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Big Man Blues



       As Mike has beaten me to the punch with a great analysis on the power forward/center prospects in the upcoming draft, I would like to reiterate how crucial it is for the Rockets to improve this aspect of their team.
       Having a big guy in the middle, whether he is blocking shots or just a mere presence, is something Houston completely lacked last year. I mean Kirstie Alley could have clogged up more space in the paint than the Chuckwagon. No duh, all of you are thinking as you read this, but even if the player is not an explosive scorer, having that reassurance on defense would help out players who are lacking on the defensive side of the ball (i.e. Aaron ‘the Blur' Brooks and Kevin Martin). When the Rockets went on their unforeseen 22-game win streak a couple years ago, it was Yao and fan favorite Dikembe Mutombo who took up the helm at center. After the Great Wall went tumbling down, Cookie Monster still provided that defensive intensity to help the Rockets win 10 more games to reach the coveted 22. In that period, the Rockets held opponents to 88.3 points per game, while Deke recorded an astonishing three blocks per game in February. He had more blocks than points (2.7 ppg). Critics might claim, "Dikembe is second all-time in blocks only behind the Dream. You won't have that kind of back-up make an immediate impact like that." Mutombo was also in his 40's at this point in time, and could hardly jump out of the building like in his Nuggets days.
       This year the Rockets really struggled to get stops at crucial times in games. Going back to the Jeff Gundy Era, Houston has always been considered a top ten defensive team. In 2009-2010, the squad allowed 102.7 points per game, and was out-rebounded 42.8 to 42. The rebounding stats are pretty impressive considering their starting center is 6'6'' and the starting point guard is listed at 6''.
       The next couple of years are going to be a turning point for Houston as a franchise. They need to decide quickly whether to continue with the Ming Dynasty, or to scrap the big man and start looking to rebuild. Regardless of whatever they decide to do, having another big man coming in through the draft or free agency is high on Dork Elvis' (via Bill Simmons) to-do list.