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[CBS SPORTS] The lost legend of Yao Ming

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Rockets34Legend, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. Rockets34Legend

    Rockets34Legend Contributing Member

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    http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/22748484/23461909

    You have to remember how good this Rockets team was. Or rather, how good they could have been. In 2006-2007, Yao Ming only played 48 games. He broke his kneecap in December and was sidelined until March. When healthy, Ming averaged 25 points per game (26.6 per 36 minutes), averaged 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game. He had a PER of 26.5 that year, which would have been good enough for second behind Dirk Nowitzki if he had maintained it for the 34 games he missed. The Rockets were fifth in point differential that season, even with Yao missing all those games.

    They finished fourth in SRS , a rating that measures strength of schedule and point differential, but wound up as the fifth seed. Worse yet, they were matched up with the Utah Jazz, a team that for whatever reason, owned Houston completely and totally during the middle 00's. That same Utah team would not only defeat the Rockets, but be gifted with the Golden State Warriors, fresh off their own matchup-oriented upset of the Dallas Mavericks, before falling to the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.

    This was pretty much par for the course for the Rockets. Have a great season, be in position for a high seed, Yao as an MVP candidate. Then a Yao injury and a tough matchup with the Jazz, ending in an out. They finally managed to avoid injury. Finally managed to make it past the Jazz. And wound up against the Lakers in 2008 and looked very much like they had a shot at pushing LA. Broken foot. Done.

    The questions will always be out there. What if Ming stayed healthy? What if Daryl Morey was able to pull of his moves a little sooner? What if Tracy McGrady hadn't been, well, you know, Tracy McGrady. What if things had gone just a little differently for that Rockets team? Not a lot. Just a little.
    There are a million unfair endings for NBA players and teams, just as there are in life. Kermit Washington. Sam Bowie. The Blazers are staring down the barrel of such a situation with Greg Oden. But Ming's was more than just promise. It was delivered. When healthy, Yao Ming was the best center in the NBA. Dwight Howard is an absolute beast. One of the best defensive players you'll ever see. And Yao Ming had him dead to rights because of his touch, discipline, versatility, and range. He had a ridiculous array of moves to go along with his frame.

    Has him. Had him. We're not sure which.

    Ming is scheduled to return this season from the foot injury that cost him all of 2009-2010. But reports today indicate he may hang it up after this season, debating on how it goes. Yao turns 30 this year, and from the quotes he gave to the Chinese reporters, he's taking his usual level-headed approach to it.

    Like I said before, I will quit the national team and the sport one day. It's what happens to every athlete."

    Compare that with Tracy McGrady, Shaquille O'Neal, and Allen Iverson. You may call it a fierce competitor's will to play, I call Ming's attitude class and rationality. And it brings us to an important point.

    This may seem like burying the man's legacy before the heart stops beating. But if this is his last season, we need to soak up whatever few moments we get to watch him play. We need to remind ourselves of how good Yao Ming really was, and can be. A big man with touch is seldom seen these days, and Ming brought a fierceness with him that we first thought would never come. By the time he hit his stride, we had seen the lion inside the lamb, only for the lion's paw to detonate into a million pieces. Every generation has their own lost legend. Yao Ming is this one's.
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. ROCKET!!!

    ROCKET!!! Member

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    Not yet he isn't! Don't count you chickens......
     
  3. Hayden_SFC

    Hayden_SFC Member

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    I'm really gonna miss Yao when he is gone.
    Of course every athlete has to hang it up...eventually.
    But lets not get ahead of ourselves, if Yao returns in good shape and the Rockets win it all this year, everything will be ok.
    After that...maybe two?
     
  4. EffTheJazz!!!

    EffTheJazz!!! Member

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    Damn.. this made me think, are we one of the unluckiest teams ever? :(
     
  5. The Brian

    The Brian Member

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    it's so sad but so true.

    get well yao.
     
  6. SunsRocketsfan

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    i thought we were. but the blazers are pretty damn unlucky..
     
  7. Deckard

    Deckard Blade Runner
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    A very good column. Damn, this cat knows his Rockets. :(
     
  8. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member

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    Nicely written, but I get annoyed when people refer to him as "Ming" instead of "Yao".
     
  9. MightyMog

    MightyMog Member

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    He has made more impact on this sport based on the person vs the NBA player.
    I hope there is a good story at the end....if not I wish the big fella good luck.
     
  10. BasketballReasons

    BasketballReasons Contributing Member

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    What freightens me the most is not the fact that Yao will not be able to play for the team, but that what he brings off the court (china, etc will disappear) That will be very hard to replace for Daryl Morey.
     
  11. johnstarks

    johnstarks Member

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    I'm still hoping for Yao to come back to form a la Big Z. If he does, we got more pieces than ever to make a run. If not, well, it'll be fun to watch, but not as gratifying as a legit chance at a title.
     
  12. ico4498

    ico4498 Member
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    nice piece.

    national writers seldom approach a true assessment of Yao's import. this is a refreshing change.
     
  13. shsu33

    shsu33 Member

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    No we didn't make it past the Jazz, we avoided them. It was 2009 when we played the Lakers.

    So no Deckard, this cat doesn't know the Rox that well
     
  14. Raven

    Raven Member

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    Yao has pride, but he doesn't allow it to control him. It would not surprise me to see him walk away if he's embarrassing himself on the court, which is what all champions should do, and Yao is a champion whether he wins a ring or not. Just like LeChoke will never be a champion no matter how many rings he wins.
     
  15. Deckard

    Deckard Blade Runner
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    OK, so he got an instance wrong, but he sure as hell knows about the luck of the Rockets.
     
  16. thadeus

    thadeus Contributing Member

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    Call me a fool (seriously, go ahead) but I truly believe that Yao will make a full recovery from this.
     
    1 person likes this.
  17. DaneB

    DaneB Member

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    I would really like to see this be Yao's last injury and for him to continue on. I mean look at the careers of Ilgauskas and Hill. They were able to turn things around! Zydrunas had three injury-plagued years before he was finally able to get rid of the bug and then actually went on to have better years ahead of him. Grant Hill had three straight years of injuries, had a good year, got injured again and is still producing! Marcus Camby has had injuries on and off throughout his career, but is still one of the best rebounding/shotblocking big men in the game!

    I have a feeling though that Yao is going to be another story! We haven't seen a big man quite like him since Rik Smits. He was 7'4" and was a really good shooter, obviously Yao is better, but he had foot problems throughout his career as well! He was able to play twelve seasons. Yao has about five more seasons to even get that far! I can't help but to be pessimistic when it comes to the luck of our Rockets! We have had the talent, but we havent been able to fight the injury bug!
     
  18. Rockets007

    Rockets007 Contributing Member

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    Why :confused: :confused:

    That's his first name!
     
  19. Rocket4Life11

    Rocket4Life11 Contributing Member

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    You're not a fool, but a savant.
     
    #19 Rocket4Life11, Jul 27, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2010
  20. topfive

    topfive CF OG

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    Exactly. I wrote this Yao/Z comparison back in 2008:

    http://bbs.clutchfans.net/showthread.php?t=143801

    All hope is not yet lost. There's a reason to be optimistic about Yao's future.
     

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