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Excellent John P. Lopez Column on Rice

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by The Cat, Aug 11, 2001.

  1. The Cat

    The Cat Contributing Member

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    This risky move worth taking
    By JOHN P. LOPEZ
    Copyright 2001 Houston Chronicle

    Of the many questions begging to be asked in the wake of the Rockets' moving and shaking Friday, none seem more pressing than these:

    Exactly who is that guy with the tousled hair and guarded sound bites, and what has he done with Rudy Tomjanovich?

    And who is that kindly gentleman with the sweet golf swing and professorial demeanor passing himself off as Carroll Dawson?

    These certainly don't seem to be the Rockets decision-makers we've come to know and love. These aren't the fellas that usually would rather put their basketball stock in nice, stable long-term growth funds instead of the pass line on a riverboat casino.

    But the deal that brought Glen Rice from the Knicks to the Rockets was risky, just like letting go of the legendary Hakeem Olajuwon was risky and dealing for a 19-year-old hoops stud named Eddie Griffin was risky.

    The Payne-Webber style of these Rockets leaders is beginning to look more like that of the Flying Walendas. Tomjanovich and Dawson seem to be traipsing along a tightrope without a net.

    But in this here today, free agent tomorrow world of the NBA, maybe that's just what the Rockets need.

    Sure there are potential pitfalls in every decision the Rockets have made this offseason. Life without Dream holding down the block could become a nightmare. Griffin, an all-world talent, has yet to prove a thing.

    And how will Rice react the first time Cuttino Mobley throws up six consecutive shots?

    Here's a player that can help the Rockets tremendously. But Rice also is a player that griped while on a Lakers team that won 67 games two seasons ago. He also griped in the shadow of the Knicks' Lattrell Sprewell and Allan Houston last year.

    How will Rice respond when Mobley motions to clear the floor, or Maurice Taylor, recently awarded a $48 million contract, demands the ball, or the franchise, Steve Francis, takes over the game as he should? The risk of this deal is daunting.

    Still, I like this trade and you should, too. Instead of settling for good, the Rockets are taking a chance on being great.

    Previous deals that made the Rockets championship-caliber were relative no-brainers compared to what has transpired this summer. Trading for Mario Elie in 1993 -- the final piece to the 1994 title run -- cost the Rockets a mere second-round draft choice.

    Acquiring hometown hero Clyde Drexler and Tracy Murray for Otis Thorpe a year later was a natural. As much as the Rockets never have been afraid to make a big deal, none, including shipping four players to the Suns for Charles Barkley, could remotely have been called a risk.

    But this is the summer of Rudy and Carroll. This is the summer when the coach and the GM roll the dice.

    The braintrust widely known for an aversion to anything that could possibly be interpreted as controversial or risky, is out there this summer. The guys that would rather be hugging the trunk of a steady, solid oak tree, are out on a limb.

    Good for them. During the great days of the Olajuwon era, there never was a need to do anything crazy. The smart tack was to grab onto the Dream's coattails and enjoy the view, which the Rockets did.

    But now there is a need for risk. This NBA belongs to Shaquille O'Neal. This Midwest Division belongs to Tim Duncan. The only possible way for the Rockets to reach another stratosphere is to take a flier, which they have.

    Youth, egos and the fact that NBA games are played with just one basketball could rip this team apart. But think of the possibilities if Tomjanovich, a true players' coach, can pull this bunch together.

    Rice could be only perfect for Griffin. He is seasoned and strong, with an all-around offensive game that often gets overlooked because of his great shooting touch.

    With Rice in the fold, Griffin will not have to be thrown to the wolves, or Spurs and Mavericks, and might just learn something new about posting up. And with Mobley at off guard, Taylor at forward and Francis running the point, on any given night, an offensive explosion could occur at Compaq Center.


    Few teams in the league could be more athletic and impossible to defend than these Rockets. But as someone once said about a similarly gifted team, it might look like a string of pearls, but you still need a 5-cent piece of thread holding it all together.

    Thus, while you might not want to give a plugged nickel to be in Tomjanovich's shoes if this thing starts turning for the worse, if it all comes together, the Rockets might even eventually add to their collection of jewelry.

    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/sports/bk/bkn/1001889
     
  2. RocksMillenium

    RocksMillenium Contributing Member

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    Well people were worried about Griffin's shooting stroke. If there is anyone that can help him with that it's Glen Rice.
     
  3. XXX

    XXX Member

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    Rice, Rice, he's our man if he cant do it...
    Griffen can.:)
     
  4. RunninRaven

    RunninRaven Contributing Member
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    Well put, Oxford.
     
  5. Dr of Dunk

    Dr of Dunk Clutch Crew

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    I see you're still peddling your site.
     
  6. LA's #1 Rocket Fan

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    Although I agree Rice can definitely give good pointers to help Griffin with his outside shot and I think Griffin has the range but I just don't want griffin to depend on his outside shot too much that he choose it over posting up(example Chris Webber sometimes). From what I have seen he takes more outside shots(20+ footers) than close postups shots(5-15 feet). In my opinion I think he's much better at posting up and making turn around jumpers. I know he also he needs to make the 20fters too but just not take them so often, I rather he get more comfortable with the inside PF game than the outside SF game. Just my opinion though.
     
  7. kidrock8

    kidrock8 Member

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    Does CD still do coaching during Rocket practices? Because it sounded like he was the guy who really helped develop Othella's low post game when he was with us...

    I think he could do wonders with Griffin...
     
  8. Franchisedream

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    The other guy that helped Othella's low post game is in Toronto now.

    Rice can shoot well, can't play a lick of defense, and is prone to complaining about his role on teams. I hope that Rudy and others on the Rockets have a good influence on Rice and any attitude problems he might bring with him to the team.

    Otherwise if we were going to have a one dimensional shooter on the Rockets I would rather it be Bullard. It is true that Rice has more of a future than Bullard, but still Bull is a great member of the team. Moochie isn't a starting pg, but he is a nice back up, seems to be a great guy as well. I hope there is some way to keep him a Rocket.

    After the draft the emphasis seemed to be on keeping all of our own free agents. So far we have only Mo. Hakeem, and SA are definitely gone, and now Bullard looks to be 99% gone too. We had a great draft, and it looks like we're not really meeting the goals that the Rockets set.
     
  9. Jeff

    Jeff Clutch Crew

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    Olajuwon never tutored anyone. That is a long-held myth. No doubt Othella benefitted from playing against him 1 on 1 everday considering Dream was one of the best in the game at the time. But, Othella's jump hook and post game was a result of Larry Smith, CD and Rudy.

    CD is not a coach but he has always helped to tutor the big men. In fact, Dream credits his jump hook to CD and a lot of his other low post moves as well.
     
  10. Stevierebel

    Stevierebel Contributing Member

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    Doesn't it suck when you can't spell a guy's name right?
     
  11. Doctor Robert

    Doctor Robert Contributing Member

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    That's right, Jeff... and if you want to know more, you can click on the little face below!

    :p
     

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