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chron--More power to Thomas

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by feishen, Dec 8, 2002.

  1. feishen

    feishen Member

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    This Dale Robersron guy is pretty outspoken. Once again, he nails on the problem of Rox.
    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/sports/bk/bkn/1693721
    More power to Thomas
    By DALE ROBERTSON
    Copyright 2002 Houston Chronicle
    Before the season's over, the Rockets figure to need all three of their power forwards. But, for now, as we suspected going into this thing, there aren't anywhere near enough minutes to go around for Kenny Thomas, Eddie Griffin and Mo Taylor.

    So Rudy Tomjanovich has to dole out the playing time as he sees fit. That's how Taylor went from starting in New Orleans on Friday night to DNP-ing -- "coaches decision" -- against the Sixers on Saturday evening.

    Rudy T can hardly be accused of playing favorites, though. He's riding the hot hand and that happens to be the one connected to Thomas' right wrist. In back-to-back starts, Taylor failed to hit any of his eight shots, whereas Thomas came off the bench against the Hornets and promptly went off for 29 points.

    It should have surprised nobody then that Kenny would be in the lineup for Philadelphia, or that he would hog two-thirds of the minutes awarded the Rockets' trio of fours.

    But it likely upset Taylor nonetheless. When the Rockets' dressing room opened after their immensely satisfying 97-72 victory over a Philly team that had won 15 of its first 19 games, Mo had motored. He was gone. There was no trace of him save for an empty hanger dangling in his locker.

    "It's a tough, tough deal," Tomjanovich had said only moments earlier. "I love all these guys. I've tried to get (Taylor) going, and he's had some great practices. It just hasn't happened for him yet. I feel for the guy. I really do. But there will be other opportunities for him. There always are."

    Griffin, even at 20, has learned that. He could speak for Mo because he has been there himself and not done that, either, taking his own DNP on Nov. 27 at Golden State, then getting on the floor for only eight minutes in the next game two nights later in Seattle.

    Since, he has played 17 minutes twice, nine minutes and 16 vs. Philly, including the entire second quarter when he scored seven points, grabbed five rebounds and blocked two shots.

    But Thomas would be Tomjanovich's choice in the second half. Finishing with 14 points on 5-for-10 shooting, seven rebounds and six assists, he didn't give way to Griffin again until the win was safely tucked away. The kid came back in just for garbage time. Taylor, on the other hand, would be the lone Rocket to never strip off his warm-ups. Even Bostjan Nachbar and Terence Morris made cameos.

    Like Rudy, Eddie also used "tough" to describe the power forward "situation."

    "It's hard to keep your focus when you're sitting," he said. "It's mental. You just have to accept it and be patient. Do the best you can when you're out there."

    Because Taylor has looked fine in workouts, Tomjanovich declined to concede that Mo's drug suspension at the outset of the season, after he had had missed all of last year while he rehabbed a torn Achilles' tendon, has left him badly out of sync and suffering from dead legs. But given his history as an offensive force, it's obvious something's not right.

    The two recent starts were intended not as rewards for anything he had done but rather to try to light his fire. Instead, he struggled more than ever and, with Thomas having found his range after recovering from a broken thumb suffered during the preseason, Mo figures to be consigned to the far end of the bench until further notice.

    But Griffin knows he has to watch his back. Any backsliding ...

    "We can't all play as much as we'd like," he said. "But Kenny's playing great, so it's his position (to keep) for now."

    He grinned.

    "I guess the best thing for Mo and me," Griffin said, "is for Kenny to move to the three."

    And he has played there effectively. But in the best of all worlds, that's Glen Rice's position. Because Rice's shooting range is greater than Thomas', the Rockets are much better served having him in the lineup when he's sweet stroking, which he was at the outset against the Sixers. Rice had 10 points before six minutes had elapsed.

    Of course, he had 10 when the game was over.

    No matter. The Rockets' offensive balance was beautifully displayed at the Sixers' expense, with all five starters reaching double figures. More impressive still was the Rockets' stifling defense, which held Philly to 37.7 percent shooting and easily its lowest scoring output of the young season in large part because Allen Iverson managed a scant 11 on 5-of-19 shooting.

    Those kinds of stats are bad news for Taylor, who never has shown excessive passion for covering people.

    If the Rockets don't need Mo's scoring, they don't need him at all as long as Thomas is healthy and Griffin keeps his brain in gear. It appears Taylor will remain the odd man out unless something bad happens to Thomas or Griffin, or until Eddie wanders back into Rudy's doghouse. We assume Kenny is beyond such a regression.

    "There's definitely pressure to perform," Griffin said. "I've got to keep getting better every chance I get."

    And Taylor has to get a lot better the next chance he gets.
     
  2. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    He's absolutely right. Ming, Francis, Mobley, and Rice can score. The Rockets don't need their power forward taking weak jumpers and getting 4 boards a game. Kenny Thomas will hussle the entire game. He will struggle against tough opponents but he's better than average, and the best option right now.

    And I don't think the Rockets could unload Mo even if they wanted to, so he'll just have to get to know Boki and Tito a little better.
     
  3. rockets688

    rockets688 Member

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    This little logjam at PF should be used to our advantage, perhaps a trade for 1st round picks? Another solid rookie in this lineup in next year's draft....dare I say the word "dynasty" ?
     
  4. JBIIRockets

    JBIIRockets Contributing Member

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    Thomas having found his range??? what range? 4 feet?? Dale is not watching the same game I am. KT's perimeter game (with the excpetion of the first half against N.O.) has been horrible all season.

    Mo Taylor is not gonna get traded, so it would be in the Rockets' best interest to give Taylor more and more minutes so he can gather a rhythm.

    Taylor has no clue whether or not he will start games, doesn't know if he will play 5 minutes or 25 minutes. No wonder why he can't get into a comfort zone offensively.

    When Mo Taylor misses a couple of shots in a row, keep him in the game, and let him work the rust off. The guy has a better perimeter game than Thomas. Don't just yank the guy after three minutes.

    He was called "first quarter Mo" two seasons ago for a reason.

    The Rockets made a financial commitment to Maurice Taylor, not Kenny Thomas. Let's see what their 50 million dollar man can do with consistent minutes. He might just average 17 PPG like he did three seasons ago. Or he might help the Rockets finish with a playoff-esk winning record, like he did two years ago.

    Mo Taylor has skills. He just needs to get comfortable.
     
  5. DearRock

    DearRock Contributing Member

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    JB, I totally disagree with you. Rudy was fair to all the guys and MoT has not responded adequately. Thanks god we have the luxury of waiting for him. You will agree that he has is limitations as a PF. So unless he gets back his shot and start playing proper defense he will not get back in. He also have to hope that EG does not make it back. If EG does then MoT's only hope is that KT moves to the 3, which will be difficult if Tmo and Rice continue to man that spot. MoT still can do to lose some more weight and take this opportunity to upgrade his game which is key to his survival in Houston.

    Regarding the investment, it is transferable. Someone may have a need for him or we can entice them to have a need if you know what I mean. So if it is transferable then we do not need to compound it by going way above the call of duty to help him along. Remember, despite the investment, we paid a big price for EG. If we thought MoT was all that then we would have kept our draft picks and go in a different direction. We also have alot invested in Thomas and I believe that the team will not let KT leave. Certainly not on account of MoT. No way jose!
     
  6. barbourdg

    barbourdg Contributing Member

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    If that was the case, then the Rockets would of given him a contract.

    Anybody want to explain why Keith Van Horn, schooled him so bad last night? I thought he was our best defender?
     
  7. ricerocket

    ricerocket Member

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    MT will be there just like people doubted Rice, Yao and KT. He just needs to get in a groove and have a break out game like KT did.
     
  8. ACL1

    ACL1 Member

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    I agree MoT has offensive skills. The problem is The rox do not need any of their PF's right now. With Ming doing the scoring, they need a pF that rebounds, bangs, defends, and is another force next to the ming in the defensive end, so when Rudy goes w/ his crazy three guard line up yao does not get stuck in the middle trying to do it all. Non of the 3 fours are like that.

    It sounds crazy but the best thing is to start cato at 4, it gives them muscle that they need at that spot, plus he does not demand the ball on offence he is there to clean up.

    scoring can come from the other 4 spots on the floor.
     
  9. thumbs

    thumbs Contributing Member

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    I wouldn't mind seeing Rudy experiment with Jason Collier at PF while Taylor finds his game and Eddie reaches physical maturity. Collier has size and shooting touch and is more suited to PF than center.
     
  10. ricerocket

    ricerocket Member

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    Collier is fine right where he is...
     
  11. University Blue

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    I support the idea of Houston showcasing Thomas. Taylor is clearly the best PF on the team -- he has the perimeter game, the body/strength to score in the post, and on a team of scorers, the willingness to pass the ball to his teammates.


    University (Taylor-Made) Blue
     
  12. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    Jesus christ. . . . .KT BASHING HAS REACHED NEW HEIGHTS

    Someone is willing to BY PASS MoT and ED GRIFF to put COLLIER
    in the starting lineup. . . .just to get him out of the line up
    :rolleyes: :mad:

    color me AMAZED

    Rocket River
     
  13. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    KT, finally getting his props.

    <b>"Mo had motored. He was gone. "</b>

    Is this like being a malcontent by pleading the 5th? ;)

    Anyone else think that Kenny's so-called "malcontent" attitude was more about him honestly believing that he was just flat out the best power forward on the team in camp. That's what I've always suspected was behind his "whatever" approach to the logjam, and he damn sure is proving it to me. Robertson and Feigen both are pointing out the obvious, that the Rockets defense is the main Rudy focus this year, and like Dale said, that hurts Mo's chances, if defense continues to improve and the Rockets get known for it.

    11 assists in 2 games (his best games) certainly debunks any "black hole," "playing for a contract" style. I just don't see that whatsoever. Our PFs are required to ISO, just like many in the NBA are, but we can see now with Mobley back on Yao feeling confortable that the plan always was for a new motion offense, and it is producing assists from everyone.

    <b>"Kenny's playing great, so it's his position (to keep) for now . . . There's definitely pressure to perform." Griffin said. "I've got to keep getting better every chance I get."</b>

    This is why competition is a good thing. Kenny is going to force Griffin and Mo to play better. Once that happens, then I whole-heartedly agree with what Eddie also said, we get to put Kenny back at the three. But *both* Eddie and Mo have to play better and much more consistently for that.

    Kenny at the 3 is Rudy's plan. I'd like to see that. Keep Kenny in there for the zone defense he plays, and get Eddie in there for his roving blocking, and also get Mo in there for his shooting. KT makes that plan work, imo.

    University Blue,

    Why do you call this "showcasing Kenny." I truly do not believe that is based in fact whatsoever, and Eddie clearly disagrees with you in his comments about Kenny is playing the best right now. Rudy is not showcasing anyone. Rudy is fielding the best performing. The "showcasing" idea would mean that Rudy is not fielding the best performers, which would mean he would be playing KT at the expense of wins. Clearly that is not happening. We now have 2 games in a row under our belt of beautiful motion offense, and KT contributed 5 assists and 6 assists, respectively.

    The KT bashing has to stop. Learn to love his game...he's got game, and he is a very smart player. What I'm seeing is he is adjusting his game as Rudy adjusts it, just like Mobley is. And his jumper does look like it is returning (never as good as Mo's, but certainly fine for a PF)...apparently that was only about the broken thumb.
     
  14. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    <blockquote><hr>Originally posted by JBIIRockets
    Taylor has no clue whether or not he will start games, doesn't know if he will play 5 minutes or 25 minutes. No wonder why he can't get into a comfort zone offensively. <hr></blockquote>
    Do you really buy this argument? One of the halftime Fan Questions of the Game was about this, and Calvin flat out rejected any notion that people need minutes to get into the flow. He said "that is just an excuse, you need to play every minute the same."

    Maurice then said in a recent article that he was going to work hard every minute he played.

    And Griffin in this article says, "It's hard to keep your focus when you're sitting. It's mental...do the best you can when you're out there." Sure this statement says it's hard and mental, but it is coming from a 20 yr old. Tell that to a mature Kenny after the Hornets game. KT was the 3rd PF off the bench in that Hornet's game, and look what he did...biggest game ever.

    It is a cop out to say you need minutes to get into a flow. Keep your head in the game, and be ready to perform....like KT and Cato are doing.
     
  15. derrock

    derrock Contributing Member

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    I don't think being called "first quarter Mo" is a compliment. If Taylor is gonna sulk after a big win against the top team in the East who had won 11 out of 13 coming in, then he deserves to get benched. I'm glad Kenny is playing so well. Tells both MoT and Eddie that they better not rely on their rep alone. Problem I have with Kenny is we asked him to slim down to play the 3 and now we want him to play the 4 again. He was already pretty bad last year against PFs. But that's where the zone helps him and the Rockets. I;m just hoping it doesn't mean more fouls to Yao trying to cover Kenny's spot.
     
  16. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    I agree with your comments (except regarding KTs defense, which is solid and based on smarts/power/speed) and also wanted to point out that the comment regarding the Rockets asking him to slim down this summer is not true. Kenny was interviewed about this in camp and it was placed as a movie file at Rockets.com. He denied that the team told him to slim down to play the 3. He said it was his plan all along to lose weight when he came into the league, and he's been on a work-out regimen to do it over a 3 yr plan. He's had a personal trainer for awhile. He said that. There is a link to this file in some thread somewhere dated around the first week of October.

    He said he is quicker and stronger. He feels he got stronger.
     
    #16 heypartner, Dec 8, 2002
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2002
  17. derrock

    derrock Contributing Member

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    Thanks for the clarification heypartner. Just another reason to like Kenny...he works hard in the offseason. But a 3 year plan?!?! I hope he's just getting more muscle. I really think he can contribute more as a 4 when it's all said and done.
     
  18. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    he said it was an ongoing plan. note that these guys can't do a lot of body changing conditioning during the season....so, I think he was referring to offseason training. He said he drop 12 pounds or so each year, and Jonathan Feigen has said two camps in a row that he had the most noticeable changes coming in to camp. Feigen called him "ripped" didn't he?
     
  19. tozai

    tozai Member

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    KT may hustle but his offense is more based on ISOs than Cat. Once he gets the ball he never gives it back. He only has two moves, and one of those ois easily shut down if you back up and give him the jumper. Mo can actually pass, score within the offense, and not take r****ded shots.
     
  20. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    tozai, did you see the last two games. The offense of the Rockets has drastically changed, and KT changed right with it, witness the 5 and 6 assist the last two games. No fluke, imo, but part of the new offense. The assists are started to spread around the team as we play more motion.

    KT does not ISO like Mobley. Mobley is a SG and shouldn't iso so much, and doesn't anymore. KT ISOs in a manner similar to Maurice and many other PFs. PFs are supposed to ISO from the block...that's what they do...just ask Brand. Yao ISOs for goodness sake. KT just isn't more than average on his low or high post ISO success to warrant more than a few play calls for that. But I believe he is productive off ball player with his slashing and picking.
     

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