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Yao's new pal....Deke...Chron

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by SA Rocket, Sep 16, 2004.

  1. SA Rocket

    SA Rocket Contributing Member

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    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/sports/2798413

    Rockets bring in new pal for Yao
    Mutombo vows to be challenge young center needs
    By BY JONATHAN FEIGEN
    Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle

    Dikembe Mutombo thought back to those wonderful, heady days when he learned how to play center in daily offseason boot camps with Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning. Ewing was his "friend and brother." They all would go on to become NBA stars.

    This, Mutombo said, is what he can bring to the Rockets and, more specifically, Yao Ming.

    Mutombo will bring the Rockets a leader and a rebounder, a role model and a shot blocker. He also will provide Yao with a stubborn 7-2 nuisance to test and help develop the Rockets' 24-year-old star center in practices.

    "It's going to be very, very interesting for him," Mutombo said. "For the first time in his life, he will have someone almost looking at him in his face and going against him, up and down and back and forth and challenging him in a different kind of way."

    In Houston on Wednesday for the first time since being traded to the Rockets last week, Mutombo spoke about the prospects of working with Yao with his usual eloquence and nearly as much passion as when he talked about the hospital he built in his native Republic of the Congo.

    "I think competing in practice will help him learn a lot," Mutombo said. "Some of us got a chance to work alongside ... Patrick and Alonzo every day in practice. That's where I learned the game. By Patrick being here, someone that taught me so much, I think Yao can learn a lot from both of us.

    "He mentioned I would be a good example for Yao to follow when it comes to blocking shots and rebounding. There are a few tricks he has to learn. Some of us took it from somebody else, like Bill Russell, who got a chance to spend a lot of time with me to teach me a lot of tricks about the game. I think I'm going to use that same technique to teach my boy Yao."

    Last season, his 13th, Mutombo was a more efficient shot blocker than Yao, averaging 1.89 blocks in 22.9 minutes per game to Yao's 1.9 in 32.8 minutes. Mutombo's career average of 3.22 blocked shots is third in league history behind Mark Eaton and Manute Bol, and with 2,996 career blocked shots, Mutombo trails only Hakeem Olajuwon (3,830), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (3,189) and Eaton (3,064).

    Mutombo, an eight-time All-Star, is the only four-time Defensive Player of the Year in NBA history.

    But after praising the move and describing the value of having a quality backup center, Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy was not as convinced that practicing against Mutombo would be that beneficial to Yao.

    "From last year, Yao crushed him, so I think it will help Yao's confidence, unless (Mutombo) guards him better than he did last year in those two games," Van Gundy said. "I mean, Yao wore him out."

    Yao had 15 points and nine rebounds in 27 minutes against the Knicks in New York. Two weeks later, he burned Mutombo and the Knicks for 29 points on 12-of-15 shooting and had 10 rebounds in only 29 minutes.

    "It's more the fact ... to see where his career has gone, it's been through hard work and diligence," Van Gundy said. "Whenever you add people that are committed and serious and professional — he also has a great sense of community — you can't go wrong. You also can't go wrong practicing against that guy, because you know what you're going to get every day."

    In that case, perhaps Mutombo, 38, will be in a position to improve or at least recapture some of the defensive prowess of his prime by working against Yao.

    "I practiced against Patrick and Alonzo, but since then, I never got a chance to compete against nobody like Yao on the practice court," Mutombo said. "But I'm looking forward to it."
     
  2. xiki

    xiki Contributing Member

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    Cato never sounded like that -- no pun intended.

    Deke > Cato. Big time.
     
  3. tim562

    tim562 Contributing Member

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    I thinks its kinda funny to hear Diek say that Yao can almost have someone look up to him... I am sure Diek has never said that about anyone being that he is a modest 7' 2". Thats kinda crazy...Anyway, I am excited...Isn't the season gonna start already?
     
  4. moligity

    moligity Contributing Member

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    I love JVG's sense of humor.

    "From last year, Yao crushed him, so I think it will help Yao's confidence, unless (Mutombo) guards him better than he did last year in those two games," Van Gundy said. "I mean, Yao wore him out."
     
  5. rockets-#1

    rockets-#1 Contributing Member

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    I've really liked the trade for Deke since the second happened. It will do wonders for Yao's career, I believe.
     
  6. Rockets34Legend

    Rockets34Legend Contributing Member

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    I can't wait for Yao to develop his offensive and defensive skills against Mutombo.
     
  7. lytruc

    lytruc Contributing Member

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    Now is JVG just an @ss or what? Here is a guy who is talking about helping Yao get better, play better. He talks about how he wants to be a mentor to Yao to show him the little tricks/nuances of the game that he gained through Bill Russell/Alonzo/Ewing and his own experience. Instead of praising him, he rips him.

    Talk about a lack of diplomacy.
     
  8. Old Man Rock

    Old Man Rock Contributing Member

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    Honestly I think the guy doesn't getit sometimes. I mean he doesn't actually realize he is saying something stupid. Which is kind of scary 'cause he is our coach who is supposed to use his people skills to help motivate our team.
     
  9. m_cable

    m_cable Contributing Member

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    It's just like that with Shaq. I forgot who said it first, but Yao is the only guy that makes Shaq look normal sized.
     
  10. daNasty

    daNasty Member

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    He's speaking the damn truth so what's the problem with that? You think Deke doesn't know?
     
  11. RocketForever

    RocketForever Contributing Member

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    Still...I find it a little strange that a head coach would diss a new player on his team like that.
     
  12. WinknCatForever

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    I agree it was a little harsh, but I think Van Gundy is just being **brutally honest**

    It is true, Yao had his way with Mutumbo scoring 29 points, on 12-of-15 shooting in 29 minutes, scoring at will with ease. Deke did look exhausted guarding him and Doleac was pretty much useless trying to stop Yao.
     
  13. daNasty

    daNasty Member

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    Yeah yeah, "crushed" is a little harsh and he should've use outplay instead but no matter what, it's a motivation for Deke. Deke might be no use to Yao if Yao easily crush him in pratice since it pretty obvious Ewing was useless. Deke is too slow but he got good timing and instinct for blocking and rebounding. Don't know if that is teachable especially the instinct.
     
  14. douglasreedy1

    douglasreedy1 Member

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    Well he said Bill Russell taught him some tricks of the trade, and I don't think he's talking about his sky hook...
     
  15. armada

    armada Member

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    You're so right. I also think JVG just wanna motivate Deke
     
  16. BigM

    BigM Contributing Member

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    he wasn't insulting him at all. c'mon guys after a year of listening to van gundy interviews you still can't tell when he's messing around. sure he's right but i can pretty much gurantee he was having a laugh with the press and dikembe. kinda like when we signed mark jackson and he kept picking on how slow he is. that's van gundy's humor.


    anyways i like deke's attitude and hopefully he's got something to show yao still.
     
  17. magyuan

    magyuan Member

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    Damn, I fall in love with JVG:D
     
  18. Matador

    Matador Member

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    JVG was joing I think. He was just givign Deke a hard time. I thought it was hilarious.
     
  19. armada

    armada Member

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    even if Deke has difficulties against Yao, he could still teach Yao rebound and block. hope he will be another Yao's mentor. i like his attitude too.
    IMO that is JVG's way to tell Deke to donate all of his skills without reservation.
     
  20. Texas Stoke

    Texas Stoke Contributing Member

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    You don't get it. Take off the old school blinders and show some love. Don't follow in the bitter footsteps of the other little JVG haters who sadly take money out of their paychecks to help sustain rocketrich's fading JVG hater fan club.This silly fault finding with JVG is not going to bring Rudy back. Rudy has moved on. So should you guys. But this is not about some character flaw that you are really concerned about with our coach is it? its about the notoriety and fame of being a member of the JVG hater fan club that keeps your hatred alive. But I have news for you the I hate the JVG fan club is going down. Its on its last leg. and its president is nowhere to be found. Come on over to the side of new perspective and the red and gold glory days will seem that much sweeter. But if you just can't let it go than I guess it would help for you guys to understand that JVG has a different way of showing his sense of humor than Mr. Tomjonavich. Rudy had some great quotes that others from the north would have probably thought stupid. Like that quote about Jethro and Cletus playing family reunion basketball. So Leave the guy alone.
     
    #20 Texas Stoke, Sep 16, 2004
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2004

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