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Five Out: and About What?

The NBA is frightened of thunder?

Houston Rockets v Denver Nuggets
Very nice, now make a layup.
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Only a day off the proposed Thursday Meeting of The Five Outers. Illness (nothing major) has struck my home, but I am here for you all the same!

Second Night Quitters?

Of all the things we have seen gone wrong, and in many ways, right for the very young Rockets, one of the worst ones reared its ugly head (as the kenning goes) on Wednesday.

The Rockets, with one day in between games to practice and prepare for the Denver Nuggets, after holding them close for two and half quarters until silly foul calls deprived us of a lovely Sengun v Jokic battle, got, as Darren Yuvan’s recap accurately states “smoked” by the Nuggets in the rematch. Smoked like a Greenberg Turkey. Redolent.

I’ll admit something. I pretty much watch every game, and some I go back and watch key parts twice, if I see something interesting or alarming.

As I didn’t have recap duty on that game, I left after the first quarter. If the Rockets didn’t care, why should I? Now, Denver, like a contender, came out like a buzzsaw, and settled the Rockets hash quite definitely.

The Rockets though, however bad they looked, have always shown fight, a desire to keep at it. Not Wednesday. There are lots of things to worry about with a team this young, but a lack of effort and intensity is probably the most alarming thing in any given moment. Development takes time, but it doesn’t happen without constant effort.

If the effort is lacking tonight, we have to think seriously about the cause, and the solution.

Fear of Bad Football.

NBA, what is it with this schedule? Seriously. Tuesday isn’t TNT night. Certainly not the primary TNT night. Is the NBA that afraid of the consistently worst NFL offering? Because with very rare exception, Thursday night football, purchased at a high cost by The Bezonater, is execrable, putrid.

The NBA has the audience numbers, and I don’t, and I know the stuff about football audiences, but this is simply cringing cowardice, not the posture of a growing sport. I have always cherished the Thursday TNT night, and now, it’s skulking on Tuesdays. Thursday TNT felt like an occasion, and Tuesday feels like a product. Having no games on two nights a week, effectively, and then totally crammed schedules on the other nights is just, in a word, dumb.

This doesn’t work. Don’t do it again. Creeping back into the schedule when the mighty NFL finally gets off the Thursday commode isn’t really the clever move you think it is, NBA.

Circling ‘Round A Dying Sun?

Is NBA heliocentrism dying? Rockets fans know the style well, both from the Harden years, and the attempt to make a star turn of an ensemble cast of young players with the Rockets current system.

Right now in the NBA the best offense, by a mile, is the Boston Celtics. What’s interesting to Rockets fans about the Celtics is that while they have one burgeoning main scorer, they are emphatically not a heliocentric offense. There’s a ton of ball movement, cuts, clever actions, as well as designed ISO plays. Pretty much every player can shoot, or attack, and has a green light to do so. Pretty much every player also passes. With one incandescent, and one very good, scorer on the team, this is unstoppable. Sound familiar?

Meanwhile, the most heliocentric team in the NBA, the Dallas Mavericks, are below .500. They simply don’t win unless Luka Doncic exceeds both the usage and output of James Harden’s best years in Houston. It’s not that they don’t score, but the edge of this system seems blunted. Perhaps after every team in the NBA seemingly ran some sort of tribute to MDA’s Harden Rockets, the league has solved this system? It’s what happens in the NBA. Offenses and defenses get found out, and something new emerges, maybe something old, with new wrinkles, like in Boston.

Requiring astonishing heroics for a win is something Rockets fans are all too familiar with, and perhaps it’s not the golden path to the future anymore?

Prepare Yourself For Not Being The Worst

Wembymaniacs, prepare yourself for the notion that the Rockets might not be the worst team in the NBA. They’re truly organically bad, but in a way that may see improvement, possibly rapid improvement, as players continue to develop. With so many players in development, if several turn a corner at roughly the same time, the Rockets will get markedly better. We may not like lineups, or even the system, but simply playing better will turn results.

Moreover, the Spurs, Pistons, and Magic have it in them to be astonishingly awful. The Spurs in particular may see the bottom drop out, if their nearly -11 margin is any predictor of the future. They, unlike the Rockets, really are not a team full of developing prospects.

The odds were never that good anyway, and the Rockets need to develop into a good team based on what they have now, whether or not they get a possibly generational talent. I’d love it if they did. I’d love to see the legacy of great Houston big men continue, although one may already be on the team, another couldn’t hurt.

Net Speculation

Currently the Brooklyn Nets are a .500ish team, without a ton of hope for being much more than play-in fodder. You’d think the presence of Kevin Durant could at least get a team there, and so far it has. Kyrie Irving is playing now, but if you watch him, you’ll see something astonishing. When I was a kid I used to wonder why these insanely skilled basketball comics, the Harlem Globetrotters, didn’t play, indeed dominate, in the NBA.

There are a lot reasons for that, including, the NBA is a totally different animal, with no Washington Generals in sight. But Kyrie Irving is giving us a very good idea of what a Globetrotter on an NBA team might really be like. His defense is beyond indifferent, his movement only involves him doing something of interest to him with the ball. He’ll occasionally cough up an effort for his buddy Kevin. His general attitude is that of an entertainer who is beyond bored with his venue. It’s really something.

Who gives him a contract? Seriously, who, and for how much?

Meanwhile, the Nets pick could still come in a winner, but it’s looking more like about 16.


There goes the sun?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    The sun will come out tomorrow.
    (11 votes)
  • 15%
    It’s a Waterloo sunset.
    (6 votes)
  • 23%
    Darkness on the face of the earth.
    (9 votes)
  • 33%
    (13 votes)
39 votes total Vote Now