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[NBA.com]A Swift Rocket Booster

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by zzhou, Aug 9, 2005.

  1. zzhou

    zzhou Member

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    The Rockets believe Swift can make a big impression.
    Bill Baptist/NBAE/Getty Images

    Why would a team that won more games during the regular season than all but six teams in the league have reason to hang its collective head this summer?

    A swift exit in the NBA Playoffs.

    The Houston Rockets’ stinging, 116-76 Game 7 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the First Round last April proved the franchise has a ways to go before it can be considered a championship contender. Houston’s 51-win regular season was certainly an accomplishment for a team that didn’t even get over the .500 mark until January, but that didn’t make the Game 7 blowout any easier to swallow.

    "That was disappointing because our team had played well all year, and to crack like that in the biggest game of the year is disappointing," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said after the contest.

    "I don't think any of us saw a picture like this," added swingman Tracy McGrady. "I think we came out too flat. Those guys had a lot more speed, and we couldn't defend anybody."

    So what did the Rockets go out and do this summer? They've tried to become more athletic and with an emphasis on defensive. Enter Memphis free agent forward Stromile Swift, 25, who plays the game as his last name would imply.

    "If you have a race out there (on the court), he may win the race," Rockets general manager Carroll Dawson said at a news conference to introduce the 6-9 LSU product. "He’s very athletic for his size. This guy can really be something special. He can bring you out of your seat. "

    Swift supplants a trio of grounded power forwards in Juwan Howard, Vin Baker and Clarence Weatherspoon, whose ages range from 32 to 34. The newest Rocket’s 92 blocks last season represents a total more than six times greater than that of his counterparts' combined sum of 15. Playing alongside center Yao Ming, whose 7-6 frame forces opponents into awkward shots, Swift should be able to collect plenty more of those blocks on weak-side rotations.

    On offense, Swift’s helter-skelter, improvisational style of play also will benefit from the presence of Yao as well as McGrady,

    "I think it's going to make the game a lot easier for me," Swift told the Houston Chronicle. "I know guys are going to have to double-team Tracy and Yao so that leaves me there to get offensive rebounds and putbacks and things like that. And when guys start to play off of me in the half court, I can step back and hit that 15-foot jump shot."

    In their quest to get more athletic, Houston also added one of the most explosive guards in the NBA Draft with the 24th selection -- Luther Head, a 6-3 guard from Illinois. The Second Team All-America selection has a 38.5 inch vertical leap and is also regarded as a defensive stopper by Rockets scouts.

    Head will come off the bench in support of David Wesley, Bob Sura and Mike James. Whether or not free agent Jon Barry joins that group in the backcourt for another go-around with Houston remains to be seen.

    The veteran’s scrappy play and three-point shooting were valuable assets for the Rockets after acquiring him in a December trade and you can bet Houston fans want Barry back in town. One free agent who’s sure to return is the equally scrappy Ryan Bowen. The recipient of a new contract last week, Bowen’s lasted six seasons in the league with high-energy play and willingness to throw around his 220-pound frame in the paint.

    Decisions haven’t been made on the club’s other free agents -- Torraye Braggs, Dikembe Mutombo and Scott Padgett -- but with nearly every core player on the roster returning, the Rockets are likely to get off to a better start next season than they did in the previous campaign.

    Last summer the trade that sent guards Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley and center Kelvin Cato to Orlando in exchange for McGrady and Howard dramatically changed the look of the team, and it took a couple of months for chemistry to be established.

    Further turbulence occurred when Maurice Taylor, Tyronn Lue and Jim Jackson left in midseason trades and Wesley, Barry and James were introduced into the lineup. Rockets players likely won’t have to deal with that type of instability next season, and will have a full campaign to gel as a unit before they’d have to compete in the playoffs.

    Then, and only then, will the next question be answered: Will the Rockets be hanging their collective head again next summer?

    We’ll just have to wait and see.

    http://www.nba.com/features/2005_moves_hou.html
     
  2. zzhou

    zzhou Member

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    Special article on NBA.com, I guess we are finally getting some love from the national media and the NBA :D
     
  3. mirror_image

    mirror_image Contributing Member

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    Great article, a fair assessment of Rockets.
     
  4. Nimnal

    Nimnal Contributing Member

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    In their quest to get more athletic, Houston also added one of the most explosive guards in the NBA Draft with the 24th selection -- Luther Head, a 6-3 guard from Illinois. The Second Team All-America selection has a 38.5 inch vertical leap and is also regarded as a defensive stopper by Rockets scouts.

    Anybody know how Head's vertical compares to Stevie's??? Just wondering how his raw abilities measure up.
     
  5. MartianMan

    MartianMan Contributing Member

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Francis

    Steve De'Shawn Francis, formerly known as "Stevie Franchise" now self-described "Steve-O" (born February 21, 1977 in Silver Spring, Maryland), is an NBA basketball player. He was the 2nd overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft by the Vancouver Grizzlies out of the University of Maryland, but was traded to the Houston Rockets that summer after publicly announcing that he did not want to play for the Grizzles. He known as a liability on defense, but is also known for his explosiveness to the basket with dunks.
    Francis in a 2004 Orlando Magic game.
    Enlarge
    Francis in a 2004 Orlando Magic game.

    Yet, he is also notorious for taking ill-advised isolation shots. Steve Francis is said to have a 42" vertical leap, but this has not been validated. His last season in Houston was rocky at best. Rumors surrounding his absence at a team function due to his attending the Super Bowl were only an example of his perceived antics on and off the court, stressing his relationship with the Houston fan base.
     
  6. xomox

    xomox Contributing Member

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    i believe stevie's measure was a 39 inch leap.
     
  7. KeepKenny

    KeepKenny Contributing Member

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    Steve had at least a 40" vertical. If I remember correctly, he jumped 42" in the dunk contest in 2000.
     
  8. Dr of Dunk

    Dr of Dunk Clutch Crew

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    Reading an article about him right around draft time, I recall he jumped either 42 or 43 inches in a scouting combine or workouts.
     
  9. RocketFire

    RocketFire Member

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    i have the dunk competition video, and he jumped 42" on one dunk.
     
  10. ClutchCityReturns

    ClutchCityReturns Contributing Member

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    THAT'S NOT VERTICAL

    Vertical is from a stand-still, and sometimes a drop step. You can't compare Francis' "vertical" in a dunk contest with Head's official vertical at a combine.
     
  11. blazer_ben

    blazer_ben Rookie

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    39 inch is probaly wrong.cosidering Shawn kemp in his prime hd 51 inch verticle leap. i say swift is probaly 45 Inch.
     
  12. krosfyah

    krosfyah Contributing Member

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    I don't this this is correct.

    Do you guys know how a vertical measurement is taken? You can't get it from a dunk contest. That'd be like watching the 100m in track and only timing the runners last 40m and saying his 40m split is 2.4. :)
     
  13. Gutter Snipe

    Gutter Snipe Contributing Member

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    I would bet my poker bankroll against either of these being true. 40 inches is huge for a big man, and 50 inches has only been achieved by a few ballers in history, none of whom are over 6'9 or 230 pounds.
     
  14. Mav-Hater

    Mav-Hater Contributing Member

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    The only big in my life I have ever seen with that kind of hop was Akeem as he was in the 40's. In practice, he could grab and hold the top of the backboard with two hands and routinely catch 3 pointers from mid air jumping from the paint. When a man snags your 3, hands it back to you and says "Here's your shot Mon" your jaw kinda drops. I have seen a 5'10" kid with a 52" vertical named Jack Smith from MacArthur in Aldine. Played center in Highschool and could look down into the rim but I agree that Shawn Kemp had no 50.
     
  15. Willis25

    Willis25 Contributing Member

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    I think he meant the Kemp has a 51 inch gut !
     
  16. gunn

    gunn Contributing Member

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    That reminds me of a quote by Jim Rome about Kemp getting fat, where he said that most people roll over and smoke a cigarette after sex, but Kemp rolls over and smokes a ham.
     
  17. solid

    solid Contributing Member

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    That is seriously funny. My rule is, if you make me laugh out loud, I have to respond. :D
     
  18. OddsOn

    OddsOn Contributing Member

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    I bet thats not all he's smokin'... :D
     
  19. Fegwu

    Fegwu Contributing Member

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    (Steve Francis) Almost 40 inches of vertical leap

    And according to this site/forum

    Jackie Jackson 56"-58"
    Earl Manigault 50"-52"
    Spud Webb 52"
    Herman Knowings 50"
    Hook Mitchell 50"
    Ronnie Fields 50"
    Nate Robinson 48"
    LeBron James 45"
    Josh Smith 45"
    David Thompson 45"
    Will Bynum 44"
    Vince Carter 44"
    Jason Richardson 42"
    Ricky Davis 40"
    Steve Francis 40"
    Tony Allen 40"
    Allen Iverson 40"
    Kenyon Martin 38"


    Also, http://www.jumpusa.com/psj.html says that Steve's is 40"

    40"

    40"

    43"

    But Steve claims here that he is a 45-incher

    so does these folks (45")....but the URL link is dead .....see the list is below



    So in conclussion, I think Steve-O's "vertical leap" can be pinned right at 40" (plus or minus 1)
     
  20. m_cable

    m_cable Contributing Member

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    Just like 40 times, all "verticals" are prone to exaggeration. A lot of these "sources" are the players themselves, and it's pretty hard to be objective about yourself, especially for pro athletes. The only ones I would trust are the official listings at NBA combines.
     

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