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Schrödinger’s Rocket?

The superposed superteam.

Who can tell?
Alive? Dead? Terrible? Great?
Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

In 1935 physicist Erwin Schrödinger proposed a thought experiment based on quantum mechanics that posited that under quantum mechanics an ordinary thing, like a cat in a box, might be both dead and alive. The object could have two states of being superposed. There’s more to it, and I’m no physicist, but for the purposes of this piece, that’s enough to go on.

The Houston Rockets are the NBA version of Schrödinger’s Cat.

Alive: They’re dominant, and expected to be utterly dominant. Their offense is the best, their defense quite fine. No opponent is supposed to win a game against such a dominant team, or even look competent against these Rockets. Certainly not first and second round opponents, no matter how many stars they might have, and how well they’ve performed accounting for injury. No excuses, no competition really, can be tolerated.

Dead: They’re mentally weak, morally suspect, an abomination, dull, and cursed to never get to the Conference Finals because Chris Paul is on the team. Only a fool would trust them. Only an an evil person would support them. They’re born to lose and destined to fail.

You see the problem?

The Rockets aren’t a subatomic particle. They aren’t a hypothetical cat. Yet they’re expected to live, function, and play at the highest level in this superposed and entangled state. This is, to put it mildly, insane.

The Houston Rockets are simply a basketball team comprised of individuals. Some nights are better than others. Sometimes they believe their own (Alive!) press, the opponent plays well and it goes poorly.

Fortunately there’s a remedy. The NBA Playoffs open the box, and the status of the cat is determined. Right now the Rockets have just suffered a frustrating loss. Dead. All along everyone knew they were dead, of course they were.

Now, they’ve won 5 and lost 2 in the playoffs, so they must have been alive in those moments. But this is just speculation, just talk. The games are the determination, and nothing else. I have a feeling, however, that every game, rather than every series, is going to be treated like a fresh peek into the box. In the meantime, the Rockets exist superposed.


What’s in the box?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    A living cat.
    (114 votes)
  • 16%
    A dead cat.
    (56 votes)
  • 17%
    You’re mixing references.
    (58 votes)
  • 31%
    Mavs in three/four!
    (106 votes)
334 votes total Vote Now