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Royal Freshness: Houston Rockets: Pretender Or Contender?


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#1 Nirvana

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Posted November 10, 2008 - 04:09 PM

Houston Rockets: Pretender Or Contender?

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By Darth Bynumite:

First of all, I’d like to say that I knew what I wanted to write about on this subject BEFORE the Laker game. What happened in last nights game has had little bearing on what I was going to write about.

Anyway, it’s clear that the Houston Rockets are a team that have the tools to be a Championship team. However, when all of their pieces go together, will the pieces fit? Or will the pieces not match well and therefore leave the jigsaw with an empty gap?

Tracy McGrady told Stephen A Smith that the Rockets were a team built for the Post-Season. Is that so Tmac? Because I really don’t see it, I really don’t. Look Tracy, it seems that at the moment, all of the real Championship contenders have a “big 3”. The Boston big 3, the Lakers big 3 and so forth. So let’s examine your big 3:

Tracy McGrady, Ron Artest, Yao Ming. Now could you please tell me how many playoff series you guys have won combined? Can you tell me how many Championships you guys have won combined? Exactly.

I mean, the Lakers big 3 isn’t exactly the most experienced group, but at least Kobe has won 3, and now Pau has been to a Championship. At least Kobe has experience in hard playoff situations and has come out on top, and now Pau is gaining the experience. You also can’t forget a guy like Derek Fisher who brings a lot of experience as well. Poor Mr. First Round Virgin here has proven useless in the clutch situations. In fact, Yao Ming will probably have a hard time being healthy enough to play most of the season AND the playoffs.

So what are the Rockets to do? Well first of all, they can’t rely on Tracy McGrady. Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard and so forth, these are guys you can RELY on. You KNOW that 95% of the time they will be unstoppable especially in key situations. No star player who plays on a half decent team should not even get out of the 1st round, McGrady.

What else? Don’t rely on Yao. I think you see where this is going, but I’ll continue. Yao for his size really doesn’t have the toughness physically or mentally. He gets out rebounded by guards, blocked by guards, and dunked on by guards. That’s just unacceptable for a starting Center in the league who is a good foot taller than the average height for an NBA player. I don’t know what it’s going to take for Yao to actually just “lose it”. He definitely has improved his rebounding over the last two seasons, but I’d really like to see him get angry and play with some real motivation.

So here we are, with the Rockets, a team who can’t rely on two of their biggest stars in crunch time simply because their two biggest stars are mentally soft. They don’t have the assassin mentally a Kobe Bryant or LeBron James has. Ron Artest goes a LONG way for them , but one guy can only do so much.

What could help the Rockets? Well they are going to have to try and move Tracy McGrady for a younger guy who could possibly be as good as McGrady, but have the winning edge at the same time. There are a lot of good players in the league, who could well have been legendary, but they just lack the winning edge. Lacking the winning edge in key times is the story of this Rockets team, and the first way to start fixing that problem, is having a leading star player with a winning edge mentality.

The fact is, that winning streak last season meant NOTHING to me, because they crashed out of the 1st round like an over achieving lottery team.

The Rockets may get #2 seed, they may even get #1 seed ( I doubt it). Tracy McGrady may look great during the regular season, Yao Ming may look like the 2nd best Center in the league, their offense may not look as bad as it really is, but come playoff time, all their weaknesses and gaps will be exposed in the 1st round and if they are lucky enough, 2nd round. The Rockets are a championship pretender. They will never beat the Hornets, Lakers in the West, or the Celtics in the Finals.

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#2 LALDynasty

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Posted November 10, 2008 - 04:16 PM

very nice man...they are pretenders.you can't call yourself a contender and lose by 30 to a elite team in the west back to the drawing board for the Houston Rockets coaching staff
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#3 Nirvana

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Posted November 10, 2008 - 04:19 PM

very nice man...they are pretenders.you can't call yourself a contender and lose by 30 to a elite team in the west back to the drawing board for the Houston Rockets coaching staff


Thank you for the comment. :blink:
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#4 mikedeezy2k8

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Posted November 10, 2008 - 04:25 PM

yo good article but the rockets are pretenders as long as tracy mcgrady is on their team

Edited by mikedeezy2k8, November 10, 2008 - 04:28 PM.


#5 LaLa

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Posted November 10, 2008 - 04:26 PM

Pretenders for now but in the future contenders, if they get their ish together.

Edited by LaLa, November 10, 2008 - 04:27 PM.

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#6 ファイナルファンタジ

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Posted November 10, 2008 - 04:37 PM

I wouldn't count them out yet. It's still the beginning of the season and there's still a lot that can happen between now and the playoffs. This might be the season where they finally show up in the playoffs, who knows? I'd say they're probably a legit contender until proven wrong. Remember, this team is different from before even though Yao and T-Mac haven't really showed up lately.

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#7 Nirvana

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Posted November 10, 2008 - 04:41 PM

I wouldn't count them out yet. It's still the beginning of the season and there's still a lot that can happen between now and the playoffs. This might be the season where they finally show up in the playoffs, who knows? I'd say they're probably a legit contender until proven wrong. Remember, this team is different from before even though Yao and T-Mac haven't really showed up lately.


The playoffs and the regular season are almost completely different sports. Only way this Rockets team convinces me is if the show up in the PLAYOFFS.
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#8 ファイナルファンタジ

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Posted November 10, 2008 - 04:57 PM

Yeh I know. We'll just have to wait until then. :blink:

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#9 Nirvana

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Posted November 10, 2008 - 06:25 PM

Yeh I know. We'll just have to wait until then. :P


And untill then, all I can do is go by what we've previously seen.
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#10 insert coin here

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Posted November 10, 2008 - 10:08 PM

They are great on paper, then it all ends there...

Yao Ming is slow-footed... he gets blocked by guards (ie. Nate), the guy has no lift at all... he doesn't even box out for rebounds... and you can't rely on him to be a defensive anchor...

T-mac... he's playing like a scrub right now... I mean 0-5 then 1-11 FGs, plus no defense in 2 games... what's up with him?

Alston is garbage... he cannot shoot at all...

No defense, stagnant O, bad chemistry... there is a reason they are 4-3...

Edited by Kwame is in my closet, November 10, 2008 - 10:09 PM.

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#11 popo

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Posted November 10, 2008 - 10:10 PM

Brooks should be starting over Alston.
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#12 MDI

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Posted November 10, 2008 - 10:29 PM

Tmac looks disinterested

I've been reading up on clutchfans.com the Rockets biggest message board and they say that Tracy has matured and understands that performing in the playoffs is really important hence he's taking a back seat in the regular season and saving himself for the playoffs.

If he keeps playing like he did during the weekend in LA he may not even get homecourt advantage of get a chance to play in the playoffs

another first round exit in the making with this roster...healthy or not

Edited by MDI, November 10, 2008 - 11:40 PM.

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#13 wong63

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Posted November 10, 2008 - 10:41 PM

Brooks should be starting over Alston.

what happened to steve francis? he has been on the squad for a while now and still havent seen him play? i thought he would be the one to start.


They are great on paper, then it all ends there...

Yao Ming is slow-footed... he gets blocked by guards (ie. Nate), the guy has no lift at all... he doesn't even box out for rebounds... and you can't rely on him to be a defensive anchor...

T-mac... he's playing like a scrub right now... I mean 0-5 then 1-11 FGs, plus no defense in 2 games... what's up with him?

Alston is garbage... he cannot shoot at all...

No defense, stagnant O, bad chemistry... there is a reason they are 4-3...

no defense? you cant say that this early in the season plus they dont have Battier yet so i know they will be better, also offense will come with yao/tmac/artest ,and def. look for them to get it together with the chem later in the season..remember last season they had one of the best defenses in the league.

Edited by wong63, November 10, 2008 - 10:45 PM.


#14 ファイナルファンタジ

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Posted November 10, 2008 - 11:02 PM

And untill then, all I can do is go by what we've previously seen.

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#15 Nirvana

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Posted November 11, 2008 - 07:14 AM

Tmac looks disinterested

I've been reading up on clutchfans.com the Rockets biggest message board and they say that Tracy has matured and understands that performing in the playoffs is really important hence he's taking a back seat in the regular season and saving himself for the playoffs.

If he keeps playing like he did during the weekend in LA he may not even get homecourt advantage of get a chance to play in the playoffs

another first round exit in the making with this roster...healthy or not


Saving himself for the post-season my [expletive] :lol:.

He doesn't have the mental strength, he doesn't have that "overdrive" ability that I talked about. I'm sorry, but him and the Rockets are going to have to part ways at some point. TMac would be GREAT on a team who has another real dominant player, but not on the Rockets.
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#16 L.A.K.E.R

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Posted November 11, 2008 - 11:23 AM

Saving himself for the post-season my [expletive] :lol:.

He doesn't have the mental strength, he doesn't have that "overdrive" ability that I talked about. I'm sorry, but him and the Rockets are going to have to part ways at some point. TMac would be GREAT on a team who has another real dominant player, but not on the Rockets.


Exactly what I was thinking about typing :thumbsdown:

#17 Nirvana

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Posted November 11, 2008 - 12:57 PM

Exactly what I was thinking about typing :clap:


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#18 fido

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Posted November 11, 2008 - 02:12 PM

Totally agree with you Darth.

Tracy is a really good player, but I think of him like Nowitzki. hen you first get a glimpse of them you think they can carry a team no problem. However, when things get rough or competition starts tightening up, they fade.

That's not the sign of someone that suddenly wakes up.

I honestly think McGrady is a heck of a talented player and if it weren't for his Grant Hill style health luck, he may have been even better. But that underlying drive isn't something you learn typically. You can get motivated, but its not the same as that Magic / Kobe kind of will that can get you and an entire city to the top.

When you really get down to it - any team with Adelman at the helm will not win squat. They may do alright in the regular season, but the guy has no comprehension on how to get a team to the ultimate goal. He's a chump and the teams he coaches eventually become the same.

Portland - Adelman's first stint, was great in the regular season, gave the Lakers some trouble in the playoffs but never got over the hump.

Golden State - he couldn't get them fired up enough to ever use the pretty decent tools they had at the time. Granted the team wasn't spectacular, but Adelman did nothing to push the team further.

Sacramento - Again, great regular seasons, gave the Lakers some trouble in the playoffs, but ultimately they didn't know how to win in crunch time.

you are what you consistently do - and Adelman consistently loses when ti matters most.

#19 Nirvana

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Posted November 11, 2008 - 07:35 PM

Totally agree with you Darth.

Tracy is a really good player, but I think of him like Nowitzki. hen you first get a glimpse of them you think they can carry a team no problem. However, when things get rough or competition starts tightening up, they fade.

That's not the sign of someone that suddenly wakes up.

I honestly think McGrady is a heck of a talented player and if it weren't for his Grant Hill style health luck, he may have been even better. But that underlying drive isn't something you learn typically. You can get motivated, but its not the same as that Magic / Kobe kind of will that can get you and an entire city to the top.

When you really get down to it - any team with Adelman at the helm will not win squat. They may do alright in the regular season, but the guy has no comprehension on how to get a team to the ultimate goal. He's a chump and the teams he coaches eventually become the same.

Portland - Adelman's first stint, was great in the regular season, gave the Lakers some trouble in the playoffs but never got over the hump.

Golden State - he couldn't get them fired up enough to ever use the pretty decent tools they had at the time. Granted the team wasn't spectacular, but Adelman did nothing to push the team further.

Sacramento - Again, great regular seasons, gave the Lakers some trouble in the playoffs, but ultimately they didn't know how to win in crunch time.

you are what you consistently do - and Adelman consistently loses when ti matters most.


Good post.

It's all about what I said about having a "winning edge". I keep repeating it, but a "winning edge" seperates the players from the chumps. The Rockets just don't have enough players (or a coach) who can make a difference. I'd like to see their team pull of a couple of big changes to make the difference.

Edited by Darth Bynumite, November 11, 2008 - 07:35 PM.

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