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[Chron] Rockets Q &A

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by room4rentsf, Dec 17, 2004.

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  1. room4rentsf

    room4rentsf Contributing Member

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    [Chron] Rockets Q & A w/ John Feign

    [Chron] Rockets Q &A w/ John Feign

    Formula for success: Rockets need to win close games

    Question: I was watching the exciting game between the Suns and the Magic ... I was captivated by the offense that was displayed, but couldn't help notice some key statistics. The Magic and Suns are both on pace to have more wins this season than last season by next month. The Magic and Suns are both in the top 10 in team rebounds and fast break points. The Suns outscore their opponents by over 11 points per game. The coaches utilize their players' abilities. Why is Jeff Van Gundy so stubborn and trying to change his players instead of adapting his system to the strengths and talents of the players? At least if the Rockets are losing, it's more interesting to watch when more offense is displayed (or maybe they just can't shoot).

    Chris in Pasadena
    Answer: At the risk of covering old ground, I would point out that Jeff Van Gundy is not coaching the Suns or Magic. If he had Amare Stoudemire, Shawn Marion and most of all Steve Nash and did not run he would be ignoring a great potential weapon. I don't see Stoudemire, Marion and Nash around here. The Magic players that were on the Rockets last season are running better than they had, but the Magic improvement is due to many changes. In addition to the three former Rockets, they got Grant Hill and Pat Garrity back from injuries and added Hedo Turkoglu and two talented rookies.
    The notion that Van Gundy is trying to change his players presumes that he has players better suited for doing something else. The Rockets are big, old and slow, and they don't shoot well. That hardly sounds like Showtime to me. Tracy McGrady might be best in the open court, but he has shown himself in his career to excel in any style of offense.

    If the idea is to have more entertaining losses, Van Gundy absolutely should insist on a more wide-open style and even sacrifice some defense to emphasize a more high-powered style. If he is trying to win, he needs to develop a tough, disciplined defensive team that wins close. Think of the NBA Finals 76ers, with Allen Iverson driving the offense. For now, the Rockets are neither thrilling to watch or tough enough to win more than they lose. Unless there are roster or dramatic rotation changes, the strengths and talents of the Rockets have nothing to do with the talents you saw in the Suns-Magic game.

    Posted: Dec 14 2004 2:00PM | E-mail the writer



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    Rockets roster moves need more time to be judged

    Question: How have Carroll Dawson, and Les Alexander been immune to shouldering the blame for the Rockets' current situation? I like the fact that the Rockets have always pulled the trigger on trade proposals. Where has Houston's allure for free agents gone? How does Houston with Tracy McGrady, and Yao Ming not get Derek Fisher, Rafer Alston, or any of the other free agents we missed out on? I think that we should blame the front office for trying to distract us with the fact that McGrady was coming, but they didn't do anything to help McGrady and Yao.

    Steve in Katy
    Answer: The responsibility for the roster and it's shortcomings falls on Alexander and Dawson without question. But the front office did not try to distract anyone with the McGrady trade and did not lose out on Rafer Alston or Derek Fisher. They did not go after those guys and several others because they did not consider those players to be much of an upgrade over the point guards they had or would get or because they received enormous contracts that the Rockets did not consider wise, a judgement many around the league shared.
    The Rockets were close to a deal for Seattle's Antonio Daniels, who is having an outstanding season. But they also expected Bob Sura, Tyronn Lue and Charlie Ward would take care of their needs as well as the free agents that were available, especially considering the free agent prices and the Rockets' salary cap bind from previous spending sprees. It has not worked out that way, but I think that position in particular needs more time to be judged considering two knee injuries and a back surgery.


    Posted: Dec 14 2004 7:52AM | E-mail the writer



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    Solution at power forward remains elusive for Rockets

    Question: Jeff Van Gundy (recently) said that the only player on the roster who hadn't been given a chance to contribute was Clarence Weatherspoon. A week and a half later, our power forwards (Juwan Howard and Maurice Taylor) continue to struggle, and Weatherspoon still hasn't been given a chance to bolster that position. Everyone knows that lack of energy and rebounding at the power forward has been a weakness for the Rockets all year, and still Weatherspoon hasn't been given the opportunity to contribute. In particular, Taylor has been slumping for many weeks now, so why hasn't Van Gundy played Weatherspoon ahead of him in the rotation? Is it just a matter of protecting Taylor's ego?

    Deepak in Houston
    Answer: That's a question that I'm sure Jeff Van Gundy has asked himself many times. Weatherspoon can bring energy and tenacity on the boards and the Rockets could certainly use those qualities. But they also have needed better outside shooting and particularly the spacing that comes from a power forward with shooting range. The middle is already too clogged with defenders able to flock to Yao Ming or cut off penetration by Tracy McGrady. That's why he tried Maurice Taylor as a starter.
    For Van Gundy, the choice must seem like addressing one problem while ignoring another. But that's been the Rockets at power forward so far this season. Taylor's feeling probably have not been a consideration, and even if he never will be confused for Charles Barkley on the boards, the Rockets could use a return of his shooting touch.

    Posted: Dec 13 2004 7:57AM | E-mail the writer
     
    #1 room4rentsf, Dec 17, 2004
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2004
  2. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

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    Whoever's answering the questions imo is too much of an apologist.

    The fact of the matter is, SINCE the Rockets are such a poor offensive team, they are just as likely to win in more of an uptemp game thanless, seeing as thought they would be giving up mroe opportunities in an uptempo game, they would be getting more themselves.

    What's more, is that of late the team has not had any of the same turnover problems they had in past years, meaning it is just as likely that they become more likely to win if they speed it up then less.
     
  3. gunn

    gunn Contributing Member

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    I think the person answering the questions is being practical moreso than being an apologist Jay.

    The fact of the matter is, you very well could be right, but that is all in theory.
     
  4. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

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    I agree that it must be tough when everyone is getting on JVG, CD and Les' case when theroretically we were moving in the right direction last year and post TMac trade, but....

    ...at the vary least he shouldn't make bogus claims like JVG's current style is the most likely to achive effectiveness with the current group of talent? Maybe, maybe not. I clearly understand we don't have the Suns level of athletes or the Sonics level of pure shooters, but I still think limiting your offensive opportunities with a team that is horrible offensively may not be the best way to win.
     
  5. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    I don't see them here, but I do see Tracy McGrady averaging about 8 points less than he should be.
     
  6. gunn

    gunn Contributing Member

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    That is what I'm saying with the comment "you may be right in theory". In the limited conversations I've had with you on this board, I get a feel that you have a good understanding of the game, so I think you understand that our talent level and the characteristics that make up this team would not mesh with a uptempo style of play. When you create more offensive opportunities, by means of tempo, you also give up more offensive opportunities on the other end. When you look at the poor man-to-man defense amongst the players combined with slow foot speed, poor rebounding and poor shooting; creating an uptempo team with this cast and applying it against teams that play a full court style would result in the Rockets getting dismantled.
     
    #6 gunn, Dec 17, 2004
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2004
  7. RIET

    RIET Contributing Member

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    Jonathon Feigen has always been a complete kiss a**.
     
  8. SpaceCity

    SpaceCity Contributing Member

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    I tend to agree with the "apologist".

    Let's see how these small fast-break teams do by the end of the season and especially in the playoffs. History does not favor these types of teams in the playoffs. Of course there are exceptions.

    If we can slowly come together offensively while maintaining our defense, we will be better prepared to make an impact in the playoffs.

    In fact, if all our players were hitting their average we would propably be having a great season.
     
  9. mfclark

    mfclark Member

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    I don't think Feigen's that far off with the offensive philosophy best suited to the Rockets, as boring as that philosophy may be.

    If the Rockets tried to run in the open court, Yao, JJ, and the PFs would be worn down at the end of each game and by the end of the season. McGrady and Lue are about the only ones in the main rotation who can run consistantly...and even Lue is the leader of the clan of PGs known for the "one-on-five fast break." No one would run with him last year in Orlando.

    The Rockets have one good passing big man in Yao, but JVG wants to take advantage of his size in the post. In time, he should develop into a lethal player who can use both, but I think it's best to try to get him to be aggressive on offense now rather than passive. None of the other bigs are that adept at passing the ball and thus it falls on the swingmen and point guards to do so -- and I'm not sure the Rockets have the right players to do so yet. Sura's the closest one, though.

    The problem of all of the Magic teams of the past was that they tried to take guards who could shoot the ball to build around McGrady. I don't think that was the right approach there and think it's even less of the right approach in Houston. Someone who can get the ball to McGrady and Yao in the post is a must, and I just don't see that player on the Rockets right now. In that sense, I think what JVG is trying to do is the right thing -- it's just not working right now, partially because of a slow start by Yao, partially because of the personnel.

    Ideally, a pass-first PG, a slasher SG/SF, and a shooter PF would be the ideal players to complement a do-everything McGrady and a low-post Yao. I don't think Yao is best suited for the 15ft game, despite that being his strongest aspect right now. It's best to have him work with Ewing et al. and develop that post game. But on the lineup, I feel that is the best setup to effectively get the ball to where it needs to go in a half-court game, allow McGrady the opportunity to make things happen from time to time, and allow the Rockets to take advantage of Yao in the post. Having a PF who can shoot the 17-23ft shot would draw defenses away from the post, clearing the hole for McGrady/slasher to drive or for Yao to work one-on-one.

    But, right now, the Rockets don't have that PF, don't have that slasher, and don't have that point guard. There aren't many available solutions out there right now, either. It's going to take some astute drafting and moves in the free agent market in the next two years to make it happen.

    What the Rockets are doing now is filtering players in, one by one, to see what they can do. Those that can do something will likely be kept; those who can't will be gone in the off-season (or even prior). The playoffs should be the goal for this year's team, followed by contention next season in the WC and contention for the NBA title the season after. A team built off of the half-court, IMO, takes longer to mesh than one on the fast break (like the Suns), meaning it may well be two years before the Rockets are where you all want them to be. I think JVG will get you all there, but it's going to be a tough roads -- fans and critics will be all over his & the team's case if they struggle the rest of this year, and I imagine McGrady wouldn't be too happy either (he's rather impatient, as I've seen in Orlando). But, keep things together and the Rockets will do something in time.

    So, in all of that, what I am trying to get at is that it's not the offensive scheme that isn't working -- it's the right one for the long-haul -- but the players to fit the scheme. There isn't another scheme that would work best for this group and, given the superstars, it's best to start with a scheme featuring those two first and foremost. The players around them just aren't working out right now...and really, neither would have any of those others the Rockets didn't get in free agency, other than maybe Brent Barry.
     
  10. Sherlock

    Sherlock Contributing Member

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    ... I think that everytime Taylor becomes aware he's about to get traded, he goes into a slump, which then keeps him from getting traded. Cato used to do that too. Frustrating.

    But, it would not surprise me if everyone but Yao and TMac aren't on the block...
     
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