clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Decide now. Right now, Rockets fans

Also, the Thunder visit Houston.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Minnesota Timberwolves
Kevin Porter Jr Attempts to Guard Two Headed Player
Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports


You must decide now. Right now.

You must decide the NBA fate, the development, the career path of a bunch of 19 year olds, and a couple of early 20s players.

That’s apparently what everyone is doing now. Drawing elaborate conclusions on the basis of basically no data. I’ll submit that the only data that really matters for NBA performance evaluation is actual NBA games. Not summer league. Not a foreign league. Not college, or some sports academy run by an agency (has anyone else wondered what life is like at one of those places?). All those data points are interesting, and possibly useful when drafting, but to evaluate NBA performance we need NBA performance.

Right now, we have a game worth of NBA data for many Rockets. Either as Rockets, or NBA players at all. People might consider Kevin Porter Jr an established Rocket, but he’s hardly that. He has played roughly 2,000 minutes in his two previous NBA seasons. To put that in perspective, Lil’ Trae Young played 2,500 minutes in his rookie season, back when he was a washout, and a failure, and not a max player.

All sorts of outlandish claims are being made, pro and con, with really no data or evidence other than the evidence of confirmation bias.

Let’s take some claims aren’t so close to home.

On the night they received their (notably gaudy and large) championship rings the Milwaukee Bucks, who escaped elimination by a toe before winning a title, beat the Brooklyn Nets.

What does this mean? Is it that Brooklyn has new players, and Milwaukee was utterly amped up at getting their title rings? Is it just one NBA game? No, of course not. It’s a verdict on the disposition of power in the Eastern Conference.

In their next game, Milwaukee was stomped to the tune of a 42 point margin by the Miami Heat. The game may not have been that close.

So what does that mean? That the Bucks have not, in fact, “Leveled Up”? Not gained a permanent edge from their magic rings? Did they get that new level drained by the undead form of Pat Riley? What happened? What permanent pronouncement we can make now?

If only there was a method to evaluate such claims. If only we could somehow get a large body of data, and see, minding variables like injury, and matchup, what team was better. If only we could have a real sample of how a player is progressing in the very earliest stages of an NBA career. It would give us some sort of sign post, or guidance, on that road.

Oh, wait, we have an 82 game NBA season, and playoffs? We can look at an array of career numbers? Odd and uncompelling.

The point being, young player development is generally accounted in seasons, not quarters, or God help us, shot attempts. The results of the Rockets draft last summer won’t really be known for seasons, not seconds.

Just simmer down. A team of young guys looked good against their peers, that is to say, other teenagers, in VSL? Welcome to the Association, where experience matters. There’s going to be a lot bad basketball to watch, and improvement isn’t linear, in my observation. It tends to happen in leaps, and sometimes that ground is given up, only to be reclaimed at a higher point (or sadly, not at all).

This Rockets team has two players anyone, anywhere, was willing to pay a lot of money (in NBA terms) for, at any point. One of them is sitting around doling out advice at about an $10,000/hr rate. All the rest were from the bargain bin, or are inexperienced, or both. Not to say they aren’t good, or could be, but there’s not a great body of evidence so far that suggests it.

Patience. This is now a matter of seasons, not games, like when the Rockets were a contender. Try to enjoy the good things that happen, but don’t live minute by minute.

Maybe you can discuss a game here, if you’re brave. We’ll see.


What do you seek?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    (61 votes)
  • 14%
    (29 votes)
  • 46%
    Flashes of good basketball.
    (93 votes)
  • 9%
    Cafeteria drama, like Dallas.
    (19 votes)
202 votes total Vote Now