Big Expectations for McGrady, Yao and the Boys

July 8, 2007

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When you think about the powerful Western conference, you think about Dallas. You think about San Antonio. You think about Phoenix. Now, you even think about Golden State. The one team I find that always gets overlooked is Houston. Although they aren’t highly regarded as a West powerhouse, the Rockets have some powerful weapons themselves. It wasn’t that long ago that Tracy McGrady was leading the league in scoring. It also wasn’t that long ago that the Toronto Raptors jumped off a cliff for letting themselves let go of this talent. Oh, they also have a guy named Yao. Ya, he’s 7’6”. He’s an all-star and becoming the one of the most powerful centers in the league, among being a fantasy dream pick at the centre position. If the Rockets get any recognition, it’s due to these guys. But the Rockets have other talent that gets overshadowed. The four main guys I want to look at are Shane Battier, Rafer Alston, Bonzi Wells and Mike James. I’m not going to touch on the promising young talent like Luther Head, Aaron Brooks, etc. Firstly, Shane Battier has become one the more recognizable role players in the league. He is that guy that will do whatever it takes to win a game, whether it be rebound, score or play some solid defense. I feel every team needs a guy like this in order to be successful (see Tayshaun Prince). Next, the Rockets have Rafer Alston running the point. His 13, 3 and 5 average is solid, although I’m sure the Rockets would love to see his 5 assists go up to somewhere around 8. Either way, he brings a great ball handler to the court every night. Next, Mike James. This was a great pick-up for the Rockets, as James can potentially turn out to be a star again. Unfortunately, he never got a spark in Mini, but who knows what he will bring. With Alston at the point, I can see James moving to shooting guard, making the Rockets have a very small backcourt. Now, onto Bonzi Wells. He didn’t get along with the coach last year, but with Rick Adelman coming in, Bonzi’s game will inevitably fit in. He’ll at least get some minutes to prove it. This guy is capable of still scoring 20+ point a game. Seeing as how he has to share the ball with McGrady and Yao, chances are he won’t get enough shots, but he still brings a dangerous offensive weapon to the team. Like past years, injuries could play into the picture. That has been the main cause of the lack of success of the Rockets. But all I can think about is if this whole team stays healthy for the majority of the season. These guys can be contenders. I can see them splitting a season series against Phoenix, San Antonio and Dallas. I wouldn’t be surprised to see these guys having home court advantage in the playoffs (again, pending team health). These guys have a lot of talent, and I’m pretty excited to see them make a run in the West. Watch out!

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Can Yao and the Rockets be serious West contenders?

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13 Responses to “Big Expectations for McGrady, Yao and the Boys”

  1. mookie Says:

    With Alston and James as your back-court, you can expect to give up 30-50 points to opposing guards every night of the week. James played like gangbusters for Houston a couple years ago, but he TOTALLY lost it last year in Minnesota. To replace Alston, he’s going to have to get back to that level. The bottom line is Houston’s best lineup has T-Mac at the 2, Battier at the 3, and Hayes at the 4. It remains to be seen who wins the PG battle. Expect Bonzi to stay surprisingly motivated (money) and battle for the 6th man of the year award.

  2. clutch3 Says:

    Thanks for the comment Mookie,

    You have a good point, having both the small guys on defense. Although quite quick, they are way oversized, and will get dominated in the post. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bonzi come in at 2 and move T-Mac to 3. Any thoughts on that?

  3. mookie Says:

    Actually, yeah, that makes more sense. I really get the feeling Bonzi is over his “issues” and will get back to his Portland/Sacto type game. Plus I guess Head could play a little 2, but he doesn’t offer much besides offense off the bench.

    To be honest, I’m kind of surprised Houston isn’t asking around the league about big men. Not that Hayes isn’t good for what they need (D and Rebs) but Yao hasn’t shown the ability to stay healthy, and Dikembe is OLD. And they just traded Juwan. To they have any summer league players to be excited about?

  4. clutch3 Says:

    Lacking size is true. Dikembe is actually a free agent so besides him being old, he might not even be a Rocket for much longer. The Rockets would be smart to persue a Mikki Moore or Darko. I would rather have Moore at this stage, although he’s just another skinny big man up front. Still, not much size. But at least he has proven he can be reliable, whereas Darko is still risky, and would demand a higher price.

  5. mookie Says:

    I think if you want to have a safe option down low, you go with Mikki, but if it were me, I’d go Darko. He definitely relieves Yao on defense (he’s a great shot-blocker), and it’s *rumored* the guy can hit a face-up jumper. You’re also right about the asking price being more for a riskier guy.

  6. clutch3 Says:

    It all comes back to risk vs. reward. Darko has always been a good shot blocker, but with that he gets into foul trouble quite often. It makes more sense to go with Moore based on price and risk factor. Moore really could demand more than what I feel he will go for, but for teams like the Rockets, this will work in their favour.

  7. clutch3 Says:

    Sorry to all those that came to see this article. I was surprised to see it some how dissappeared over night. But it’s back and better than ever!


  8. […] But enough bashing, look who the Rockets landed!  I’m not sure if any of you read my article ( check it out here!) titled “Big Expectations for McGrady, Yao and the Boys” but if you did, you might already know […]


  9. Tracy Mcgrady is the best player alive every time i watch him i get excited because i know that he is going to pull something amazing off. I am his biggest fan , I even fight when people talk dirty about him . He is a legend and i love him.. I cant wait to meet hiim in person.


  10. Yo yo yo Denzel Wright is a hoe because he says gilbert is better than t-mac. Even though he is retarded i will still kill him if he talks dirty. My boii A1 loves t-mac too but not ass much as me…. I want to play just like u and i will well i already do…. Tracy I love U by:Thomas Graham

  11. clutch3 Says:

    Sorry TG, I’d take Agent Zero over T-Mac anyday. That being said, I’m a huge TMac fan too!


  12. […] the Rockets will be a force next year … sigh, how many times have we said that now, the last 4 years? | Clutch […]


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