When I first started writing here, I was most curious about one thing, or one person I should say: Our resident troll and all around ball of hate, BD34. I had read a lot of his stuff prior to joining the staff, and while I was a fan, I admit I was a bit tenuous about working with the guy. He’s loud, obnoxious, and a just a terrible human being in every sense of the word.
It was obvious that he and I would become great friends.
Our conversations behind the scenes have been the subject of a lot of laughs and moments of authentic horror. I mean, here’s a guy that sends me text messages like this:
I just dropped a fart that sounded like Chewbacca arguing with tech support in Spanish.
I didn’t even know they had those in Kashyyk.
Anyway we eventually came up with this idea about dusting off the TDS roundtable thing that he used to run, but we wanted to broaden the scope of the column since life isn’t just about basketball (it also includes cheerleaders) and we also wanted to incorporate the discussions that we have behind the scenes. So I asked BP, "Hey! Why don’t we get together and co-write the mailbag from now on, except that we will talk about stuff other than basketball too?"
You mean you and I together? He says.
But I hate you. So much.
Like I said. We’re best friends.
So welcome to the BP Spill (Gulf Coast, BD34 and Prado, we're witty or something!)
On with the Spill:
Bill Simmons keeps proposing Pau Gasol trades (usually to Atlanta for Josh Smith, Korver). Any thoughts on whether Pau would still be a good fit in H-town, and a theoretical trade if one were to happen? Seems like it would have to involve a third team. –Name Witheld
Prado: Before I can answer, I have to say this: Screw Bill Simmons.
Moving on, I think Gasol as a Rocket sounds good conceptually, but I don’t think it would work in practice. We have plenty of options at the power forward position and none of them have massive 19 million price tags. Never mind the fact that we've used most of the Rockets most attractive assets in the Harden trade.
The thing about this roster is that no one seems to want to give it time to mature just yet. With the addition of Harden, everyone keeps talking about the additional guy that we need to add to get us to the next level. I propose we wait to see who rises to the top from the power forward spot. Jones and Motiejunas could already be the people we've been looking for at the position. And lets not forget Marcus Morris, he still needs plenty of seasoning.
BD: There's no such thing as a sensible Pau Gasol trade for the Rockets anymore. The team dumped its best chips to get James Harden and rightfully so. Gasol is still a very viable PF and the kind of guy who definitely puts a team over the top but not this team. We're young, we're gelling, we're a rebuilding team. I don't care how badly people want to burn cap space and get knocked out in the first or second round for the next couple of years, that's not the end-goal. As soon as it becomes the end-goal that team best get sold. You're dead on. We acquired Harden and everyone assumed we were going to be one of the greatest teams in the NBA. We made a big splash, hooray, that doesn't mean we were gifted a title. We were gifted a future and not an immediate one.
What do you think are some realistic moves the Rockets might make? The roster as such isn't going to win a title. Any ideas how we might actually get there? -Name Withheld
BD: We get a lot of emails asking for more moves for the Rockets and is it fair to tell them "stay put and count your blessings" rather than provide some blueprint to use our completely depleted pool of resources to scrounge someone up? Hell, let the team come together. We're now built to come together in a similar way to OKC (Minus drafting them all but get young guys together, let them grow, learn, and play, and BAM, you've just changed your culture and prospects going forward) and why are we so quick to hurry it and rush back into a stupid-ass rebuild because some fans got impatient and lost sight of the goal? There is a bigger picture outside this season.
Report card on Kelvin Sampson's interim performance? –Name Witheld
BD: On Sampson's interim performance, I'm going to give him a solid B-. I've seen the team perform better in some regards and completely quit in some games too. They squeaked one out over the Bulls because he pulled Lin in crunch time for a better defender and thrashed the Knicks because screw the Knicks, but they laid an absolute egg in Utah and quit. How much of this progress belongs to Sampson? I'm not sure. It very well could be due to the team coming together with time. There is a lack of discipline with the high number of isolation plays we've seen and I think McHale doesn't settle for that kind of crap.
Prado: So what else is there to talk about? Did anyone ever get around to tearing Comcast a new one? I guess it doesn’t affect you since you're out of market... which begs the question, what’s worse? Being in Texas with no Rockets games, or being from Buffalo?
BD: No one got around to tearing Comcast a new one. I can't complain, they're my cable provider. If I can broaden your question though, I think it's worse to be a fan of Houston sports in general than to be from Buffalo (Which I'm not, mind you).
I mean, Hell, at least in Buffalo we understand everything you want needs to be earned. I've seen a lot of entitlement and inferiority complexes (Odd how that paired up) out of Rockets and Texans fans. I just see a lot of depression out of Bills and Sabres fans coupled with some hope that the next few years won't be as bad as the previous ones. No matter what there's that element of being grounded because your hopes have been crushed. I can't chide Texans fans that much because what you have is a fantastic football team but when that comes crashing down maybe they'll mature like the Bills did. Have a great team, see it burn, recover for the next 15 years of inept management.
For Rockets fans, eh, you'd think they'd learn but it's this weird thing Houston has about it that they think no one respects the city cause it's Dallas's obese younger brother.
Prado: How could you not be from Buffalo and be a Bills fan? You freaking masochist.
I completely agree that Rockets/Texans fans have this sense of inferiority. Especially when it comes to anything related to Dallas. Years of abuse does that to you. It’s strange as hell wearing my six year old Andre Johnson jersey out and having people glad hand me and congratulate me when in years past I would get made fun of and derided with "T.O. is better" talk.
Ugh. Where are you now, you suicidal clown?!
But is that worse than Buffalo? I say no. Houston, for all its clammy heat and ethnic people, is still located in the South. Being cold makes everything worse. Snow sucks once you get past a certain age.
We should probably talk more about our Harden bet. You claim, very brashly that Harden will average 26/6/4, which is fucking crazy. (Right now he's 25/4/4). We never set parameters about what the stakes were though. If I win, I want to shame you publicly in some way
BD: I have proudly proclaimed that Harden will average 26/6/4 and he's on pace around it right now and that's with a really bad slump and a few "stinker" games from him. When you shell out max money for facial hair that puts Leonidas to shame you expect it to produce. I don't care how delusional you want to be, he's going to run train on the NBA regardless of how much Jeremy Lin wants to get lost in the lane and force the ball out to the perimeter. His iso game looked spot in against New York and you had to be wetting yourself to see him trot out on the court and treat the Knicks like they owe him money. I don't think I've ever been more bored with a game though. It was never even all that close. It's nice to see a group of men on the floor for the first time in four years though.
Seriously, how often have you seen the Rockets put up a great game then collapse in the third quarter or throw out the white flag? It's the same feeling I get when I hear a great song start and then the vocals kick in and you realize "Wait, I've told everyone how much this band sucks for years, I gotta stop before anyone catches on to the fact that I think this thing has a good hook in it." That moment of panic, that moment of identity crisis... Can we go back to talking about the Rockets Power Dancers? I need an excuse to drop a picture of Alysse again.
Prado: You ducked the question: WHAT ARE THE STAKES?! But I'm all for Harden, I HOPE he averages 26/6/4, he may even be a contender for a scoring title based on the simple fact that Houston's offense is best when it's funneled through him. He drives to the basket a lot and he can (sometimes) create his own shot.
All that said, I've never liked James Harden. If you ask me, he's kind of a bitch. I've disliked him ever since he acted real prissy when Ron Artest gave him a little elbow check.
Stats, metrics and numbers are great and all to evaluate the game and its players, but one of the advents of sideline fandom is that you can eschew all that and simply follow a narrative that develops before you. I saw James Harden act like a bitch once, so therefore, he must be always be a bitch. This is what is awesome about sports. It’s not like politics where the craziness before has real implications, in sports, you can see what you want to see and filter out all else.
BD: Right. How long is it going to take until we make a less than favorable comment about Jeremy Lin and guarantee about 600 replies to this thread, accusations of racism, and the belief that we are necessarily inflammatory or unable to take criticism. I mean, after all, to err is human, to denigrate Jeremy Lin is the worst of all sins. I have a chip on my shoulder if you couldn't tell.
As for the stakes, name it. Public shaming/twitter shaming is fine, I’m not getting naked in public though.
Prado: Maybe we can save the Lin critiques for next week when you have control of the column. Everyone already thinks I’m a racist prick.