Over the past few years, the Rockets have had a bit of a knack for being weird.
From drafting Yao Ming in the early 2000s to pioneering the art of basketball analytics, the Houston Rockets just seem to stick out a bit compared to other teams in the NBA. While the Rockets haven’t had much large scale success since their championships in the 90s, their weirdness hasn’t always been a bad thing.
The unlikely pairing of Yao and Tracy McGrady could have been beautiful had injuries not gotten in the way and the weirdness of James Harden playing with Dwight Howard had flashes of brilliance as well. Now, the Rockets have drafted another Chinese player, a guy who shoots free throws granny-style, and they’ve hired the somewhat infamous coach Mike D’Antoni. If they’re trying to be different and unorthodox, it’s working.
Houston Rockets news and notes from around the web
Matthew Tynan of RealGM.com wrote about how the Rockets took a strange route as it changed up their roster this summer just enough to rid themselves of the issues that plagued them last season. This year’s team will look slightly different in some ways, but Moreyball will still be played on a nightly basis with the Beard handling the ball and the rest of the team shooting (and hopefully making) lots of threes.
"Since the D’Antoni hire, the Rockets have replaced the mercurial Howard, Smith and Terrence Jones with Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon and Nene, players who should thrive in their new coach’s run-and-shoot style. Most importantly, they were able to lock Harden up with a four-year, $118-million extension, securing their franchise player for the foreseeable future; and there is absolutely nothing surprising about the bearded one signing up to play for D’Antoni."
One of the more recent weird decisions made by Houston’s front office is the signing of Zhou Qi (pronounced like “Joe Chee”) from China. The frail but talented big man probably won’t see the NBA at all for at least another year, but that isn’t stopping him from developing his game. As Space City Scoop’s Coty Davis wrote, he played well in China’s recent game against team USA despite suffering a 50 point loss to the red, white, and blue.
Qi has a solid post game, but it is his ability to shoot that makes him an offensive threat. With his mid-range game, Qi provided China with a consistent scorer throughout the night. However, what was most surprising about Qi’s performance was his ability to handle the ball.
Outside of Kevin Durant, there are not too many 7-foot players who can handle the ball better than most guards. Not saying he is on the same level as Allen Iverson, but at 7’2 Qi is a great ball handler.
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On a non-basketball topic, it’s been rumored by Katie Richcreek of Bleacher Report among others that Harden will soon be designing a shoe with none other than Kanye West. There haven’t been any official conversations yet, but something is in the works. I’m not sure I want to live in a world where a Beard edition of Yeezys doesn’t exist, so let’s all hope the duo gets to work quickly.
"Harden: Yeah [we’re going to do a shoe]. Me and ‘Ye haven’t had any conversations yet. I think it could possibly happen in the near future, especially with how well everything’s going and how well he’s doing with the . I think everyone’s excited about the wave that’s coming: Off the court, fashion, and on the court. Dame, Kyle Lowry, , everyone’s excited about everything that’s going on. Yeezys Wigg"
To end on a basketball note, the Rockets will probably have to be content with being the weirdest team in the NBA instead of the best. With the ridiculous level of competition in the Western Conference, another appearance to the Conference Finals this season seems like a long shot at best.
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