Fizer's Take: Houston Rockets
For the last 7 years of his career, Yao Ming has always dreamed for a shot at the playoffs. The fact that he hasn't gone out of the first round in all his years in the NBA has hurt his own pride and Houston's even more. Worst of all, injuries ate up most of his seasons which is attributed to the "curse of the big men". Being 7'6 is never easy. They get all the calls and they get posterized by players smaller than them. The addition of Ron Artest was key for the Rockets team even if they are without Tracy McGrady (again). T-Mac has been hobbled by injuries and decided to end his season by undergoing microfracture surgery. Still, Yao and the Rockets continued to push through the playoffs with a supporting casts that has been very very solid all throughout the season. Shane Battier provide solid wing defense and perimeter shooting, Aaron Brooks was simply fast for the defense, Carl Landry was an energy guy bringing his A game nightly and of course you can't forget about Ron Artest's rebellious attitude on and off the court and Luis Scola's veteran play. The combinations of those strengths were devastating as the Rockets saved a playoff spot for the season. The first round encounter with the Portland Trail Blazers was what they needed to help Yao get off the hump. Yao's performance against the Blazers were nothing short of breathtaking as he proved to the people that he is hungry to move forward deep into the playoffs and reach what his idol, the great Hakeem, had done in the past. They overcame the sneaky Portland team in 6 games thus ending Yao's first round playoff misery. It was a sweet ride for China's son who remained healthy that season after having injury-plagued seasons ago. Their battle against the mighty Lakers in the second round proved to be a little tough but they did give a huge scare for the eventual champions, stretching their series to 7 games. Yao Ming went down in Game 4 with a serious injury which required him to miss the whole year but still, no one was happier than the big man who accomplished a lot that year. Still, it wasn't just about him but for the rest of the guys as well, like Aaron Brooks, Luis Scola and Ron Artest who enlightened the Rockets in their playoff run. Still, things looked positive for the Houston Rockets and their fans.
The Rockets entered the 2009 NBA Draft with no picks at all. They end the night getting 3 talented players through trades and cash. All these players they took were from the second round. Jermaine Taylor is a dynamic scorer who can definitely light up the score board when given the chance. He will be one of the rookies to watch this upcoming season. Sergio Llull is another potential talent that may need overseas experience sometime but there is no denying the talent that he has. The second biggest steal in the second round was definitely Chase Budinger who fell into the lap of the Pistons at 44 when the Rockets swooped in and grabbed the athletic winger from Arizona. Landing Budinger was like a broke man getting a cheeseburger and fries for free. He was a lottery talent that fell way behind for some reasons. Still, this proved that the Rockets made one of the stunning moves in the draft.
The Rockets upcoming season started with loads of bad news as their All-Star Center Yao Ming decided to undergo a major surgery that require him to miss the rest of the season. With Tracy McGrady still far from recovering and could potentially be traded, the Rockets playoff hopes is a little dim. Their biggest acquisition in the offseason was the swapping of free agents from the Lakers. The Lakers took the modern Bad Boy Artest and the Rockets signed a deal with ex-Laker swingman Trevor Ariza. The Rockets will get a solid, long and athletic player who recently celebrated a title at LA. The experience come in handy for the young man who is only rising to the top with so much untapped potential. Then again, Ariza is not a LeBron James type that can be relied on too much. He is a type of guy that needs someone like Kobe to make him better. Another signing they made was the acquisition of Australian forward David Andersen whom they acquired from Atlanta(draft rights). This is one of the moves that allows the Rockets to try and find a temporary replacement for their injured center. Not much is expected from the Rockets with players like Artest gone and Yao/TMac out for awhile, it could be a season worth forgetting for the Rockets. Will they be able to survive the improving Western Conference without their superstars? Who can step up and fill the big shoes vacated by Yao and McGrady? Is Brent Barry and Dikembe Mutombo playing for another year? The last question is a joke. We all know Mutombo's gone and Barry's gonna retire soon. So expect the Rockets to be in a full swing but sadly, lottery bound (temporarily) this season...
Basically, the season for the Rockets will pretty much sum up in their most famous line the city of Houston has ever known: "Pssshhtt... Pshhhttt... Houston, we have a problem!"
NBA Draft Grade: A
NBA Offseason Grade: B-
Predicted W-L: 29-53
That's just a writer's opinion... Anyone care to comment, I am open for it^^
man it's really disappointing to see what has gone wrong for this team. im not even a Rocket's fan, but it's unfortunate with all that has gone wrong this offseason. well hopefully in 2010 yao ming is back at full swing and they big up someone like dwyane wade via free agency. i love this team's young talent and i can see them in contention next year if all goes well.
rockets for the last few years have been a very talented team, Houston has based there team around injury proned superstars. That have once again proved us all right. Houston will be battling sacramento for the leagues worst team.
MarcusFizer21 great article again!
It's going to suck for the Rockets having Yao and T-Mac on the injury list and not playing, but they'll be lottery bound this year definitely. Who knows, they might get a superstar talent to play alongside Yao and T-Mac when they are healthy. Even if the Rockets suck this year, it is only going to be temporary.
Rockets got some solid players in the draft with Taylor, Budinger and Llull. When T-Mac and Yao come back, they have solid 6th man/role playing roles with Rockets that will definitely give them depth in the bench. The Rockets will be a solid team in a few years, just let Yao and T-Mac get healthy.
Btw, nice use of paragraphs!
IMO My Rockets have the best Bench in the league if our players were healthy.
They had it last year too. This year may be a dropoff unless those Rookies perform well