Tuesday Afternoon Rockets/NBA Links

As I mentioned yesterday, with the victory against OKC Rick Adelman tied Jack Ramsay's total for wins. Jonathon Feigen talked to Adelman about tying his mentor.

"When you hit milestones like 500, 600 or 700 wins, that’s something that indicates you’ve had good teams," Adelman said. "But if I’ve matched him, to me that’s a personal milestone that means something, because he’s one of the best coaches ever in this league.

"So when you attain that status equal to him as far as wins — not as a coach but as wins — it just makes you feel pretty good. Because I know what kind of coach he was, and I was around him a lot, and that means a lot to me."

Adelman is one of the NBA's greatest coaches, and (as much as he gets criticized around here) it's important to remember that. He has had some good teams (something he's quick to mention), but he doesn't screw up those teams, either. Yes, those Kings and Blazers teams were pretty good, but he did a lot more with them than many coaches do with more talented teams.

More links after the jump.

Jason Friedman interviews Daryl Morey about a whole host of topics. Check it out.

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The Knicks Blog looks at the difference between their own hapless team and the Rockets.

My theory is that the Houston Rockets realize that they suck. They realize that they are outmatched on the talent flank in most games and they know that they have to make up for it with heart and effort. The current Knicks, by contrast, are a collection of players with an overinflated sense of their value.

I can't stand this "analysis," personally. Yeah, effort and "heart" mean something, but this team is fairly talented. Top to bottom, there's no one on this Rockets team (save, perhaps, Brian Cook) who can't contribute to a championship-caliber team. Despite what the author thinks, there _is_ a huge difference in ability between the Rockets and the Knicks, and most of that stems from the fact that the Rockets don't pay guys like Al Harrington or Darko piles of money to suck.

Still, my favorite comment about this team comes from the comments section:

The Rockets are underrated and disciplined Stakhanovites

I'm glad to see the "Red Nation" movement is catching on outside of the Dream Shake.

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BDL's Top 10 Rankings voice a similar thought as my commentary above. The Rockets are ranked #9.

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82games.com now has 2009-2010 stats available, though with less than 10 games played so far, their value is dubious.

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FreeDarko looks at the emerging drive for high school stars to play overseas:

So whither Wall and Sidney? If they are ultimately cleared by the NCAA, they play a year of college basketball, increase their brand awareness, and enter next year’s NBA Draft as known commodities. But, if they aren’t, then what?

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Lastly, Henry Abbott notes that many successful teams are using players who couldn't get minutes on much worse teams, and our man Kyle "Bulldog" Lowry gets a mention:

Kyle Lowry gets to the free throw line so much that other ways he contributes to the Rockets' success almost seem like gravy, and has been on the floor much of the time as the Rockets almost beat the Lakers. But the Grizzlies didn't really have a role for him when he was there.

Abbott, I think, doesn't take this far enough:

I'm not saying the teams that let these players go made mistakes. Often they just have different priorities.

But I am saying that there's clearly something going on when it's easy to come up with players who couldn't stick with bad teams but are right at home on good teams.

Yes, letting many of these players go was a mistake. Lowry was traded for a late-first-round pick and some minor cap relief. In other words, Lowry was traded to get rid of his meager salary in exchange for a player whose ceiling might be Lowry. This demonstrates something very important: in a league with a salary cap and a great deal of revenue sharing, if your team sucks it's probably because its front office is awful. The Rockets understood that Lowry could contribute. The Grizzlies thought he couldn't (or at least not enough to justify not trading him). The Rockets' FO is good, the Grizzlies' is terrible. It's really that simple.

Though Abbott is wrong about one thing: Josh Powell sucks, and the Lakers' use of him is just a symptom of their depth issues.

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