Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rockets @ Pistons Game #1 Pre-game Thread

The Pistons come in as a slight favorite at home on opening night. On paper this looks like a nice match up for the Rockets.

Rockets at Pistons - October 31, 2012 - Game Preview, Play by Play, Scores and Recap on NBA.com


  1. Why is the Pistons a favorite for this game?

    The Rockets MUST and WILL obliterate the Pistons. The backcourt will be abused and the only greg monroe is the only good player in the frontcourt.

    Despite the Rockets' new dynamics, I expect them to feast on the hapless Pistons. They will pick them apart offensively and defensively.

    Rockets by 20

    1. Homecourt advantage to Pistons cannot be ignored. It will be a close game.

    2. Still, Rockets shouldn't allow themselves to lose to BAD teams. I expect no less than a BLOWOUT.

    3. Jeremy is no longer in NY haha. The Rockets are projected to be a lottery team. It's no wonder they are preceived as an underdog in an away game.

    4. That is just illogical;

      Houston is a playoff team while Detroit is only better than the Magic and Bobcats in their conference.

    5. This Rockets team other than Lin and Harden isn't that good. And Harden still needs time to mesh with the team. Don't let preseason performances fool you.

  2. And why is the pistons a favorite? If the rockets doesn't get a lead of at least 20 points, that would be very surprising. Jeremy Lin and harden needs to prove. No more excuses.

  3. Jeff Green

    23 minutes
    3 points, 0/4 shooting
    3 rebounds
    0 assists
    1 turnover
    1 steal

    Signed a 4 year, $36 million deal this summer

    Will NBA players say his contract is "ridiculous"?

    1. The Celtics were excited over him in preseason. That's why I said don't be fooled by preseason.

    2. achondroplasiaphobia, YOU DA MAN!!!

      Thank you for continually exposing the double standard that calls Lin a bust while other nonAsian players are let off the hook for much worse performances.

      You are keeping SCORE for Asian guys. Keep it up.

    3. @ KHuang and @ achondroplasiaphobia . Agreed and thanks!

    4. For a bench player, he certainly is being paid too much.

    5. great find!

      We should keep track of the performance of players based on their contract. Let's call it the "Ridiculous-Contract-O-meter"

    6. Well, yes, of course Green is overpaid. The point is, he isn't being singled out by fellow players. In fact, it's probably the opposite. Fellow players are probably happy he got paid. In general and historically, players are happy whenever any player gets paid. But not when Lin gets paid.

    7. BTW, Ray Allen got the best of his ex-Celtics teammates who refused to acknowledge him.

      The Heat's speed and athleticism just overwhelmed the aging Celtics team with with 15-8 TOV differential. The Heat has a good chance to repeat this year with the addition of Ray Allen. OKC just got incredibly weaker by letting go of Harden. Who will challenge the Heat this year?

    8. Lin's contract is actually a bargain.

    9. @Psalm 234

      It is still the first game of the regular season. So, the Celtics need more time to gel. In the playoffs, that athleticism will be neutralized by the Celtics.

      Who will challenge the Heat this year?

      Lakers - size advantage
      Spurs - the heat never really faced them ;
      Celtics - they pushed the Heat with an injured Pierce and Allen together with a sidelined Bradley to 7 games ; Also, there bench last season was nonexistent

      Memphis - darkhorse; their size can be a problem for the HEAT; But they will have a difficult time to get to the NBA Finals

    10. Exactly!!! No one will ever get the treatment like Lin. Justice! do justice for us Asians!

    11. If you want to talk about double standard, Nash had 5 points and 1 assist in half time, he's paid like 8 millions a year, similar to Lin. If Lin had that kind of statline, there would be calls for Lin to be benched and saying how he's overrated everywhere. But with Nash, they are blaming the coach instead.

    12. Well, actually I wouldn't go so far as to start pointing at Nash. Nash is a 2X MVP, so he gets the benefit of the doubt.

      But other guys like Green, Lawson, George Hill, etc. are unproven and are fair game.

    13. @neph,

      I actually like the Spurs' chance this year. It was surprising they lost the 2-0 lead against OKC last season. I thought for sure they would match well with the Heat.

      Lakers don't have a deep bench so they will struggle since the players are getting older (They're currently down 62-74 vs Dallas). Same with the Celtics except they have deeper bench. Memphis was pretty strong but they're not likely to beat the Spurs.

    14. The problem with the Spurs is they had too many overachievers who choked in the OKC series.

      Danny Green, recent D-leaguer who can barely dribble to save his life.

      Matt Bonner, slow, one dimensional 3 point shooter who is useless when his shot goes cold.

      Gary Neal, undersized shooting guard masquerading as a point guard.

      Boris Diaw, fat.

      Their only hope is that Danny Green's experience helps him to not choke.

      Everybody else is the same. Diaw is still fat.

    15. Ach, I remember that I said before when the Knicks wanted to sign Nash, Lin is going to surpass Nash as a player this year.

      I also found it funny that people often said Lin's a D'Antoni product and acted like he couldn't play outside of that system. But then what about everyone's favorite MVP Steve Nash?

      I am not saying Nash isn't great. Just want to point out the double standard.

    16. Hmmm no, there's no double standard with Nash. He has two MVP seasons where he put up historic shooting percentages. He's led his team to deep playoff runs. He's proven.

      There are plenty of other unproven players that can be used to expose the double standard. Nash isn't one of them.

    17. Lakers looked out-of-sync in a 91-99 loss to less talented Dallas minus Dirk Nowitzki and Chris Kaman.

      Although Dwight Howard had 19 pts 10 rebound, he only made 3 out of 14 FTs resulting in the the worst -13 plus minus in the game. Dallas bench looked very strong. Nash just could not stop Collison.

      Lakers will get it together but unless their bench steps up, they have no chance to meet the Heat in the final.

    18. Lakers are trying some retarded Princeton Hybrid Offense. Mike Brown should get fired....

    19. Ach, Nash is not going to put up good numbers in LA, thus appears not playing well, not because he becomes a bad player, it's more because he's no longer the featured player like he did in the Phoenix system. Lin is not going to put up Linsanity numbers too if he's not featured like in that period. That's my argument. Unlike the haters saying Lin is all along a bad player, but totally ignored the system changes.

    20. The difference between Nash & Lin is that Lin will still get his points and assists despite the system. He has what I believe that most great players have like Kobe Bryant, a killer instinct. He will deliver when it counts whether or not he's having a bad game or not his will power & strong religous beliefs will catapult him to lead his team to win and get his stats too even if he's not trying to stat pad.

    21. Nash, at the age of 38, is getting paid at least $9 million per year for 3 years.

    22. I predicted this summer that Steve Nash would struggle defensively without Grant Hill to protect him.

      I wrote that Nash would be "greyhounded" by fast Western guards like Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul and Tony Parker - and now JEREMY LIN!

      Welcome to the LA FREEWAYS, Steve Nash!

    23. I never wavered in believing that JLin is a superior pick up than than either Nash or Deron. Nash because of his age and less athleticism; Deron because he's slower and not a team player - also probably past his peak.

      Chris Paul is the best PG right now, but EVERY TEAM will try to get him - including the Rockets! I've heard Jason Friedman mention his CP's name among other next big name free agents available. Rockets and Mavs are two of the teams that can create maximum cap by trade deadline. I hope JLin performs at a high level right off the bat this season, so that wouldn't happen. Just for the next 2 years, until he's more established, I'm apprehensive about Lin playing for most of other coaches in the league (which I'd rather not go into detail). Lin is much better value than CP and obviously have more upside, but it's a matter of the smaller sample for teams who are trying to contend now (it is *possible* that Rox c/b among them). Thus I hope JLin plays super well this season; I really believe he could, which would be like skipping 2 grades!

    24. I don't necessarily think Chris Paul is better than Lin.

      Put Chris Paul on the Houston Rockets and he'd trade himself for pennies on the dollar by midseason.

      Plus, Chris Paul is not defended as hard as Lin is. That's because Chris Paul plays only for stacked teams that surround him with quality veterans and All Stars. Nor does Chris Paul have Lin's defensive impact.

      For this lowly Houston team, I'll take Lin over Paul or any other point guard in the NBA.

    25. The fact that Lakers sort of got "run over" by a more energetic Dallas team confirmed what I saw during preseason game (I know preseason games are just preseason), but I did notice Lakers did not look good and Nash seemed to not really fit and was not effective with the Lakers team, whereas I was still impressed with C. Paul. Maybe you can't run from Father Time. I went to the Lakers preseason game largely to see Nash. I will never go, as even preseason tickets for Lakers cost a lot of money. I also disagree with Simmons wrier that Lakers will get to Finals this year -- no way! They may even get eliminated before the Conference Finals. Weak bench. I have a hard time calling "Howard" a great player when they can't make more than 60% of their free throws. I mean with practice, I think even I can make 60% of free throws.

  4. On another topic:

    Jae Crowder looks deadly outside the 3pt line. He's certainly much better than the rockets' rookies.

    1. Crowder really is a rookie who looks like he knows how to play the game. He just plays within himself and has great poise.

      It's a fail on the Rockets part not to pick him, especially considering the had 3 picks in the draft.

      I think Crowder will be one of the most valuable rookies this year. There will be other rookies to put up better numbers on lottery teams. But he is the one who not only puts up numbers but most importantly knows how to contribute to winning.

    2. Yup. The stat geeks at wagesofwins rated Crowder very highly in the draft. I might be mistaken, but I believe they had him rated second only to Anthony Davis in the entire draft.


      Royce White had better pan out.

    3. I actually appreciate our site's KHuang more. He's spotted underrated and underappreciated talent time and time again. And he didn't even need to use any stats. :-)

    4. Yeah, KHuang got Crowder down :)
      So tell us, KHuang, what caught your eyes the first time so we can learn to be a scout, too?

    5. I told you guys Khuang should be a Basketball Scout as a partime job. He's got a good eye and statistical analysis on good players.

    6. I messed up replying to you guys, so my answer to Psalm234's question is actually written below.

      As much as I like Jae Crowder, he didn't even come close to impressing me the way Jeremy Lin did.

      Jeremy Lin BLEW ME AWAY when I saw clips of his Harvard play. Rarely do I see a player at the NCAA level showing me things that I HAVEN'T seen, but Lin did. The last guy that made my jaw drop like that was Kenny Anderson at Georgia Tech, but Kenny Anderson wasn't even close to having the overall game impact Jeremy Lin did.

      Here are the things that I only RECENTLY noticed that Jeremy Lin did at Harvard that probably caught my eye but I didn't realized that he did:

      1) On the Harvard fast break, Jeremy Lin would dribble at full speed executing Euro style side steps faster than most player could run in a straight line! Lin would cross that ball back and forth at a full sprint, crossing up the best college defenders and finishing with ease. Even All Star NBA guards famous for the Euro step (i.e. Dwayne Wade) will save the Euro step for attacking the basket but will not drive upcourt on the break at full speed crossing over the way Lin did!

      2) Lin hits some of the longest 3 point shots I've ever seen a college guard do. They're well behind the NBA 3 point line, and Lin hits them like they're 15 footers!

      3) The way Lin drove to the basket in arcs and finished through people reminds me exactly of Elgin Baylor, a long forgotten Hall of Famer who's more known for being a "bad" GM with the LA Clippers.

      4) Lin was vastly more athletic than Kemba Walker who was a DOMINANT college player and eventually a NBA lottery pick. When I saw Lin athletically overpowering Walker and UConn's other guards, I knew that he'd be more than capable of athletically competing against any NBA guard if some team was smart enough to let Lin play in an actual NBA game.

      5) The only guard I've seen in the NCAA who had a similar impact to Lin was Magic Johnson, and even Magic had two guys beside him that played in the NBA. Lin didn't even have that at Harvard, but his one man team act carried them night after night.

    7. I actually asked about Crowder but thanks anyway for sharing your initial impression about JLin, KHuang.

      The Harvard and UConn video highlights was also what caught my eyes on JLin's superb athleticism to be able to leap from behind to block a clear layup by Kevin Dyson. The same superb athleticism also enabled him to fill up the stat sheet in PTS/ASTS/REB/STL/BLK. And to think that many people said he was "deceptively" quick!

      Then I also saw the same killer instinct of a great scorer dominating in both ends of the floor. From a casual fan's way, he clearly was dominating. I only had hope that Harvard was going to make it to the NCAA Tournament (they didn't) so he can showcase his talents to get to the NBA. But thank God he persevered and dominated John Wall in that summer league :) The audience's roar on that day clearly indicated he was dominating John Wall.

      I didn't realize he possesses his innate PG skills until his Linsanity run this past February, possibly because he played mostly SG in Harvard.

      Good to know that you think he also has such a high ceiling as Elgin Baylor and Magic. I truly believe his pairing with Harden is going to raise their ceiling even higher because they will feed off each other's creativity. Christmas came early for Houston this year! :)

    8. Lin getting Harvard to the NCAA tournament would have had absolutely no impact on Lin being undrafted.

      Lin's buddy Omar Samhan got little St. Mary's to the NCAA Tournament by averaging 22 ppg and 13 rpg and 3 bpg. In the tournament, Samhan RAISED his game by averaging 30 points in two wins! But he had one so-so game against a swarming Baylor team and the NBA scouts declared Samhan unfit of the NBA. That angers me because Samhan should've been drafted #1 overall over John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins!

      Lin looked like a PG to me at Harvard. I have never thought of him as a combo guard. He had the same great passing instincts and floor vision at Harvard as he has in the NBA. People saw Lin making super athletic plays that only great college SGs made and assumed Lin was a SG just because NCAA point guards cannot physically make those plays.

      None of the things you and I saw were sufficient to get Lin drafted. Even now, Lin STILL wouldn't be drafted. He is thought of by most NBA front offices to be strictly a novelty act who lacks NBA ability and is only in the league for Asian marketing purposes.

  5. oh thank you Cara and Psalm234.

    When I first saw Jae Crowder, it was on TV when he was at Marquette playing in a high profile game.

    In that game, I noticed that Crowder had powerful core muscles that are acquired only from years of banging inside against tough opponents. I myself have those muscles because I've banged inside all my life against guys far taller and heavier than me, often successfully. I also liked Crowder's quickness to the ball, and that's because I myself have beaten out a lot of "better" players to the ball simply because I wanted it more than they did. I was impressed too by Crowder's active hands and eyes, as I've played lots of games where I was the only guy on the court playing defense or setting up guys to score. He was the only player on either team that was actually READING the game and ANTICIPATING, which I myself do because there was no way for me to beat opponents simply by outathleting them.

    For some reason, I remembered Crowder and his athletic but ineffective teammate Darius Johnson Odom who reminded me athletically of Isiah Thomas but had none of Thomas's court sense or actual skills. So I went on youtube and looked up Crowder but not Odom. What I saw was:

    1) a video of Crowder in junior college shooting the LIGHTS OUT. He had a beautiful quick release and had flawless NBA mechanics. Easily Crowder appeared to me to be a NBA caliber shooter, just because of the way he planted himself and casually flicked the ball into the basket from distance. Also, he appeared NBA quick to me that game, which is why he was able to get himself open so easily.

    2) a game of Crowder playing against Seattle U (I think) against a physically more talented team. Crowder was shorter than some of the GUARDS (specifically Tony Wroten who simply overpowered Marquette's guards), but Crowder balled himself up and challenged people on their shots. I myself always challenge bigger guys inside, usually by banging them before they catch the ball to disrupt their equilibrium and then jumping at guys sideways to force them to angle their shots unnaturally. Crowder did all that.

    After all that, I looked up Crowder. He had an unbelievable academic story, essentially taking TWO college years into ONE because his JUCO school was unaccredited. Crowder did that AND won JUCO player of the year! He then went to Marquette and was absolutely adored by his college coach because of his team first attitude. I watched an interview of him and saw a very smart young man who was a total alpha male and a great teammate.

    So after all that, I started posting here that I thought Crowder would be a major success. I figured that Crowder might not be a first tier NBA superstar, but he'd be a solid utility guy who could play all 5 positions in the NBA off the bench or as a spot starter. I was actually surprised that Crowder was drafted, as I figured he'd be undrafted but would do the "Jeremy Lin" by outplaying everybody that is rated higher than him. But I did expect Crowder to excel in summer league, and I do expect Crowder to eventually become Dallas's 6th man or even START if Dallas's highly hyped guards struggle the way I think they're going to!

    There are questions I have about Jae Crowder, though. I have not seen any kind of shot creating tendencies from him. I don't know if he can put the ball on the floor, I don't know if he can post up, I don't know if he can shoot layups with either hand, I don't know if he can make the right pass. Perhaps he's been doing these things in the NBA, but I haven't seen Crowder in action because I'm not a professional scout with professional scout access to videos. I'd like to see Crowder develop his scoring personality, as I do believe that he excels in all other aspects of the game and would stay on the court longer if he could score consistently.

    1. Jae Crowder played football as well which is why he has that type of physique

    2. I've seen football guys in the NFL that don't have the specific core muscles that I've seen Jae Crowder use to bang around bigger guys underneath.

    3. That's a tremendous amount of research, KHuang!
      From the little time that I watched in the Lakers game, he definitely can shoot very well and had a lot of poise and under control in his game.

    4. I had no idea that was a tremendous amount of research.

      The total time I've actually spent in my entire life on Jae Crowder, including watching youtube and the Marquette game, is no more than half an hour!

      I figure I can see these things in Crowder because I've seen them before not just in myself, but in other NBA stars.

    5. well, good for you for training your eyes well, then :)

    6. KHuang, your assessment of Crowder is also very in line of the article posted by Ach. Good job. It was said that Crowder doesn't have a great handle and is not an iso scorer that you can run your offense through. But that's okay. He can still be a successful player if he's put in to play off other players.

      I think Dallas can develop Crowder nicely and he has a role on that team. I always like Rick Carlisle as a coach and I believe that Rick also likes Lin. Too bad their management didn't like Lin enough and didn't offer him a good contract, twice. Or Lin would be a very good fit on that team too.

    7. Rick Carlisle's team is also always good passing team with unselfish and good ball movement, and plays good D, regardless of his personnel.

    8. Three impressive Jae Crowder moments from last night:

      1) There were several times in the game where the Lakers thought they had a mismatch -- 6-5 (in shoes) Crowder had to guard 7-0 Pau Gasol...and Crowder more than held his own, using his strong core to body up Gasol, Chuck Hayes-style. I think Gasol scored only 1 out of 3 times...on a fall-away jumper that got all kinds of iron.

      2) Crowder caught the ball on the perimeter, hesitation-dribbled to get by his man, but passed up a mid-range 2 to kick out to a now-open Beaubois (who had been looking lost until that point). Beaubois hit the open 3 and that make totally got him going. Great leadership and unselfish play by Crowder.

      3) Crowder bricked an ugly 2pt jumper -- it didn't even get rim. But on his next good look, her confidently splashed an open 3. No conscience! Cold-blooded.

      Only one game, but these are really impressive moments for a rookie.

    9. Were I coaching against Crowder, I'd CROWD HIM (pun intended!)

      I'd not let Crowder get his feet set for that deadly catch and shoot jumper that's probably as good as any in the entire NBA. I'd force him to take at least two dribbles, ideally more. Make him put the ball on the floor and create off the dribble.

      Similarly, I'd try to run Crowder ragged through cross screens if I were trying to avoid him defensively. Crowder is most effective on defense when opponents isolate him and throw the ball into the post. Because Crowder is so strong and experienced at unbalancing guys in the post, the only guys who could truly overwhelm Crowder in the post is a committed Andrew Bynum and the BEST post player in the entire world Omar Samhan who's not in the NBA. So I'd bump Crowder inside and then flare cut off the low post up so that the big man could shoot an easy uncontested jumper over Crowder's short helpless arms. Of course, most of today's NBA big men lack the skill of shooting a finesse jumpshot in the paint even unguarded!

  6. Yeah, I think Royce White was a waste of a draft pick, D. Mo and T. Jones are long term projects. This team is going to take a while to take shape and get good. Which is why Morey wants to do it faster and get some superstar players.

  7. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE7wWsuzkCo

    This reminds me of Jeremy last year vs Miami.

    OMG he can't even bring the ball up court, Nash got EXPOSED! lol.

    And this was without Nash being exhausted/injured and the entire opposing team making it a goal to humiliate and shut him down.

  8. If you have time, read an excellent Bill Simmons' Grantland article on
    "the Harden disaster"

    He concluded that for OKC, the Harden trade is simply about making more money by acquiring JLamb and multiple picks for long-term replacement. And refusing to contend for championship this year. Then they blamed Harden for leaving OKC and being greedy. Sound familiar?


    1. This is the main point:

      For Oklahoma City, the Harden trade wasn't about losing money … it was about continuing to make money . Huge, huge difference. The Thunder realized that, as long as two top-12 players (Durant and Westbrook) were under their control, they would keep contending, keep selling out and maintain a certain level of relevancy. And by rebooting with the assets from that Harden trade (Kevin Martin's offense as a one-year stopgap, Jeremy Lamb as a long-term replacement, Toronto's guaranteed lottery pick and the other picks as potential trade chips), they could brainwash their fans on the whole "this is a marathon, not a sprint" spiel.

      Here's the problem with that mind-set: When you're this close to winning the title, why screw with it? Why own the franchise at that point? Look at what happened to Phoenix from 2005 through 2010, as the team wasted genuine assets (selling a lottery pick, selling the Rajon Rondo pick, trading two first-rounders to dump Kurt Thomas) and lowballed Joe Johnson out of town, squandering Nash's glorious prime in the process. Guess what? Everyone in Phoenix hates Robert Sarver for it. What Oklahoma City did wasn't as egregious, but in its own little way, it was just as dishonest — a team crying poverty even as it's selling out every night and even though it's been printing money these past few years.


    2. Well, every team, every owner is out there to make money, don't think for a second that they are doing every move for basketball reasons or the owner is owning a franchise as a pure interest, not to make money. Doing everything for winning is just fan fantasy. The difference is that some are smarter than the others and some could see the long term picture of franchise value growth instead of short term revenue windfall.

      I don't think it's a good idea for OKC to trade Harden as they are so close to a title. But a title is not 100% guaranteed with or without Harden, but money saved without Harden is guaranteed. So for pure business reason, and if a tight budget is insisted by the ownership, then I think Sam Presti did very well under the circumstance. The Thunder will remain as a contender as long as they have Kevin Durant.

    3. I was THRILLED when Phoenix sold the Rajon Rondo pick.

      I HATED his game when he came out of college. I thought he was a brick handed point guard who'd never find the rim even if his team was playing 5 on 4. Were it not for Rondo getting tutelage from Ray Allen (the BEST in the business at developing young shooting guards) and playing alongside 3 Hall of Famers, Rondo would've washed out of the NBA entirely had he started his career as a Phoenix Sun. He'd be playing in the D-league, though I'm not sure if even now he shoots good enough to survive the D league.

      Now when it came to Phoenix dumping its first round picks, I indeed am very unhappy. Losing Kurt Thomas REALLY HURT because he was the only Sun that could defend the interior. One of the lottery picks sold by Phoenix after Amare Stoudemire's first season ending injury was 7th overall and turned out to be Luol Deng! My general rule is NEVER sell a lottery pick, and Phoenix GAVE an All Star away!

      I dislike the Suns even though I'm from Phoenix. Even though Robert Sarver WILL spend money on the big stars, his conflict-of-interest GM Lon Babby (an ex player agent) has made HORRIBLE decisions by getting the wrong guys on the court. The only decision I agree with the Suns getting is Goran Dragic who I think is paid fairly, but I have violently disagreed with every other decision especially the drafting of young players and signing of proven busts. I didn't like Steve Kerr as a GM either, though I was THRILLED with the Shaq trade which D'Antoni pushed for (yielded an All Star season and a ton of wins, the Shaq trade did).

      In true Robert Sarver Suns tradition of drafting superbusts that will cripple the franchise for years, the Suns got Kendall Marshall at #13 when they could've gotten guys like Jae Crowder or Andrew Nicholson or Jared Sullinger to shore up their pitiful forward play. I predicted this summer that Kendall Marshall would be an utter BUST because of his lack of NBA athleticism, and indeed he's been so bad that there's no way he's going to do anything for the Suns this year. Even in the D-league, Kendall Marshall is going to be a bust because he's simply too darned slow and overrated.

      Look the way Kendall Marshall as a lottery pick is going to be a bust in the D-league, and then contrast that to the utter DOMINATION Jeremy Lin did while he wasted time in the D league. I guarantee you that the majority of America still would predict a better NBA future for Kendall Marshall than Lin because Lin is supposed to be a stereotypical Asian who has no right to compete in the NBA.

    4. I agree on you about Kurt Thomas. I remember him guarding Duncan without any double teams in the 2007 Western Conference semifinals. Usually, the Suns would have to double team Duncan but Thomas was an excellent post defender. He didn't stop Timmy (no one could) but he prevented their perimeter play going. I was actually nervous that series after game 4 where the Suns won in San Antonio. The suspension sure did help my SPURS a lot. That game 5 was so close even without Amare and Diaw. That 2007 Suns team was the best Suns team in Nash's Era. The winner of that series would be the champion for sure as the Spurs did.

      Right now, I would pick Dragic and Scola as the only ones that are really good players for the Suns. Gortat is ok but I feel he's going to regress as Nash is gone. Dragic is the finesse version of Lin since Lin is more of a physical type player. Scola is crafty and has decent post moves.

      The likes of Brown, Telfair, Frye, Morris, Beasley, Wesley johnson, Marshall are way overrated. Beasley may give you 15+ ppg but he's way inconsistent and has so many personal issues.

      The Suns are such an intriguing team. If Amare had never undergone microfracture surgery before the 2005-2006 season, he could have been a beast and probably won the 2006 NBA championship. As I remember, the 2005 WCF against my Spurs, he was like averaging 37-38 ppg. That was insane and even Duncan said to amare after that series that Amare is going to dominate.

    5. Simmons is wrong. Oklahoma City traded a bench player (for them) instead of losing him to free agency, which they surely would have after this season. And it is easy for these sportswriters to call people "greedy" when they aren't the ones with the tens of millions of dollars at risk. Staying a backup in Oklahoma City chasing a championship that may never come could cost Harden tons of money that he will never have an opportunity to make back. It is easy to say "so what" for these sportswriters because they think that they're better than these athletes because of their educations and middle class backgrounds, and think that these guys are overpaid anyway. So it is easy for them to say "$20 million, $40 million what's the difference?" when a lot of them are hypocrites. How many of THEM would take a 50% pay cut? Maybe they aren't making as much as an athlete, but they are still making more than the vast majority of the people on the planet. Let the sportswriters who call athletes greedy give up their high paying jobs in order to go write for some small town paper where they can focus on real news and investigative reporting, or to run a news blog. They won't do it, because they want the cash.

      This whole "for the love of the game" stuff was back in the day, when NBA games were played in basically glorified gyms and most games (including Wilt Chamberlain's 100 point game) weren't even televised ... back when even the NBA Finals were only shown on tape delay. Now the NBA is a business. The players should get a portion of the revenue that they generate. Just because some of the other OKC players took less money doesn't mean Harden should. That was their personal decision. Plus those guys are starters, which means that they have more opportunities to add to their salary with endorsements, incentives etc. that Harden will never get as a backup.

      Players don't have very much control over winning championships, because it is a team game and a lot of luck. They have much more control over their financial futures, and Harden did the right move in taking care of his, which was the exact same thing most of the media and fan types criticizing him would have done. If Harden hadn't gotten that max deal from the Rockets, another player would have, probably a guy not as good.

    6. Neph, I never thought the Suns came close to beating the Spurs even with all their players.

      Without a post up game, the Suns at full strength could never have beaten those Spurs or any other championship caliber team.

      The closest the Suns had to a real post game was when Shaq showed up. I loved Shaq alongside Stoudemire, but Grant Hill had that appendectomy surgery right when Shaq came. Hill was the Suns best perimeter defender and he got LIT UP like he never has before and after that surgery. And then when Hill came back the next season, the Suns were KILLIN opponents until Amare Stoudemire went down with that season ending eye injury. Shaq still averaged 18 points, made the All Star team, and helped shore up the Suns' pitiful rebounding numbers.

      Oddly, I am not as down on D'Antoni's defense as most casual basketball observers are. Defensively I was completely happy with the Suns effort even though they still had the weak Jerry Colangelo habit of going one deep or less at the power positions (a small ball trait seen in the Olympic team which is due for a big time beating in the next Games). And D'Antoni is a fine post up coach too when he chooses to be.

      I also agree with you that the Suns pickups are overrated. They're not just overrated, they're BUSTS. This is not a Darko Milicic scenario for me where Darko in my opinion has been horribly misused, these are flat out failures who have been given every chance to succeed and have stunk it up with bad brainless play.

      I've lived in Phoenix for a decade and have never been to a Suns game. Even when Jeremy Lin comes to town, I probably still won't go. I don't want to have to root AGAINST my "home" team.

    7. Unknown is 100% right - again.

      The NBA is a business. Every player should be trying to get as much money as he can. Forget this "love of the game" garbage talk. ALL players in the NBA love their craft, as that's what it takes to make that league.

      James Harden got a great deal, and I hope he makes every penny of it. This last season, Lin got an excellent deal that he richly deserves. Reggie Miller said it best when he said that when Chris Webber was unhappy with the Wizards for giving him a much smaller contract than Juwan Howard, Webber shouldn't have been mad at the Wizards but should've been mad at his AGENT!

      Many sportswriters have a bad habit of looking "up" to athletes. They have a poorly disguised petty jealousy of pro athletes that comes through in their twisted writings. Sportswriters need to be proud of being sportswriters and stick to their craft instead of trying to exert control over pro athletes in the media. Being a sportswriter is a honorable and well paid endeavor in and of itself, so there should be no reason for wannabe jocks trashing pro athletes in the media.

    8. I agree with Unknown in that if it was a choice of 4 years and $54 Million USD offer by OKC and the desire for the $60 Mill USD, then perhaps Harden might have stayed. But 5 years and $80 Mill USD on the other hand -- I would come to Houston also. Besides, Houston can't be worse than OK, and he can be a head honcho of a motivated young players. It's not so bad.

    9. @unkn

      "Simmons is wrong."

      bout beard takin care of beard? he agree wicha, you agree wichim. didja read the article?

      "Oklahoma City traded a bench player (for them) instead of losing him to free agency, which they surely would have after this season"

      Oi, RFA means surely? much options after the season. didja read the article?

      "This whole "for the love of the game" stuff was back in the day, when NBA games were played in basically glorified gyms"

      Naivety bruddah, to think dey did play "for love of the game" back in the day. bennies then and now, truth.

    10. @cara 1.05.a.m.

      thou you tend 2 much to zaggerate, the racist motives of every-1*, here you speakz the truth bout ownership, 100 per 100.

      *xinkballa not sayin dat much 2 much racism toward Asian dont exist, counterproductive tho to cry dat wolf, fabulous style.

    11. NBA is a business for both players and owners.
      Harden's agent rightfully wants to secure 15% trade kicker if OKC wants him to take the "home discount" so he won't get shopped around as trade asset.

      As a result, Harden gets a max contract WITHOUT state income tax in Texas. And he gets a chance to prove himself as a starter.

      BTW, Harden is what makes Durant and Westbrook tick. Without him, they won't come back to beat the Spurs to make the Finals. And the argument that he disappeared in the Finals? It only strengthened the argument that he in invaluable to OKC because Durant and Westbrook can't beat the Heat without Harden.

      So here's Oklahoma City offering Harden $53 million for four years and refusing to include a trade kicker — in other words, Sorry, we have to keep our options open, just in case. Harden's agent justifiably turned them down. The team played hardball. Harden's agent stood his ground. They threatened to trade him to Houston — which was, in retrospect, their biggest mistake because that meant Harden had a five-year, $78 million offer with no state income tax suddenly waiting for him — and at that point, this was done.2

    12. re dem pesky sportswriters

      unkn hitzdat nailhead, hyp hop hiphoprisy aboundz. but datz la vie, real life 101. media its own power and motives, dont believe the hype, good o' bad. 2 accept everything written as Truth, well den you da Fool. plenty of Fools out there tho lofl.

      xinkballa much xperience wit' dem scibes. tell you what. jealousy a little, contempt a lot. living made from reflected glamour, never allows one to enamor. once you pay attention, to the man behind the curtain, the Wizardry goes poof bye bye, much frustration. word.

    13. speculations and neuroses aside, is time to strap it up and enjoy the ride.

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    15. Harden was the best OKC team player when compared to Durant and Westbrook. If you don't believe it, just check out the +/- in the Spurs wins and the Heats losses in the 2011-2012 playoff.

      OKC won 4-2 vs. Spurs
      +64, +37, +30
      These are the +/- for Harden, Westbrook and Durant during 4 games winning streak after trailing 0-2
      Harden produced twice as much as Durant.

      OKC lost 1-4 vs. the Heat
      -13, -31, -35
      These are the +/- for Harden, Westbrook and Durant during 4 game losing streak after leading 1-0 in the series.

      So you see that Harden is by far the most productive in OKC wins and losses. The numbers don't lie.

      Harden and JLin continued to be underestimated because they're such great TEAM PLAYERS

    16. Oh, @xinkballa. I know jlin used to go by chinkballa back in the day. Are you supposed to be him?

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  10. Even though Harden didn't start for the Thunders, he was essentially a starter. It was obviously strategic for him to come off the bench for their program. That said, if I'm not mistaken, he got starter minutes, and was there to finish games. Furthermore, he's a top 5 shooting guard in the NBA according to Steve Kerr and Reggie Miller.

  11. What OKC was saying was that the addition of K-Mart and J.Lamb would make up for losing Harden on offense. Maybe they are right, and somehow K-Mart can lift OKC to a title with his hot shooting. Maybe they are wrong and the other Thunder players will need to pick up the slack. But it seems to be more a financial decision than chemistry wise, a small market team cannot afford 4 max contract players.