daryl Morey promises he won’t deal Kevin Martin right before an onslaught of trade rumors mention his name as trade bait in the Melo Sweepstakes; now, while the Rockets are still trying to get in the Carmelo Anthony business, the team won’t be offering Martin to do so, a fact I’m sure efficiency-mad Rockets fans love to hear. While this news may essentially cement the Rockets in the second-tier of possible destinations for Mr. and Mrs. LaLa Vasquez , it also makes the Rockets one of the few teams immediately ready to contend after an Anthony trade, championship viability being the presumable reason for Anthony’s initial disenchantment with the Nuggets. While the Miami Heat may have made demands like Anthony’s and Chris Paul’s (while it may not technically have been a demand, we all know what Maverick Carter wants, probably better than himself) feasible, it’s their same collusion and aura of seediness that lend such an unflattering glow to Anthony and his preferred destinations. Why Chicago if it’ll have to be gutted simply to get him there? Why New York other than a serious belief in Amare Stoudemire and a nicer place to get bottle service (you know he’s one of those guys)? Why the Clippers if mismanagement turned him off of the Nuggets? The Rockets have and will find themselves in a lot of trade rumors like this thanks to the bevy of assets and aggression Morey has, but this entire scene reeks of Miami-style manipulation without all of Miami’s (expected) results.
  • The 2006-07 Houston Rockets were Jeff Van Gundy’s best defensive team, an amazing effort given that Van Gundy is the second-best defensive coach ever. That team looked so bad on paper, particularly offensively, and it’s remarkable that Van Gundy and former Rockets assistant/current Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau made just about anything out of a team featuring Rafer Alston (who we learned was an above-average defender if nothing else… and there usually turned out to be nothing else), Luther Head and Juwan Howard all getting major minutes in the rotation. I’m sure we all remember that amazing game where only four Houston Rockets scored in a playoff game, a record of playoff mediocrity unlikely to ever be snapped (or, more aptly put, softly broken). Though the season ended in the kind of heartbreak only a few other teams know (losing on the home court after holding several 4th quarter leads), apparently, it was one for the record books.
  • Jonathan Feigen, like Rahat, finds himself seeing shades of McGrady all over when it comes to Melo talks; unsurprisingly, he too thinks the Rockets should do whatever possible (including dealing Martin) to reel in Anthony: “Still, if the Rockets can get Anthony, they would have a chance to become a contender. He is that sort of dynamic scorer. He is not on McGrady’s level as a playmaker was, but just being on the court creates opportunities for Anthony’s teammates. The addition of Courtney Lee with Aaron Brooks, Luis Scola, Kyle Lowry and either Chase Budinger or Jermaine Taylor (or both) would give the Rockets solid starters at every other position along with depth. And Yao Ming, even in his limited role, could give Anthony the inside-out star combination that can compete for championships. The Rockets know better than most that it might not work out that way – or even close to that way – even if they can pull off the deal. But the fact that it did not work last time is not a reason to not try again this time.”
  • In a less than shocking turn of events, The Dream Shake‘s Tom Martin also has feelings on the Melo talks. Unlike most in Houston right now, he’s soured on the deal, scared of the kind of disruption and lack of improvement a Melo-for-Martin trade would involve (this article also has a fantastic photo at the top of it. You know, for your edification): “Lastly, I’d like to address the issue of continuity and overall team chemistry. I don’t know how good or bad a teammate Carmelo Anthony is (aside from the fact that he is jettisoning a team who has recently been on the cusp of contending for a title). It is my guess, however, that the Rockets have become used to having Martin around, and that Martin is fitting in nicely himself. When the Kings trade went down back in February, it was the perfect fit. Daryl Morey got his wish in acquiring one of the most efficient scorers out there. Martin became reunited with Coach Adelman, who might be the perfect coach to emphasize what Martin does best. Then, recently, Brad Miller was brought onboard, a player who mentored Martin during his early days in Sacramento. From a personal comfort zone standpoint, Kevin Martin and the Houston Rockets are a fantastic fit. It makes too much sense, all of it.”
  • If you’re trying to become a Rockets fan (a weird endeavor to just embark upon after reading this deeply into this column), try and lobby the team; cool things might happen.
  • As it turns out, LeBron James isn’t just persona non grata around the NBA these days; it’s slightly more complicated (and by slightly, I mean completely). LeBron’s precipitous Q score fall that was so widely reported last week did not widely publicize the demographics of the study, and looking more closely, it appears that mostly white Americans are so mad at the King. The question of whether such a public power move by a young black man has been what so seriously tarnished the reputation of James or not could evoke some pretty heated discussion; it’s a subject that deserves significantly more than a blurb in a daily column.
  • Do you ever see really cool people, far too cool to be explaining their wardrobe to a fashion dunce like yourself, rocking old Charles Oakley and J.R. Rider jerseys? No? Or only in your fever dreams (like me)? Apparently, according to that bastion of vogue, the New York Times, one can find many a “hoopster” (a portmanteau I not only wish not to, but refuse to explain) walking the streets of NY, looking fresh in his (or her) Keith Van Horn Nets-era reproduction. Adam Wilson further explains this almost-awesome trend: “Walk Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on a sunny Sunday, and you’ll spy any number of young men in vintage N.B.A. jerseys. It’s a safe bet none are headed to the basketball court. Among those to document this fashion/nostalgia trend was the blogger Jeff Sutelman, writing for, where I am an editor. While attending the Pitchfork Music Festival in July in Chicago, Mr. Sutelman, who was wearing a Mark Price Cleveland Cavaliers jersey, noticed he couldn’t go five minutes without seeing others wearing jerseys representing forgotten players like Ed O’Bannon, Glen Rice and Isiah Rider. Later, after Mr. Sutelman wrote about these jerseys, the sports blog asked readers to submit photos of themselves in their favorite jerseys for an online feature. A 75-photgraph series from Lollapalooza had over 52,000 page views.”
  • John McClain explains to Houston Texans fans why their hatred of the Dallas Cowboys cannot be accurately called a rivalry, as one team’s perpetual mediocrity precludes such a statement. As I look down the Rockets’ list of rivals, particularly in recent years (Lakers, Spurs, Maverickss, Jazz), I feel somewhat similarly. Can anyone put on the Charlie-Brown-sulk music as I walk away?

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