Tag:Yao Ming
Posted on: November 10, 2010 12:19 pm
 

Yao possibly getting a bump in minutes

Posted by Royce Young

Before the season, the Rockets made kind of an unprecented move by putting center Yao Ming on the basketball equivalent of a pitch count. Yao is set to play a maximum of 24 minutes a game. Plus, he's not allowed to play in both games of a back-to-back.

This is an effort by the Rockets' medical staff to relieve stress on Yao's body and hopefully present him with an opportunity to stay healthy this season. Except, they might be changing their mind.

The Houston Chronicle has the word:
The Rockets medical staff is exploring through a series of on-going meetings, changing the limits on Yao’s playing time because of the progress he has made in his comeback, a team representative said on Tuesday.

The discussions could lead to an increase in his playing time from the limit of 24 minutes per game, changes in the way his minutes are distributed throughout the game and clearance to play both games of back-to-backs.

Yao is averaging 12.8 points and 6.5 rebounds in 21 minutes per game and the team is excited about how he is returning to form.

The thing is, maybe Houston sees it's time to take things with a more urgent perspective. The team just got its first win of the season a few days ago, but starter Aaron Brooks is now out 4-6 weeks. Add in that Kyle Lowry is hurt, plus Kevin Martin is dinged up and the Rockets are suffering a bit. There's a chance the Rockets could slip behind quite a bit before Christmas. And potentially, that's why the medical staff is now looking to work around Yao's pitch count.

Hopefully the Rockets have a full grasp on the issue here. It was an interesting move before the season to put Yao on the 24-minute count and it's a little surprising to see them re-evaluated only two weeks into the season. But I'm sure they weren't expecting a 1-5 start with a rash of injuries either.

Category: NBA
Posted on: November 1, 2010 7:59 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:20 pm
 

Shootaround 11.01.10: Kobe is healthy, got it?

Kobe Bryant says his knee is healthy, questions in Houston after a slow start, two young point guards shine on Saturday, and former all star Maurice Lucas passes away. Links from around the NBA. Posted by Ben Golliver
  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant says his knee is 100% healthy, but he's a little testy about it. Writes Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com: "Bryant told a FOX Sports West reporter during an interview shown on the Staples Center video board that he is all the way back from offseason surgery to his right knee and didn't want to be asked about it again. Bryant was later asked if his statement was accurate by reporters in the locker room and he stood by it. 'Yes, so leave me the hell alone about my [expletive] knee,' Bryant said."
  • Last week, Boson Celtics guards Delonte West and Von Wafer got into a scrap after practice. In a video posted on Boston.com, West attempts to downplay the incident. "It's not that serious. We've moved past that, you know. We're competitive guys being competitive. Hopefully, it's for the benefit of the team. There's nothing wrong with healthy competition and pushing each other to get better. But things went a little too far."
  • Washington Wizards rookie point guard went off huge against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday. Despite the loss, CJ Hempfield of BulletsForever.com liked what he saw. "John Wall had stretches during the 3rd quarter in which he looked unstoppable. Not only was he blowing past people on 1-man breaks but he also began to blow by defenders in the half court as well as hit a jumpers. He began to show flashes of what he might become in the future and the prospects are awesome."
  • In other electric point guard news, Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks, one of the finalists for last year's Rookie of the Year award, notched his first career triple double on Saturday. Alex Boeder of BrewHoop.com was suitably impressed. "Jennings pitched a near perfect offensive game, getting all Chris Paul on the Bobcats to the tune of 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists on 6-8 from the field, 3-3 on threes, and 6-8 from the line. He bursted with channeled enthusiasm for the game of basketball tonight, looking like the most excited guy in pregame introductions, and then directing an offense that owes him a thank you card signed by all. As a game manager, this was about as good as a 21 year-old can get."
  • Rob Mahoney takes a look at some Miami Heat numbers for the New York Times. " At first glance, turnovers would appear to be one of Miami’s most glaring flaws. James and Wade combined for an abysmal 14 turnovers against Boston on Tuesday, and James followed that sloppy performance with another nine turnovers of his own against Philadelphia. Something to note, though: Miami has been turning the ball over more often than it should, but it won the turnover battle in both games. Miami posted a lower turnover rate than both of its first two opponents (the Heat had a -3.3 turnover rate differential against the Celtics and a -3.2 differential against the 76ers), suggesting that while turnovers are a problem, they’re not necessarily the problem."
  • We noted last night that former NBA all star power forward Maurice Lucas passed away Sunday at age 58. His New York Times obituary. "Lucas was a rugged defender and an outstanding rebounder, capable of a sturdy pick and a timely basket on offense. Possessing a glare that presumably intimidated many an opposing player, he became the prototype power forward when he emerged as a star for the Trail Blazers in the late 1970s."
Posted on: October 29, 2010 1:22 am
Edited on: October 29, 2010 2:52 pm
 

Report: Dampier to Rockets

Report says Dampier will sign with Rockets. Posted by Matt Moore

Our long national ... apathy may finally be over. Hoopsworld is reporting that Erick Dampier has made his decision, many moons after "The Decision", and will join the Houston Rockets as a backup center. The Rockets are at 15 players, so there will have to be cut to make room for him, likely Ishmael Smith. Smith may wind up in the Rockets' D-League affiliate Rio Grande Valley Vipers who they use quite a bit.

Dampier makes for a valuable addition to the Rockets. Against the Lakers, when they had a center with size in, they flourished. Those players went out due to minute restrictions or endurance, and production dropped. They need that size, despite having an absolute plethora of bigs. Dampier gives them elite size to combat their opponents' bigger lineups. He's slow, old, and never been a great scorer, but he does his job and does it well. In limited minutes, he could pack a big punch for Houston, who has struggled in rebounding through their first two games.

Dampier had been pursued by Toronto, Portland, Phoenix and Milwaukee, with heavy talks of him signing with all three. But Dampier took his time, or those teams pursued other options, and so now Houston will bring him in and slide Chuck Hayes to backup power forward. The race for size in the Western Conference continues.


Posted on: October 27, 2010 1:55 am
Edited on: October 27, 2010 2:38 am
 

Lakers' poise overcomes Rockets' hard work

Lakers overcome tough contest by Rockets thanks to Shannon Brown as Kobe struggles from the field.
Posted by Matt Moore

The Rockets worked hard. They hustled. They shot well. They drove, and dished. They gave up offensive boards, but they worked on defense. They forced Kobe Bryant into a hard night. They gave everything they had for three quarters.

And it only took one quarter for the Lakers to show why they're the champs. After the Rockets led by as many as 15 in the second half, the Lakers made a furious comeback behind an explosive performance from Shannon Brown, then iced it with a Steve Blake three with less than twenty seconds to go. Brown went ballistic in the third with a barrage of threes and finished with 16 points. With one last possesion and less than ten seconds, Steve Blake made a terrific defensive stop on Aaron Brooks under the basket and the Lakers walked out with a 112-110 win.

Take a look at Shannon Brown's shot chart from our CBSSports.com GameTracker :



The Rockets had solid performances from Kevin Martin in the loss, with 26 points. Aaron Brooks, outside of that last possession, was also brilliant with 24 points and 9 assists. The key for the Rockets? Turnovers. 19 turnovers to LA's 11.

Yao Ming was held to his 24-minute limit, fouling out in the 24th minute, exactly. That's one way to get the most for your minutes. Yao was great early, fighting off Pau Gasol and grabbing rebounds, but Lamar Odom decided to show for LA, and when that happens, they're impossible to stop. 14 points, 10 rebounds for the Space Cadet, and a 112-110 win for the Lakers.

Kobe Bryant was 8 of 20 from the field for 27 points, but did have 5 rebounds and 7 assists. More on #24 in tomorrow's GameChanger.


Posted on: October 13, 2010 10:22 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 7:47 pm
 

Yao Ming takes baby step back to normal in China

Houston Rockets center Yao Ming shows nicely in an NBA preseason exhibition game against the New Jersey Nets in Beijing, China.

Posted by Ben Golliver.

Pardon my pessimism, but the early reports regarding Houston’s plan to impose a strict playing time limit on center Yao Ming, who is returning from a lengthy rehabilitation after undergoing foot surgery, had me spooked. A body that big with a base that potentially fragile is a ticking time bomb, and it’s one that comes with any number of psychological hurdles to go along with the physical ones. Watching Yao play well in Houston's 91-81 exhibition win over the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday morning in Beijing, then, came as a pleasant surprise.

Yao’s first-half play was solid, noteworthy for the smoothness of his gait and his activity level on both ends. On offense, Yao extended out to the three-point line to set high screens with ease and he extended smoothly to provide help defense as well. As is often the case during preseason, the game was an up-and-down affair with plenty of quick triggers. Yao kept pace with mobile Nets center Brook Lopez, one of the league's best young big men, thanks in part to the relatively short length of his stints in both the first and second quarters.

It was during the first six minutes of the third quarter that Yao really distinguished himself. He drew two quick fouls on Houston defenders, hit a 20 foot face-up jumper, and continued to effortlessly set high screens for point guard Aaron Brooks. He was perhaps even better defensively, playing the passing lanes to grab a steal, starting transition play with two outlet passes and positioning his body effectively to defend and frustrate Lopez on the low block. Although he appeared to tire slightly and didn’t commit to rebounding on every possession, his impact was unmistakeable.

Yao’s third-quarter run ended with a thud, as he bowled over Nets guard Devin Harris, who cheekily stepped in front of his path in transition, and came crashing to the court. Man down! Cue panic response. But Yao rose quickly and with a wry smile, clearly disagreeing with the player control foul but not letting it spoil his good humor.

Taken together -- his movement, his mood -- it's fair to call Yao’s 9 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals effort in 18 minutes a baby step back to normal.

Posted on: September 23, 2010 4:38 pm
 

Preseason Primer: Houston Rockets

Posted by Matt Moore

The Rockets finally have Yao Ming healthy. They finally have Tracy McGrady out of their hair. They finally have the pieces together to make another run. But can any of the pieces fit together? Are they really as dangerous as everyone says they are? Does speaking in rhetorical questions make you want to read this, our next selection in our Preseason Primers ? Let's find out as we talk about the Rox.


Training camp site: Houston, TX (Hidalgo, TX in early October)

Training camp starts: September 25th

Key additions: Brad Miller (free agent), Courtney Lee (trade), Patrick Patterson (draft)

Key subtractions: Trevor Ariza (trade), David Andersen (trade)

Likely starting lineup:
Aaron Brooks (PG), Kevin Martin (SG), Shane Battier (SF), Luis Scola (PF), Yao Ming (C)

Player to watch:
Patrick Patterson. Assuming the Rox don't go all nuts and acquire Carmelo Anthony during camp, their starting lineup is pretty well set. But Patterson is a rookie who comes out of that ridiculous Kentucky class and could wind up being the kind of flex player that makes a big impression on Rick Adelman. He's versatile, strong, has a good mid-range, and can work inside of a complex offense. He's got a great opportunity to make an impact for the Rockets during camp.


Chemistry quiz:
The Rockets have seemed like a team that's liked one another for years. They hung together when Yao Ming went down, and their samurai-like approach last year was noble, even if it fell short. Basically, even without the star talent you need to win in this league, the Rockets were the team you didn't want to run into in a dark alley. They were tough, gritty, and hung together. The addition of Kevin Martin, trying to reassert himself as a premier player in this league could cause issues, and there's no telling if the same goodwill will maintain with as many changes as the Rockets have made in the past two years. But the core elements are in place, and the tone of camp should be fun and focused, instead of contentious and tense. Not having solified expectations due to Yao's injury should help with manners as well.


Camp battles:
Small forward was set to be a huge battle but promising second year man Chase Budinger tweaked an ankle and won't be able to battle old man Battier for the slot left open by Trevor Ariza's departure. Jermaine Taylor, Courtney Lee, and Jared Jeffries should have a good one for the backup role behind Martin. Jordan Hill vs. Patterson should make for a nice one as well, with Hill's scrap versus Patterson's finesse providing contrast in style.

Injury issues:
Budinger's ankle is significant, but other than that the Rockets seem really healthy and don't have any pro...OH, YEAH. Yao Ming is coming back from an injury that's held him out for a year and a half and is trying to just stay on the floor while the rest of the team holds its breath everytime his feet leave the ground. camp.

Biggest strength:
Doin' work. The Rockets put in a full effort every night, a testament to both the roster assembled and Rick Adelman's job. They lacked an identity last year without Yao, but it did help them to adjust to whatever they faced. The Rockets can get out and run, or grind it out. They're really best when they're doing both. They'll battle for every loose ball and every player knows his role. It's a strong team they've put together.

Glaring weakness:
Three point shooting. Brooks isn't an efficient shooter. Martin's three point shooting dropped off a cliff last season. Budinger can shoot, but the rest of the team isn't great from the arc, including backup point guard Kyle Lowry.
Posted on: September 20, 2010 11:40 am
Edited on: September 20, 2010 11:41 am
 

Pop Quiz: What players could be on the way down?

Posted by Royce Young

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

Who are some players potentially set for a drop-off?

It doesn't take much to go from the top of the perch in the NBA to drop to the bottom. The food chain isn't friendly, especially to aging players.

Eventually, everyone has to come down to earth. Two seasons ago, it was Shaquille O'Neal. Last year, Elton Brand, once a walking double-double, had a terribly mediocre season. It just happens. It's the circle of NBA life. Some players can go out on top, but mosr will see their production dip and the slide starts. Who's facing that reality this year? Here are six candidates:

Yao Ming, Rockets - Yao is probably the most obvious choice for three reasons. 1) He's older. 2) He's coming off a significant injury. 3) His playing time is already being limited. Strikes one, two and three.

I think it's pretty much accepted that the great days of Yao Ming are probably passed. Every season but his rookie year, he's averaged over 30 minutes a game. Now with only 24 at his disposal, putting up anything near his career averages of 19.1 ppg and 9.3 rpg will be difficult. He can still have a stellar statistical year in terms of per 36 minutes and per 48 minutes, but as far as being one of the top two or three dominant big men in the league, he may have to settle for really, really tall role player.

Tony Parker, Spurs
- The better George Hill gets, the less valuable Tony Parker is to the Spurs. Is Parker set to fall off the face of the earth? Not likely. But is he looking at going from top three or four point guard in the West into being just a solid top 10 point man? I think there's certainly that possibility.

But this is a contract year for Parker. He has Hill chomping at his playing time and idiots like me saying he's potentially headed for a down year. The motivation is certainly there for him. He's not old (just 28) and doesn't have a ton of mileage on him. He did break his hand last year but that shouldn't be anything that affects him this year. Still, it's hard to deny that his numbers and percentages dipped across the board last year and as his team ages around him, he might have a hard time putting up the big stats like he has in years past.

Vince Carter, Magic - I know, I know. Putting Carter on this list isn't really fair because he pretty much already had his drop-off year. But even through a seemingly bad year, Carter still averaged 16.6 ppg while maintaining solid percentages. The 16.6 ppg is the lowest in his career, but he still was a quality contributor all season and at times, showed flashes of his old, explosive self.

Now he's 33 and has played over 850 games, battled through injuries and is on a team where he's not the lead man. He played the role well last year, but the better J.J. Redick gets, the less need for Carter there is. This is a contract year for Carter who would still like to keep going. But he might be splitting time at shooting guard with Redick and he'd probably be lucky to average anywhere near 16 points a game.

Amar'e Stoudemire, Knicks - Shield your eyes, Knicks fans. I know New York just dropped a heavy dollar amount on Stoudemire and already talking about a decline for him isn't something anyone wants to hear. But here's the reality: Steve Nash doesn't play for the Knicks. For his career, Stoudemire is assisted on about 60 percent of all his baskets. And who was the guy creating those scoring opportunities? Yeah, that guy.

So going from Nash to Raymond Felton might cause a decline in Stoudemire's typically sexy stat line. Does this mean he's not going to be good and help the Knicks improve? Absolutely not. But could his nickname of STAT potentially be outdated already? Definitely.

Mo Williams, Cavaliers - Mo Williams, pre-LeBron James: 14.2 ppg, 5.6 apg. Mo Williams, with LeBron James: 16.8 ppg, 4.7 apg, one All-Star appearance. Mo Williams, post-LeBron James: to be determined.

It's hard to deny the rise in profile for Williams after he joined LeBron in Cleveland in 2008. He went from underrated point guard in Milwaukee to LeBron's No. 2 man. But without The King, things will be more difficult for Williams. Open shots won't be as available and as the best scorer Cleveland currently has, he'll be the focal point for opposing defenses. Williams is going to have to carry Cleveland and that's something that he's not really equipped for. He's always been a good shooter, a good creator and a good scorer. His assists dipped with LeBron because Williams was able to play off the ball a lot with LeBron running point. Now Williams has to do it all for the Cavs.

Ray Allen, Celtics - At some point, time is going to start catching up to Ray Allen. He's avoided it the past few years, turning in some of the most efficient of his career. But he's got over 1,000 games and almost 38,000 minutes on the odometer. His 16.3 point per game average last season was the lowest since his rookie season and though his shooting percentages held pretty close to form, he took the fewest number of 3s per game in 10 years. To me, that says he's not getting as many open looks because when Allen's open, he fires.

Allen is going to have a quality season, because his perfect shooting touch won't allow otherwise. But in terms of sustaining his high level and gaudy numbers, this season might be the start of his journey down.
Posted on: September 17, 2010 2:07 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2010 2:25 pm
 

Report: Dampier finalizing finalists

Posted by Royce Young

The Heat already trumped the Rockets once for a big man. And it could potentally happen again. Though to a much, much lesser degree.

As Ken Berger reported earlier in the week, Miami the leading destination for recently waived free agent center Erick Dampier to land. And a report today from Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski says along with the Heat on the final list is the Houston Rockets and a potential sleeper in the Atlanta Hawks.

The Rockets already extended an offer to Dampier of $4 million over two years that appears he either turned down or is considering while waiting for other calls. Most likely the latter.

The Hawks were interested in acquiring a veteran big man all summer long and pushed hard for Shaquille O'Neal before missing out. Eventually Atlanta settled for veteran bruiser Etan Thomas, but adding Dampier would be a much better piece for the Hawks. Thomas isn't a legitimate rotation player, while Dampier certainly can be.

Dampier averaged six points and 7.3 rebounds in 55 games for the Mavericks last season. He's not the best center in the league, but he's definitely not the worst. Not as long as Eddy Curry is still active. Hi-oh. But in all seriousness, Dampier has always been a good rebounder and a big body that can push around with other quality big men. The Heat are probably already thinking about how he might be the best option to defend Dwight Howard on the block. Dampier's definitely a better option in that regard than Joel Anthony, Jamal Magloire or Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

The Rockets recently announced they will be limited Yao's minutes so adding Dampier would certainly be nice to play behind the fragile big man. Houston does have Brad Miller who was signed this summer, but when injuries are an issue, having too much help on the inside never hurts.

Why so much intrigue over a mediocre big man? One, it's still September and two, the Heat are a potential player. And three, because it's September. Wait, did I already say that?
 
 
 
 
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