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[sporting news]The missing ingredient for Houston: role players - Rockets

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by tinman, Aug 30, 2006.

  1. tinman

    tinman Contributing Member
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    I'm looking back to the past to answer the questions of the present..

    http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1208/is_n23_v221/ai_19503002

    The missing ingredient for Houston: role players - Rockets - NBA Report - Column
    Sporting News, The, June 9, 1997 by Dave D'alessandro


    We hold this truth to be self-evident: Talent wins in the NBA

    So how does one reconcile the Rockets' flameout in this post-season? The prevailing consensus is either they were never as good as their hype, even with three of the 50 greatest players of all time on their roster. or their age caught up with them at the worst possible time.

    We're inclined to believe neither, actually. Sure, the Rockets are a team only a paleontologist could love, with seven players in their rotation on the wrong side of 32 (Matt Maloney is the only 20-something member of the group).

    Indeed, there were some moments when Charles Barkley's movements seemed so stiff you could hear the creak -- even he admits he's not the player he once was (not that he had to). But we still saw the best that Hakeem Olajuwon had to offer in the series against Utah, and when the deal went down in Game 6, Clyde Drexler played superbly.

    So if it wasn't age, then what?
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    Just this: Even the greatest teams need role players, and this team had none -- not with Maloney and Mario Elie playing the way they did, anyway. The stars deliver the big plays; the support guys fill the gaps, do the grunt work and provide the chemistry. Didn't see it.

    The Rockets also needed some imagination. When the Big Three were on the floor, the Rockets were a dreary, predictable and tentative group, with an offense that was methodically boring in its connect-the-dots approach (Step 1: Post up. Step 2: Await the double. Step 3: Swing it. Step 4: Hoist the 3. Step 5: Repeat next time down)

    Even when Hakeem made the right decisions against the double, or had one of his ignescent scoring binges, you saw the rest of the team standing around like kids awaiting their turn in a schoolyard. Only when Eddie Johnson and Sedale Threatt were on the floor did this team play creatively and instinctively.

    Yes, they ran all the same things in '94 and '95. But during those title runs, Hakeem's old supporting cast played with the passion of men who knew exactly what was expected of them: Nobody defended the post better than Otis Thorpe; nobody threw themselves into every play like Vernon Maxwell; nobody played both ends like Robert Horry.

    This '97 model did none of those things. Barkley's way of adjusting his game to mesh with Olajuwon was to disappear entirely for periods at a time -- and then blame it on his old, tired legs.

    (Quickie stat: Houston was 0-5 in the postseason when Olajuwon scored 30 or more.)

    So what do the Rockets do now? They could break the team up, but that's probably too bold, given they've mortgaged their future to get this far. Management could rationalize that it was a Drexler runner away from forcing Game 7, or argue that it never had the veteran point guard this team needed -- which is probably the highest compliment Brent Price will ever receive.

    Olajuwon is as good as ever. Drexler, headed for his 15th season, ignores Barkley's claim that the run is over before it started.

    And what about Charles? What does he do, now do they're no longer holding auditions for the new Captain Kangaroo?

    Maybe he's dot when he says this was their last chance. But if it isn't and the core is left intact, the Rockets we have to adjust, and it's Barkley himself who should do most of it He could start by volunteering to come off the bench, which would solve the problem of overtaxing his old legs, and restore the energy and ability to hold leads that to the old lineup had without him.
     
  2. smoothie

    smoothie Contributing Member
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    nice find.

    while yao and tmac will deliver every night, it shouldn't be news ot anyone here that this team needs a better supporting cast. battier was a huge pickup. i like to see him as our robert horry. some rebounds, a block, a steal, and spacing for the post.

    snyder should be an excellent pickup. he will supply defense and some spot up shooting the way mario ellie did.

    luther can provide shooting punch off the bench.

    our main problem is adding another post defender and settling the PG duties. after we will those two needs we will be a contender.
     
  3. Omer

    Omer Member

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    Which 3?
     
  4. Omer

    Omer Member

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    Oh, ROFL. The article is from 1997. My fault.
     
  5. The Hungarian Rocket

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    Ok. Now we're in the same situation. ;)
     
  6. tinman

    tinman Contributing Member
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    im catching you guys not reading the full article.

    young grasshoppers.
     
  7. krosfyah

    krosfyah Contributing Member

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    I disagree with this article.

    9/10 times the winning team has a guy that receives some legit MVP consideration. The remaining contending teams more often than not contain the rest of the MVP candidates with a couples teams that slip in here and there.

    The 1997 Rockets did not have anybody on that received series consideration for an MVP.

    The part I do agree with is that you need solid role players ...secondarily. If you don't have a stud on your team, you're role players will rarely, if ever, be enough.
     
  8. JoeBarelyCares

    JoeBarelyCares Contributing Member

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    Except we have the "not as big 2".
     
  9. LFE171

    LFE171 Member

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    great find tinman. looks like this guy was pretty anti-barkley. but i can't blame him. barkley was pointing fingers and being over sensitive about his game deteriorating and he was getting fat.

    it made me sad reading this but its the damn truth. and we are going through the same thing now. we got our badass superstar duo. it seems we got some pieces down when it comes to passing and spacing the floor. true that skip's shooting is a liability, but when tmac and yao are healthy, he wont be taking shots, battier will.

    but damn, we are missing the rest. head's gotta get over that rookie wall, snyder's gotta bring that fire and swagger from the bench and not his attitude, vspan and jl3 gotta be that instant spark that will revitalize tmac and yao when we're in a slump, and juwan's gotta well...do everything better instead of having his negative value. and not to mention you still got mutombo, novak and hayes that needa fill their roles which i know they will.

    oh god and let's not get started on flyin ryan.

    if you think a bout it, thats a LOT of things our role players need to take care of. and man...i hope theyve been practicing this summer cause if they cant do it, we better move those guys and find someone who will do those "dirty jobs".

    geez just lookin at this, its like our astros relievers are better than our bench. thats kinda sad.
     
  10. fromobile

    fromobile Contributing Member

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    I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times... HAKEEM was NOT as good as ever when charles got here. He slipped. He kept taking his off seasons off. He was NOT as good as ever. People refused to notice that he wasn't the same.
     
  11. StupidMoniker

    StupidMoniker Contributing Member

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    I'm guessing this was an article written by a Houstonian that covered the title seasons and didn't like the Barkley trade, because the facts don't back up his conclusions. When Barkley played, that team was great, and when he was out with injury, it was not. Period.
     
  12. tinman

    tinman Contributing Member
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    we did beat seattle with barkley.
     
  13. tinman

    tinman Contributing Member
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    the writter didn't like matt maloney
     
  14. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

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    It may have been methodical, it may have been methodically boring, BUT

    It was NOT boring.

    In the first month of the season the team was 16-1, scored 100 or more points 11 times, scored 110 or more points 8 times, scored 115 or more points 6 times and scored 120 or more points 3 times :eek:

    It doesn't matter how you get there (fast break, post up and dish out, some of both), getting there makes for exciting basketball.

    Certainly the team was worse when Barkley was injured that year, BUT, don't forget Clyde only played 62 games, also, some of which put him and Barkley out at the same time.

    It's hard to argue that Barkley didn't adjust his game as needed when he joined the Rockets. His scoring went down, though not dramatically, and he focused more on rebounding and assists. Nonetheless, something still didn't work and when it was all said and done, Barkley was the one doing most of the finger pointing...and hasn't really showed any love for Houston since retiring.

    Looking at the box scores from the Jazz series, a few things pop out.
    - Hakeem dominated pretty much the entire series. He may not have been as good as he was, but he was still dominant enough.
    - Charles and Clyde were hit or miss.
    - Matt Maloney may have played the worst game of professional basketball ever played in game 6. 24 minutes, 0-6. 0 rebounds, 1 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 2 turnovers, 1 PF and 0 points. All while Stockton put up 25/13 and Hornacek added 18.

    Barkley played a decent game, Drexler had his best game of the series. Hakeem didn't dominate, but was efficient (8-12 FG, 11 rebounds, 6 assists).

    Conclusion = When it comes to Conference Finals and NBA Finals, you can't just not have good role players at most positions...you have to have good role players at EVERY position, and you can't afford for somebody you are counting on to at least do a few positive things to play solid minutes and give you absolutely nothing.

    Regarding the current squad, I do think Juwan and Rafer are solid role players, but when it comes to the possibilities of them putting up zeros in a one or two playoff games, it is a frightening thought.
     
  15. tinman

    tinman Contributing Member
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    horry and cassell they are not
     
  16. pgabriel

    pgabriel Contributing Member

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    the rockets won two championships before barkley, fact, period.


    everyone was on the court when the rockets lost to utah, barkley, hakeem, drexler, so I don't even know what point you're trying to make.
     
  17. StupidMoniker

    StupidMoniker Contributing Member

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    I don't remember anyone denying that. With Sam and Horry and with Hakeem dominating, the Rockets were an excellent team, their only weakness was that they could not beat Seattle. If they could get by without facing Seattle, they had a good shot. Barkley made it so they could beat Seattle, but then they had trouble with Utah (although they were a bit screwed by the refs in game 6 in '97 and Bark was injured in their first round series the next year.)

    As I mentioned before, there was the ref screwjob. In addition to that, there was the fact that Utah had home court advantage, which they may not have had if the team had been healthy all year. You can't base personnel decisions on the possibility of injury, it is just part of the game. There is no reason to believe that the Rockets would have won again without making the trade, and they were better after the trade than before.
     
  18. aussie rocket

    aussie rocket Member

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    The tinman loves the old school :)

    bring back Chris Jent!

    He actually played a bit in the Australian NBL (for the North Melbourne Giants) He wasn't even that good playing here.
     

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