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someone get these articles to Rudy T. Maybe this will make him see what everyone else

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by forenzi, Dec 23, 2002.

  1. forenzi

    forenzi Contributing Member
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    I am not sure if these have been posted yet since the search option is currenlty disabled but these articles hit it right on the money.

    http://www.startribune.com/stories/506/3549002.html

    Published Dec. 22, 2002 DANB22

    Contrary to November's conventional wisdom, new Houston Rockets center Yao Ming was not on track to become the worst center in the history of the modern NBA. Contrary to December's conventional wisdom, Yao is not quite ready for the Basketball Hall of Fame.

    The truth, as was evident in the Timberwolves' 98-86 victory over the Rockets at Target Center on Saturday night, is somewhere in between.

    Yes, Yao has considerable skill, and as Flip Saunders said, a remarkable calmness to his game, especially for someone just becoming familiar with a different game in a strange new land. But Yao also has much to learn about the ways and means of the NBA.

    For example, he will have to learn to grin and bear on it on the nights when his perimeter-happy teammates continue a long-standing propensity to fling shots, sometimes really stupid ones, from almost anywhere on the court.

    The Rockets have several players, notably Cuttino Mobley and Glen Rice, who like to shoot early and often from the outside.

    This is something that Hakeem Olajuwon, the last great Rockets center, was forced to digest late in his distinguished career. This is something that Yao, the next great Rockets center, will have to learn at the start of his career.

    Saturday night, the Rockets put on one of those maddening displays. Rice took 12 shots in 26 minutes, and he missed eight.

    He was 1-for-6 from three-point range. Mobley was 0-for-6 from three-point range.

    The Rockets took 19 three-pointers overall (making two). On nights when they hit their perimeter shots, they look like they can beat anybody. But on nights when the shots are clanking early and often, you would think that one of these years they would get the message.

    But the Rockets are awfully stubborn, as Yao, who took only 13 of the Rockets' 82 shots, no doubt is figuring out. Yao, by the way, entered the game as a 58.3 percent shooter. Mobley is at 41.7 and Rice at 42.2. "Guys just dribbled up and pulled up and took shots, and that hurts us," admitted Rockets guard Steve Francis.

    Yet Saunders insists that for Yao, there is a blessing to this madness. "Lately they've done a pretty good job at getting him plenty of touches," the Wolves coach said. "And even if he's not taking that many shots, it might help him early because it will keep the pressure off him."

    It will, only if the other Rockets figure out that eventually Yao should be the fellow that gets the most shots not just every third or fourth night, but every single night.

    "He's the second-best center in the league already, all things considered," Saunders said. "Offensively, he's got a lot of skill, and once he gets the ball down low, it's over. He already changes the way you have to play."

    On Saturday night, he started slowly. Rasho Nesterovic, who has shown notable signs of improvement, was the better center in the first quarter. Yet there were moments, especially the rest of the game, when Yao was merciless. He put an explosive drop-step move on Nesterovic in which he was 15 feet from the basket one moment and right at the goal the next.

    He had a thunderous follow slam dunk. He had a nifty one-handed, Arvydas Sabonis-like pass to Rice for an easy hoop, and blocked a shot by Nesterovic. He also had a shot blocked by Joe Smith, and turned over the ball six times.

    Yao finished with 12 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, three blocked shots and one steal.

    The most refreshing thing of all? He got smacked around, he got double-and triple-teamed, and he did not complain even once, in any language. He didn't even whine after the game. "Teams are changing their defenses," he said through an interpreter. "I need to work and challenge myself to come out and play better. If they're going to switch their defense, I need to change my offense."

    Said Kevin Garnett: "It's his first year and he's got that hype and people want to see if it's real or not. Is this true? People see that this is supposed to be the best guy from overseas in the last 10 years and it's like, 'OK, come here and prove it.' "

    This must be the depressing part for Minnesota: When the Wolves came into the league, the Rockets had a franchise center named Olajuwon. Now, the Rockets have another one.

    The Wolves, who have tried no fewer than 20 centers in 14 seasons, are still looking for their first.

    -- Dan Barreiro is at dbarreiro@startribune.com.


    This article is from www.************.com
    Latest summary
    as of 12/22/02
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The game against the Timberwolves was almost a carbon copy of the previous night's game against Atlanta. The Rockets fell behind in the first quarter and trailed at the half (by 11 points Friday night, 8 points Saturday night). And the Rockets made runs in the third quarters of both games to take the lead. But against the T-Wolves, they went the opposite direction of the "team concept" in the fourth quarter we had seen against the Hawks and had hoped would stick. By jacking up stupid shots that didn't entail any passing or even someone positioned well under the basket who could get a rebound, the Rockets shot themselves out of the game. As a result, the 4th quarter was a microcosm of the entire season last year. I guess bad habits are hard to break.

    How can a team forget so quickly what had worked for them the previous night? Is it just ego that makes you believe you can hit any shot? Why can't this be fixed? Is fatigue a big factor in making humans bodies' do things the brain says shouldn't be attempted? Is it coaching, or undisciplined players? The physical talent seems to be there, but the neurons don't seem to be firing correctly when it comes to making the right decisions in clutch periods.

    You would see even more serious ripping of the Rockets in this column if it weren't for a few Rudy T. quotes I read that acknowledged the problem, such as, "We took a couple early, early long shots that just were unnecessary in this situation. I don't mind it after penetration when there is a rhythm to it. We've got to get better in those areas." His frustration is evident, but how about calling a timeout to get things back on track before it's too late?

    Even Steve Francis was frustrated: "You use your energy getting back in the game and it was our execution down the stretch that resulted in us losing. Guys just dribbled up and pulled up and took shots, and that hurt us. Last night, we drove and kicked, and we were able to come back. Tonight we came back, and just couldn't get over the hump."

    So who are the guys they are talking about? I'll go ahead and name them if you didn't see the game.
    Down 73-78, Mobley attempted a three with 13 seconds on the shot clock
    Down 80-88, Mobley holds onto the ball for about 7 seconds and attempts a three
    Down 82-92, Maurice Taylor shoots near the 3-point line, well outside of his range, with 9 seconds on the shot clock
    Down 82-92 on a fast break, Rice attempts a trey with 19 seconds on the shot clock
    For the record, I think all of these players could help take Houston to great heights, but there comes a time when the higher percentage shots need to be taken, namely by like giving the ball to Yao (more on that in a moment).

    On the bright side, Mo Taylor seems to be getting his form back. On Friday night he looked good against the Hawks by shooting 3-for-6 from the field. On Saturday he kept the Rockets close in the fourth quarter by hitting 3 straight shots leading up to the shot described above, and finished with a respectable 5-for-8 from the floor with 11 points.

    The Yao report

    Yao had 12 points on 4-for-9 shooting (4-for-4 from the line), 12 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 blocks. Can someone tell me why the Rockets sometimes forget they have a dominant player (who everybody is now raving about) but don't utilize to the max? Yao took one shot in the first quarter (the quarter where they fell behind), and no shots in the 4th quarter (the one where they needed him most). Yao may be a nice guy who might not be taking shots out of consideration to keeping his teammates involved, but Rudy needs to either tell Yao to take more shots or tell his teammates to get him the ball where he can take shots. Some games it seems to happen, other games it doesn't. Why it isn't all the time, we can't figure out.

    Even Mychal Thompson, the Minnesota color analyst, was asking the same thing when Mobley jacked up an inopportune trey: "Oh, that's crazy. I don't understand this. You got Yao Ming on the court. It's like having Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the court and you don't go to him. He may not be as good as Kareem yet, but my goodness…"

    He's ready to be The Guy

    We did some analysis and discovered the Rockets are 4-1 when Yao shoots the ball at least 10 times a game and has 6 or more free throw attempts (equivalent to three field goal attempts where he's fouled). The lone loss in this statistic was against the Mavericks, a team playing in a different stratosphere this season. Any other team than the Mavs, and they would be 5-0. Given those numbers, why doesn't that drive the game plan every night?

    Any talk about Yao being a rookie and needing a few more years to take this team deep in the playoffs is bunk. The Rockets should realize that Yao is so special, the sky is the limit THIS season. Yao has the capability to do the same thing Magic Johnson did his rookie season to lead his team to the NBA Finals. Any talk about doing that "in a few years" is not the mindset you want in trying to maximize a player's talents today. When Magic won the championship back in his rookie season, were people saying, "Don't give him the ball so much. He's not ready." Of course not. We believe if the Rockets don't make Yao shoot at least 10 field goals and 6 free throws a game, the Rockets won't maximize their potential.

    So any excuses about how tough back-to-back games are, how the Rockets got into Minnesota at 2:00 a.m. and might have been tired, etc., are self-fulfilling prophecies that would limit their ability to win it all. This Rocket team can be the Anaheim Angels of basketball this year and shock the world if they shoot for the loftiest of goals AND BELIEVE. Hell, even Pacer coach Isiah Thomas said he believes the Rockets could make the Finals this year.

    To get there, they need to take on a Tiger Woods-like mentality where they develop the discipline to execute in the final round (or fourth quarter in basketball terms). The guy who can help them do that is a similarly incredible athlete who is as fundamentally sound, 'automatic,' and brilliant as they come on a basketball court. If Yao-fans, Rocket fans or the Rockets ever doubt they can win it all by putting this team on Yao's back, they just need to ask themselves the following question, "If Magic was capable of doing it, why not Yao?"
     
  2. basketball

    basketball Contributing Member

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    I think more importantly is how can the Rockets get the ball to Yao consistently where he can do something with it. A few times when Yao touch the ball he is too far from the basket to get a good percentage shot. When he doesn't have position yet, they should swing the ball around to give him time to get a better angle. At other time, the clock is winding so he doesn't have enough time to decide what to do. In the Atlanta games, Rice throw the ball into Yao when he flash across the paint. He didn't hesistate to throw it in. The results are either Yao got foul and go to the line or he ccan shoot an easy shot. They kind of went away from this in our last game. I think the Rockets are not use to play with a big men so sometimes a good entry pass is difficult for them. They need to get the ball to Yao early in the shot clock and where he could do something with the ball. I don't think the Rockets have install all the offense they want to run for Yao. I think with more practice time they will be more efficient as far as getting him the ball.
     
  3. Franchize3

    Franchize3 Member

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    Anyone notice how open Yao is on the screen/pick and roll. All he has to do is get the ball and take one step and its either a slam or a foul. Yao really couldn't be stopped in this situation.

    But obviously, the key phrase above is: "get the ball..."
     
  4. nineteen

    nineteen Member

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    Guys,

    Great posts. Great article. Everyone knows what Rudy has but him. Sad! Players come and go. They are hot and cold. Rudy is the constant. Ming is 7'6 and the basket is 10'. The math is to easy. Rudy loves excuses, so his players have grasped the fine art of deflection like their coach. In the famous words of EX-Colts coach Jim Mora, Playoffs?! Playoffs?! Not with Rudy!
     
  5. SLA

    SLA Member

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    Why does Yao fake when he has possession of the ball and is right under the basket. He should just jump up and throw it down and he'll get the foul too.
    Everybody knows Yao is good...even Shaq and AI, but he's only a rookie! Do you all remember we were 28-54 last year? We sucked. Now we are expecting to win all of the games? This is his first year in America! Hakeem Olajuwon won his first championship after 10 years. Shaq- 7 years. It's not going to happen right away. Lebron James won't help the Cleveland Cavaliers win a championship.
    ANYWAYS...somebody really needs to talk to Rudy. Somebody call Calvin Murphy and tell him to tell Rudy everything that he says on TV every game.
     
  6. nineteen

    nineteen Member

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    SLA,

    I'm with you. I've suggested Murph take over the coaching! The players will listen and they will be fundamentally sound. Murph would sit them if they don't comprehend what he teaches.
     
  7. SLA

    SLA Member

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    I hope you're not being sarcastic.

    But Calvin Murphy has been giving good advice. Sometimes, he just sits there while Bill Worrell does all the talking. But he is a wonderful commentator.
     
  8. B-ball freak

    B-ball freak Contributing Member

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    This is hilarious. Very few expected the Rocks to be better than a .500 team or Yao becoming a factor this year. People are so durn impatient.
     
  9. nineteen

    nineteen Member

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    SLA,

    I'm being serious. Murph has a higher basketball IQ than Rudy. We know that he won't play favorites and the players will compete or sit. The Rox say that they love family. Murph is family. He was a more decorated player than Rudy will ever be. Murph is in the College Hall of Fame.
     
  10. Puedlfor

    Puedlfor Contributing Member

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    How exactly do you know this? Judging by his extensive coaching past?
     
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