I've written a lot about how preconceived notions and narratives influence the way in which we see the world (because I'm sure nothing drives up a sports' blog's hit counter like liberal-artsy shit). Hardwood Paroxysm's short piece on the Rudy T interview touches on this, as does Tomjanovich, himself.
Rudy states that he thinks Aaron Brooks and Landry are, in fact, "stars," it's just that no one is talking about them as such:
[Landry] also should be considered as an All-Star. He’s a special player. A lot of people don’t know him. They make the playoffs, they upset somebody… he’s going to be a guy that – the NBA knows about him now.
I always try and see into the future, as we all do, but through the lens of how different things looked five years ago from where we are now. Seeing Wade tear it up his rookie year, we still didn’t know he’d become this. So we wonder where these guys we now see as "great" but not superstars will end up...
You don’t want to run into Aaron Brooks and Carl Landry for 48 minutes.
Hardwood Paroxysm also has a great story on Chuck Hayes:
A man who finds himself in a hole before the ball is even tossed up at mid court each night. A player who hadn’t suited up at the center position since he was in junior high yet has locked down the spot for the first third of portion of the season, this guy, Chuck Hayes, he’s a special, once in a generation type dude.
There’s a different awe that should be bestowed on him, a different one than that which Kobe Bryant receives after hitting a "should’ve been reneged" game winner over Charlie Bell last month.
Forget about the numbers with Hayes, the fact that his well respected head coach decides to have him begin the battle each night is an under appreciated fact in itself. Watch this guy play and study his effort, his grit and his flat out determination. There might not be another one like him for a long time coming.
What's that? A Rocket is special? Yes, dear readers, it seems that the NBA Fan Community At-Large is beginning to understand as we do that the Rockets, to a man (except Cook), are pretty fucking badass.
And not only have the anonymous dregs of the internet begun to comprehend Chuck Hayes' awesomeness, the NBA's media department understands this, as well.
Carl Landry has an interesting perspective on the Arenas gun incident, having been shot last season while returning home from the Toyota Center:
"I don't know," Landry, 26, said. "You shouldn't know. It (owning guns) is not for that reason, that purpose. It's for protection for yourself and your family. It's not to brag and to boast. I don't think anyone in this room knows. It's not for that reason, and it's not talked about."
"I don't have one," said Landry, 26, who was shot last March when driving in Houston. "I wasn't raised that way. I think everything happens for a reason. I believe in God. He's my protector. The Bible says no weapon formed against you will prosper. It doesn't matter if I have one or someone else has one. The incident when I got shot, those people did not prosper. I was able to come back within five games.
"Me believing in God prevents me from having one. He's my protector. And I don't want to ever use it. If you pull it out, you better use it. I would have emptied it. I don't want to ever have to do that."
Gun ownership is a little more common than that amongst the rest of the Rockets, however:
A handful of Rockets players own guns, director of team security Butch Grant said. The topic rarely comes up, although there has been extensive talk about the Arenas incident.
"Some guys feel they are a target," Chuck Hayes, 26, said. "We have guys that feel like they need to carry a gun. It was in my household growing up. I'm not new to it."
Shane Battier, 31, is new to gun ownership but said he never saw a teammate bring a weapon to a locker room, never heard conversations about who owns weapons.
"I've played with a lot of guys in my nine years in the league that had guns," Battier said. "I've never seen a gun in a gym. I don't know if that number is accurate. I don't know how anyone would know. We have gun safety seminars every year, but no one's talking about how many guns they have or if there is a small arsenal at home. It may come up when something with a gun comes up like this. I wouldn't have any clue who has a gun. To protect my family, after having a child, I have protection in my house."
"When this came up, I asked a few guys did they have (guns)," Luis Scola, 29, said. "I know a few guys have them. I don't have one. What I believe is if you have the gun, you have to be ready to use it. You have to be ready to shoot somebody and to kill somebody. I don't want to do that, so I don't see a purpose to have one. I don't like them. My grandmother told me, ‘Guns are loaded by the devil.'
"It's a different lifestyle now in the NBA," said Aaron Brooks, 24, who didn't own a gun before he was in the NBA but has one now. "I'm not surprised that people have guns. Where they choose to take them surprised me. That's shocking to me. In the locker room? That's shocking."
While I'm sure no one on the Rockets reads this blog, nor would they care about my opinion, I think if you're wealthy enough to be playing in the NBA and be worried about your safety, you should just hire a bodyguard instead of carrying a gun.
In case you didn't know, Carl Landry's brother, Marcus, currently plays for the Knicks. He survived the last cuts to the roster (the deadline to cut non-guaranteed contracts) last week, and he'll be in Houston for the game tomorrow:
"He's been talking trash, and he will keep talking trash," Carl Landry said. "He is getting to Houston early, and we'll go out to eat with my mom and my grandmom. He's been shooting me text messages, ‘I know every move you do, and I'm going to stop it, and I'm telling all my teammates your favorite go-to moves and countermoves.' He's just talking trash, brother talk. It's going to be fun, especially if he gets a chance to be in the game."
One guy who didn't survive that deadline was Mike Harris, who was cut after Chase Budinger came back and before his contract became guaranteed.
"Right now, I'd be OK with it," Harris said. "I really like it here. I enjoy being around the guys. I know in due time an opportunity's coming.
"You never know what is going to happen throughout the course of an entire season. Guys sometimes get hurt, or have situations."
Harris had been averaging 25.3 points and 7.1 rebounds with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers when he signed with the Rockets.
Harris played in two games with the Rockets this season, making two of three shots in 12 minutes.
He'll probably return to RGV, but don't be surprised if another NBA team picks him up sometime soon.
Joey Dorsey is still tearing up the D-League, and apparently he's the Dwight Howard of the NBA's minor league.
Wednesday afternoon, the results were visible. Dorsey, after spending every day since training camp as a Viper, showed immense signs of improvement. Up to that point, he was averaging an already impressive 14.9 points and 13.6 boards per game, though those numbers were often marred by poor shooting from both the field and the line along with a habit of getting into foul trouble early and minimizing his impact.
After showing much of those same issues in his first game of the Showcase on Monday, finishing with just eight points and eleven boards on 2-of-8 shooting, one scout professed to Draft Express that "he's out to lunch. The worst body language of any player I've seen at this event."
It's unclear if the word got back to Dorsey, but he clearly looked like a man possessed in his Vipers 115-107 win over the Bakersfield Jam.
Dorsey was bigger, faster and most definitely stronger than any other player out on the court leading Rockets GM Daryl Morey to proclaim that "he's the Dwight Howard of the D-League."
"I really think if he was given starting minutes in the NBA, he'd be in the top 15 in rebounding," Morey said. "He's here in the D-League to work on getting the other things up to that level. He's making strides."
"He's the type of player that is the future of the center position in the NBA."
"Future of the center position..." That's something Morey has said before, and I see what he's saying (more mobility, ability to get out in transition, less and less of a developed post game), but it seems strange given that the Rockets possess one of the last of that dying breed of so-called "true" centers.
Anyways, nothing really new from Joey (great rebounder, easily pissed-off), though it's good to see that he's improving.
Not to get your little hearts all aflutter, here's Marc Stein on Chris Bosh and the Rockets:
That's the problem with any sort of Bosh deal at midseason. Even if the Raps do decide they want to make Bosh available now and avoid the threat of losing him without compensation in free agency after July 1, there's an overwhelming majority of teams that wouldn't dare consider trading for Bosh in February without some sort of assurance they could keep him.
But Houston is different.
Sources say the ever-aggressive Rockets are sure a half-season in Houston could convince the native Texan to pledge his long-term future to a city players love as well as a team that sits four games over .500 without the injured Yao Ming and the exiled Tracy McGrady.
The Raptors have long believed, furthermore, that Bosh will participate in a sign-and-trade this summer -- if he decides to leave Canada after saying repeatedly that he loves the place -- before walking away outright from the franchise that drafted him.
I nonetheless was advised this week to expect Houston to make a hard Bosh push during these next 40 days if the Raptors invite it. Or perhaps even if they don't invite it.
Last, (and I know that this isn't basketball-related, but bear with me) I bring you this Brian Cushing highlight mixtape. Why? Because its choice of music is possibly the most inappropriate I've seen in a YouTube highlight reel in some time: Kid Cudi's "Cudi Zone." Now, despite being one of the more up-tempo songs on the album from which it is drawn, pretty much everything on "Man on the Moon" is designed to maximize one's ability to space out for roughly an hour. It's just such an odd choice for a video of a large man knocking the shit out of other large men. I couldn't not share this with the world.
You know, it might actually work if the music were paired with videos of Drexler dunking on people or AB raining down threes.