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Chron: No one has Yao's Back

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by gucci888, Dec 13, 2004.

  1. gucci888

    gucci888 Contributing Member

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    No one has Yao's back
    Power forwards needed to help Rockets center; so far, they're underwhelming
    By MEGAN MANFULL
    Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle


    Maurice Taylor has experienced bad stretches before. They were just never this bad.

    Taylor has struggled all season to find the offense the Rockets are accustomed to receiving from him. He has spent extra time in practice. He has tried to be patient. The only thing that has changed, though, is his level of frustration.

    "I'm probably shooting the worst I've shot in my career," said Taylor, who is hitting 39.2 percent of his shots from the field — far below his career average of 46.9 percent. "I've never shot the ball this bad, so I can't pinpoint what it is. I've been shooting a lot after practice and trying to get it together, but they're just not falling for me."

    Taylor is hardly the only Rocket with such issues. The entire team is struggling offensively. But Taylor's woes have deepened the team's problems at power forward, a position that has yet to offer the Rockets substantial productivity.

    Five games ago, Juwan Howard replaced Taylor in the starting lineup. But that has hardly settled the issue. Howard has yet to feel comfortable in the Rockets' system, and it has shown in his numbers. He has spent much of his career as the primary player in the post, and adapting to playing alongside Yao Ming has taken longer than the Rockets anticipated.

    "I didn't think it was going to be difficult at all, because I don't expect to go out and get 10 shots a night, because I know the ball has to go through Yao first on the inside," said Howard, who is shooting 43.2 percent from the field — down from his career average of 47.1 percent. "My strength is inside play, but I know when you have a guy who is 7-foot-6 and skilled, you have to take advantage of the mismatches.

    "And then I know I can't get the ball out on the perimeter for the fact that Tracy McGrady and Jim Jackson are the guys who are to hold down the court on the perimeter. So my job is to go out and defend and rebound."


    High expectations
    The power forward position appeared to be deep when the season started with Taylor, Howard, Scott Padgett and Clarence Weatherspoon. Scoring was expected to be the strength of the group.

    But with Taylor and Howard averaging just over seven points per game, opponents have been able to focus even more of their attention on shutting down McGrady and Yao.

    Howard is the only power forward who was not with the Rockets last season, and Van Gundy understood it would be a transition for the veteran.

    "Trying to figure out his niche is something he's worked hard at doing," Van Gundy said. "I think he's played with a lot more rebounding effort and, again, it's a totally different role. It's probably not what he's best suited for."

    To compound matters, the power forwards aren't making up for their lack of offense with rebounds. Howard averaged 7.4 rebounds in his previous 10 seasons. This year, he is sixth on the team with an average of 3.8. Taylor averaged 5.1 rebounds last season and is pulling in the same amount this season — fourth-best on the team.

    To try to compensate for what Howard and Taylor are lacking, Van Gundy has created a three-man rotation at the position by bringing Padgett off the bench for significant minutes.

    Padgett is the team's best power forward against zone defense. He is also a better runner and a strong team defender. He has the ability to spread defenses and has hit six 3-pointers.

    Van Gundy offers a long list of attributes he would like the Rockets' power forwards to possess, especially if they are to be effective playing alongside Yao.

    He said the 4s need to protect Yao with good transition defense and pick-and-roll coverage.

    They also need to be able to guard opponents one-on-one, rebound, block shots, run and shoot consistently with range.


    Right combo sought
    Van Gundy admits his list of power forward traits is almost impossible for one player to fulfill. If three power forwards could divide the list amongst themselves, however, the Rockets could get what they need.

    "I'm not saying you're going to fulfill the whole list," Van Gundy said. "Very few can do that. But you have to try to figure out qualities — as many as you can — to be effective.

    "It would be complimentary if one of your guys does three or four of those and another guy does three or four of those."

    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/sports/2946091
     
  2. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

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    What?? The Rockets don't have good power forwards. Thank goodness for the chronicle, you never would have thought that a combined 14 points, 8.9 rebounds from your starting and backup PFs was bad?? Who knew??
     
  3. gucci888

    gucci888 Contributing Member

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    I'm telling you, Megan Manfull has some pretty good inside sources.
     
  4. Charvo

    Charvo Member

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    The guy needs to talk to Yao because Yao isn't exactly lighting it up with the same missed hook shots that Mo misses and the airballs from mid-range. The fact is this entire team looks like bad on offense, and Mo is just one player out of many. When noone can hit a jumper or hook shot, I attribute that to the coaching. I don't know what the heck Patrick Ewing is doing, but Harry Spilman needs to be fired.
     
  5. franchise23

    franchise23 Contributing Member

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    I am still hoping for Mo's shot to return. When he is on he can be a great offensive asset off the bench like he was most of last year and in the playoffs (he was constantly taking Malone in the post and on the perimeter). Atleast its good to know that he is staying after practice to work on his shot.
     
  6. darkwarrior

    darkwarrior Member

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    hopefully his jumpshot comes back, because he's getting his dunks blocked almost every game.
     
  7. Mr. Mooch

    Mr. Mooch Contributing Member

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    Mo ain't lighting up the [​IMG] because he ain't lighting up the http://www.abc.net.au/science/news/img/mar1juana.jpg.
     
  8. gucci888

    gucci888 Contributing Member

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    Yao's FG% is down from last year.
    MoT's FG% is down from last year.
    Howard's FG% is down from last year.
    TMac's FG% is down from last year

    Yao/MoT/Howard all had sweet mid-range jumpers, and that is completely gone. That is what the JVG system does to players.

    Looks like I'm gonna have to add them to the list of players that JVG has killed offensively:

    1st Year Under JVG
    Allan Houston: 19.7ppg down to 14.8, 45% down to 42%

    Latrell Sprewell: 21.4ppg down to 16.4, FG% went up though

    Steve Francis: 21ppg down to 16.6, 43% down to 40%

    Cuttino Mobley: 17.5ppg down to 15.8, FG% didn't change much

    Tracy McGrady: 28ppg down to 21.8, 42% down to 40%

    Juwan Howard: 17ppg down to 7.2, 45% down to 43%

    *Yao's number went up, but they should have gone up automatically just from playing 1 year. I'm not taking it away from JVG, but now Yao's numbers aren't improving and MoT's number have gone way down.

    If it's not the system, then it must be something in the water.
     
  9. SmeggySmeg

    SmeggySmeg Contributing Member

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    so bring your lunch pail Juwan and get the fricken job done
     
  10. Roc Paint

    Roc Paint Contributing Member

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    Yao needs to back his *** up to the basket more often.
     
  11. GermanRoxFan

    GermanRoxFan Member

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    If you can't hit an open, uncontested shot, there is no system in the world that can fix this problem.

    But, of course, since you want JVG to be fired it has to be the system...
     
  12. AnswerTmac

    AnswerTmac Contributing Member

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    The whole team was screwed up.Right now they are lack of both adjustive defense and various ways of offense. They have nothing.:(
     
  13. clove

    clove Contributing Member

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    Yao is shooting 50% on the season. One of the reasons for him not shooting a higher percentage is because everyone else can't hit. Do you honestly believe Yao will air ball 2 games in a row without getting fouled?

    I agree with "The fact is this entire team looks like bad on offense, and Mo is just one player out of many." However, comparing him with Yao kinda killed your case.
     
  14. clove

    clove Contributing Member

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    I would say thank you in German, but I don't know how.

    Someone blamed our players shooting problem on JVG not allowing them to get in rhythm in another thread. lol.
     
  15. Deuce

    Deuce Context & Nuance

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    Howard 3.8 rebounds? Taylor 5.1 rebounds? :mad:

    What an embarrisment to the PF position!

    Then add in the fact that our 7'6" center only gets around 8.5 rebounds a game....well, you do the math. It equals terrible!
     
  16. Charvo

    Charvo Member

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    Do you watch Rockets' games? I watch them. Yao is shooting maybe 25% with the hook shot this season. He is shooting 0% of his jumpers this season. Yao is getting layups and dunks more this season which is carrying his field goal percentage. If Mo got layups, then his field goal percentage would be higher too.
     
  17. SuperKev

    SuperKev Contributing Member

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    I hate it when people speak stuff like the above:

    -0- % jump shots for Yao. C'mon now.

    Yao clearly hits those shots at a decent pace, even with a bad game he hits a few of them. By that logic he couldn't have made a jumpshot all year.
     
  18. Charvo

    Charvo Member

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    Okay, I was exaggerating with the 0%. I think he's hitting 5% of his set shot jumpers. If Yao wasn't being more aggressive this year in the paint, his field goal percentage would be worse than Mo's. At least Mo hits iron. Yao has been hitting nothing. He's airballing stuff now. The previous game against the Mavericks was just an example. Yao had to go to the hook shot against Dampier because Dampier is one strong SOB (look at the guy's shoulders). Yao cannot get the hook shot to fall down this season. Yao ended up 3 for 11. The same goes for Juwan and Mo. None of the big men are hitting their hook shots. This means that a weapon in the half-court has been nullified.
     
  19. GATER

    GATER Contributing Member

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    Charvo -
    I am someone who watches and tapes every game. Your statement is flatout untrue IMO. If I go back and dissect tapes of several games, and your statement is incorrect (and I suspect it is)....be prepared to be hammered.

    There is enough frustration, negativity & "hatin' " around here for 2 seasons let alone 21 games. The Rockets' entire team is missing wide open shots and there is no offense on this planet that can fix that.
     
  20. amed

    amed Contributing Member

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    Everyone is always crying how the PF spot is not rebounding and not defending. Everyone is looking for excuses to blame someone else other than Yao. Yao is not pulling even 10 boards a game and thats something the so called second best center in the league should be able to do. Yao is only averaging 3 more rebounds a game than Mo Taylor and Yao is playing 10-12 more min a game. Stop blaming everyone else but Yao about this team's horrible rebounding and terrible interior defense.
     

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