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Was it the Chicken or the Egg?

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by thacabbage, Feb 11, 2006.

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Do Sam Cassell and Robert Horry have an innate sense of "winning"?

  1. No - their recent success has been due to their early championship experience

    50 vote(s)
    35.7%
  2. Yes - these guys are natural winners and do not get enough credit for the championships

    90 vote(s)
    64.3%
  1. thacabbage

    thacabbage Contributing Member

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    Following the second championship and shortly after, the conventional wisdom was that the Rockets' success was due to the good fortunes of having one of the greatest big men in league history surrounded by a nifty cast of role players. I think however, up until the past few years, we have underestimated the contributions of the latter part of that equation.

    Looking at how the careers of Horry and Cassell (and to a lesser degree, Mario Elie) have played out, it reaffirms the obvious - a good surrounding cast is paramount to winning a championship. However, another question arises. Has the success these guys have had throughout their careers been based upon the early championship experience they enjoyed here or did they come to Houston with "it"?

    This is a very important questions in relation to the building of this current team. Whenever you hear Robert Horry or Sam Cassell's name mentioned by the national media, words like "he's a winner" are always attached. Horry is obviously one of the greatest clutch performers in NBA playoff history. Cassell in the recent past has been the veteran rejuvenation force of 3 franchises. He helped lead the Bucks to the conference finals, took the Wolves to the conference finals, and has done the unthinkable in turning around the Clippers. During the time of the Spurs first championship, alot of the talk was of Mario Elie instilling a sense of toughness into the team.

    So did we win the championship because these guys were born with that innate sense of winning or is their recent success a product of their early championship experience? I ask this because the Rockets have been compiling a bunch of losers to surround their best players over the last decade. Guys like Mo Taylor, Eddie Griffin, and Derek Anderson are all "losers" for one reason or another.

    You obviously can't know who's a "winner" or who has "it" when you draft them, but is it important to luck into drafting these guys or is the superstar core (and surrounding it with talent) all that matters?
     
  2. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member
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    Perhaps it has more to do with getting to play alongside the likes of Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O'neal, and Tim Duncan then any innate winning ability -- regarding Horry.

    As for Cassell, his best attribute is his ability to take over and excel in pressure situations. Also, his swagger on and off the court also increases the confidence of his teammates and makes them work harder.
     
    #2 durvasa, Feb 11, 2006
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2006
  3. JBIIRockets

    JBIIRockets Contributing Member

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    They definitely came to Houston with "it". Keep in mind, in Horry's rookie year in 93, he was hitting big shots that year as well. but Horry and Hakeem didn't have Sam Cassell (they had Scott Brooks), didn't have Mario Elie (they had Winston Garland, an undersized 2 guard),

    Think how much easier Elie and Cassell made it for Hakeem, not just vice versa. They both kept defenses honest because they were always dependable from long range.

    T-Mac and Yao don't deserve the majority of the blame for this season. They are still productive. They play well. Injuries happen, part of the game. The problem is, our current set of role players are undependable, don't do the little things that Elie and Horry did, don't bring the ferocious attitude that Elie and Cassell and Thorpe brought. all we have now are just a lot of nice guys. Sura is the only one that exhibits toughness with just his presence.

    One thing is for sure about this season, I underestimated how valuable Sura was last year. even though he is not a natural point guard.
     
  4. Turcan5

    Turcan5 Member

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    Yes..Horry has played with some of the best big men of all time but that shouldn't take away from his playoff contributions. He hit huge shots for the Lakers during their run and had a monster game against Detroit last year for the Spurs. If he wasn't on that Spurs team, Detroit would be two time defending champs, and we'd have to keep seeing Rasheed walking around with that stupid WWE championship belt.
     
  5. DaDakota

    DaDakota Contributing Member

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    They win because they are on teams with STAR players and can play a role, if they were on crappy teams where they had to be the man, they would fail.

    Both are good role players.

    There success early on in their careers gave them the confidence and the pedigree to succeed.

    They should each bow down and suck Hakeem's toes for their careers.

    DD
     
    #5 DaDakota, Feb 11, 2006
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2006
  6. tigermission1

    tigermission1 Contributing Member

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    I think it was the cabbage... ;)

    Seriously though, good question, and I am going to lean to the overwhelming evidence that anywhere those two guys go (especially Cassell since he's a starting PG and not a bench player) winning follows them. They're winners, no question about it.

    I still can't believe that we had a chance at Cassell last season in a trade for JHo and we didn't do it, it's absolutely stupid if there was any truth to that rumor.

    Cassell is amazing: he plays with the Rox, we win two rings; he finally takes Garnett over the hump to the WCF, before that KG was a perennial first-and-out player; and perhaps most impressive of all, he works a miracle and makes the Clippers something other than the laughing stock of the league :eek:

    As for Horry, he's the prototypical role player that every championship-caliber team needs to win it all. Think about it, every team that has won it all, they had one of those players on their rosters: Lakers had Horry, Fisher, and Fox; Spurs had clutch players in Kerr and SJax, then in Horry; the Rockets had Cassell and VMax and Elie and KSmith; the Bulls had Kerr and Kukoc.

    It's an undeniable fact that it's just as important to have the 'right' role players on a team as it is to have superstars; it's the only winning formula there is.

    Cassell has been and continues to be the most underrated player in the NBA for the past decade.
     
    #6 tigermission1, Feb 11, 2006
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2006
  7. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member
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    I do think the "winner"/"loser" label is somewhat overrated. As a "stat-centric" fan, I usually like to look for concrete evidence as to why certain players enjoy success or suffer failure throughout their careers. People aren't innately winners or losers. How often they win is a function of their basketball abilities, how good their teammates are, and how they interact with their teammates on the floor towards winning games.

    A good player can enjoy success if he has good teammates around him. But a lot of times, players aren't quite as good as their numbers seem to indicate at first glance, and that can explain why they don't have the success one would expect. Consider Juwan Howard, who's pretty much been a "loser" throughout most of his career.

    Juwan Howard's numbers seem pretty good, if you don't take into account scoring efficiency, ability to make plays on defense, and minutes played. Adjust for that, and he becomes a pretty mediocre player, and has been for most of his career. So, when you make that kind of player your number one or two option and he's using up a lot of possessions, the team will naturally struggle.
     
  8. francis 4 prez

    francis 4 prez Contributing Member

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    it's often amazed me how clutchness or unclutchness can seem to pervade entire teams. for whatever reason, teams become teams of destiny, or teams that have "it" and they just always make the plays. and yet if you take the individuals and put them on another team, they're nothing special.

    look at the patriots recent run. they always seemed to make the fingertip catch, the shoestring tackle, force a fumble just at the right time, etc. and everyone has elevated so many of their stars during their run to be guys that just always make the big play and do what is needed, and yet my guess is if they played for the cardinals or some other slouch, we probably would barely know who they are. they would drop those fingertip catches, let guys burn them, and miss important field goals. but the team clutchness seems to work for them.

    the grizzlies had a season like that a few years ago, where they just seemed to win every close game with some sort of freak play, no matter who was making it. anyway, i often thought of the rockets championship runs as that sort of thing. we just had "it" and no one could beat us. but then i actually thought about the role players on that team and i realized it wasn't a fluke.

    maxwell, horry, cassell, and elie have all been proven clutch performers their entire careers and somehow we got them all on the same team around freakin' hakeem. maxwell hit all sorts of big shots for us before our runs, elie was credited with making the spurs a tougher team and hit plenty of big shots for them, cassell seemed like brash rookie who didn't know any better but has since gone on to be known as a big time late game player, and then of course horry has etched his name in the books as one of the clutchest guys ever. putting them all together was a sight to behold.

    so i think they always had it. they weren't made, they came that way. now that doesn't necessarily mean they weren't blessed by the teams they have been on. horry wasn't much in phoenix but sure looks good when you give him the chances that come with playing with a hakeem, shaq, or duncan. and cassell wasn't too good in nj or wherever else, but with hakeem, kg, or a nice supporting cast like the clippers have, he excels at taking them to a new level. so they both need pieces around them, they can't be the main guy, but their talents are perfectly suited to elevating teams and they've been doing it for over a decade now.
     
  9. bplld

    bplld Contributing Member

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    I dont get it. What does this have to do with chicken and eggs :confused: Is it about which came first? Cause i think that the chicken came first. God created the chicken, why would god create an egg?

    Anyways, i blame JVG. He isnt creating role players for Yao and Tmac. We have given him what we can, he just doesnt know how to mold a player.

    The front office has also been ignorant when pursuing players. They seem to just look at the paper when trying to find a new rocket. The rockets need to find that guy.
     
  10. scutmb

    scutmb Contributing Member

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    During those two title years, we had Cassel, Horry, Maxwell, Elie, Smith, one of them came out as a super star level at a key giving night. I still remember how Maxwell get us out of Sun with a big win; how Smith last 3 point shot fell in ant tight the game. Cassel has been amazing. He is super star, looked what he did after he left Houston. The trade for Barkley should be terrible trade in ROckets history. Dream was great, but without those guys, We would be first round playeroff team.
     
  11. akuma

    akuma Member

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    it was the chicken. always the chicken.
     
  12. thephatp

    thephatp Contributing Member

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    Come on people, it was the chicken AND the egg! ...Brilliant! :D
     
  13. giddyup

    giddyup Contributing Member

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    I think Horry and Cassell were just under-rated; they were better than just being a supporting cast. It's their "misfortune" to have played with so many superstars-- well Horry's anyway.

    They are a notch below which explains their vagabond careers as they seek out the most money or get jettisoned because of their contract.
     
  14. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    Horry WILLED the Spurs to a win in Game 6

    Rocket River
     
  15. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    All that Said

    I think RUDY instilled a confidence in his players
    I mean these players found the ball in there hands
    at the end of important games and Rudy said . . Let It Fly

    Ellie, Maxwell, and K Smith
    were not seen as CLUTCH before they came to the Rockets
    Cassell and Horry were not THE MAN on their College teams
    [Charlie Ward and Latrell Spreewell respectively]

    I think Rudy had a bit to do with it

    Look at Chuckie Brown . .without Rudy . . . Would still be in the CBA

    Some Coaches inspire you and bring out something in you

    Look what Rudy did with those kids in the World Games
    when every other Nation was using their Pros
    [considering a miserable 6th place finish in the olympics 2 yrs later]


    Rocket River
    WHO SPEAKS FOR RUDY!!!
     
  16. ima_drummer2k

    ima_drummer2k Contributing Member

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    Hakeem should thank them for making him a better player. And he has many times, if I'm not mistaken.

    Both of those guys (Horry in particular) knew how to get the big man the ball when and where he wanted it. This is not as easy as sounds. It's more than just passing to him. Horry is one of the best post passers in the league. This is why Hakeem, Shaq, and Duncan had such great years with him on their team. He made them better, not the other way around.

    Looking at our roster, I think Sura is the only guy that fits the Mario Elie mold. You'll notice that when we got hot last year coincided with Sura coming back. Hope he comes back soon.
     
  17. Easy

    Easy Very Calm
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    Yeah, the Rockets should have never traded away the two young winners (Cassell and Horry) for that career loser (Barkley). They would have beaten the Jazz AND MJ's Bulls for a third title if they hadn't messed up the core of that second championship team, and proved once and for all that our 2 titles are NOT due to MJ's absence.
     
  18. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    Sam Casselll said it best
    If we would have just added Willis
    we would have beat the sonics

    Rocket River
     
  19. thacabbage

    thacabbage Contributing Member

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    Kevin Willis was horrendous in the playoffs for us and made a disgrace of himself with some cheap shots to Shawn Kemp, ultimately getting suspended.

    We only won that series because of Charles.
     
  20. Panda

    Panda Member

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    Winners are winners, and losers are losers. The innate abilities set the range of performance, circumstances make the performance fluctuate in the given range. If it's gold under light, it'll shine. It shines more or less given the circumstances. Less on the river bed, more in the open ground.
     

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