It has been noted in some quarters that we seem stuck on one news story. Never mind that the story captured the heart of a nation. Never mind that nothing is more important, nothing. And completely disregard the the valuable life lessons found in one man's quest to sulk his way out of one city and into another his wife would prefer.
That is all over now. For you see, THE HOUSTON ROCKETS are doing things, even if the things they are doing are practices, road trips to make friends, and sitting in a ice tub. (Sadly I missed the open practice, regarding instead a dismal defeat by dreadful disgusting Dallas. That was a suboptimal use of time.)
First let's start with the new media campaign. Well, Red Nation, are you ready for a Red Rising? Will the rebounders at last control the means of production? Will the fat cat oligarchs of the left coast at last feel the righteous fist of retribution? If this video is any evidence, the answer is yes. Check it out (after the jump):
I think it's pretty cool, and now we seem to have a new media campaign logo that fuses a basketball and an irradiated planet Mars into a sphere of glowing plasma awesomeness. This is exactly the sort of scientific progress I would expect from The People's Army of Basketball.
Second - There are some good interviews over at Rockets.com. This one with Kevin Martin is, if nothing else, strong evidence of Martin's highly positive attitude and all-around happiness at being a Rocket. Did you know Kevin Martin lead the league in scoring after 6 games last season, then got hurt? I didn't. Six games you say, 'pshaw!' you say, but consider - two more and that's 10% of the season. And he got a wrist injury as well, deadly for a shooter, and still put up good stats. Guys, all the talk about The Candy Bar That Shall Not Be Named (click it, I dare you) may have obscured something about Kevin Martin - he's really, really good.
Third - Brad Miller is hurt. He's expected to be out about 10 days to two weeks. He'll be ok for the start of the regular season, but I'm unhappy he's missing time with the team. That said, I'm also not concerned about the long-term implications here. Chase Budinger seems to be healing and should be flying high soon.
Fourth - Yao Ming minute plans. Which one is right for us? Honestly, this doesn't worry me. I think the minute limits are both a way of protecting Yao and managing expectations for the start of the season. Yao needs time to work his way into shape, get used to playing again, and to make sure his foot is ok. Handing down a hard guideline from management relieves the pressure on Rick Adelman (while it probably frustrates him as well). With the guideline in place there's no overusing Yao, because the team, you know, needs the win. Well, the Rockets need all the wins, they can't afford to lose any winnable games in the West. But this is a deep enough team to get those wins without leaning too hard on Yao early on.
Fifth - Eric Dampier, (ED to his many not-quite-as-thrilled-as-they-might-be lady friends) may become a Rocket, now that his frontrunning bid to join Miami has been quashed. He's apparently not cool enough to join that club. So he's weighing his options, considering us along with some other teams with crunchy centers (Hello Portland! Hello Milwaukee! We feel your pain!). It's a crazy, sad, sick world that finds me pining for ED, thinking ED might help, wondering if ED might be the answer. Should there be two ice tubs overlooking the basketball court? Is the time right? Am I going slightly insane waiting for actual basketball? Ask your doctor if Eric Dampier is right for you!
Sixth - The Rockets are taking a preseason trip to Austin, before a pre-season trip to China. It's a goodwill mission into Spurs Occupied Territory. Hopefully The Rockets can bring the benefits of The Red Rising to the oppressed of Austin, and befuddle the schemes of The Running Dog Lackeys of The Landlord Class.
Seventh - The Rockets open practice was apparently even less defensively-oriented than the NBA All Star Game. Which is to say, no one even bothered to bring red capes to wave. And that is fine. This looks to be a loose, happy, and dare I say it, remarkably intelligent, basketball team.
Eight - d3o. Check this stuff out. It's an amazing material that has been around a few years. Mostly it's light, soft and supple. Upon impact, however, it stiffens and spreads the force of impact throughout the material. Apparently it really does work. Now look at item #3 on this page. Might something like this, changed up of course, be beneficial to Yao Ming, and protect his foot from being crushed and broken? The Houston Oilers were the first team to put a QB in a flak jacket, as I recall. Why shouldn't the Rockets be the first to try this approach to injury protection?
Ninth - Patrick Patterson - he's here. I'd like to see what he can do.
Tenth - What have I missed? Let me know.
I think we're contenders as we are. As a bald Irishwoman once sang: I do not want what I haven't got. Except for an NBA title.