It’s no secret that the Houston Rockets have consistently received their fair share of criticism from the national media, as Rockets fans can attest to the fact that this has taken place for years. At times it seems that the media has sought out ways and reasons to throw jabs at the franchise, even when the claims are meritless and baseless.
We’ve heard how Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has been in cost-cutting mode this past season, when there are clear and obvious signs that this wasn’t the case (i.e. paging 5.6 million to acquire the draft pick to select Kenyon Martin Jr., guaranteeing DeMarcus Cousins’ salary before releasing him, trading for D.J. Augustin when he has two years remaining on his contract, etc). Or maybe the narrative that Rockets GM Rafael Stone has been horrendous and doesn’t know what he’s doing when he pulled off two of the biggest fleece trades of the season when he acquired Kevin Porter Jr. for a second-round pick that isn’t likely to convey and when he acquired Kelly Olynyk for Victor Oladipo, who played all of 111 minutes through 4 games for the Miami Heat.
False narrative emerges regarding Christian Wood, Houston Rockets
The latest false narrative surrounding the Rockets involves Christian Wood and comes by way of Sirius XM’s Amin Elhassen on Sirius XM’s No Look Pass.
“Christian Wood with the ‘you must be a casual’ and then everybody got crazy and then they just started using the word casual for everybody, as his team was going down the crapper.”
This is obviously referring to Christian Wood calling NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal a casual, after Shaq said he wasn’t familiar with Wood’s game. For starters, Shaq has been seen falling asleep during playoff games and has had moments where it’s been made blatantly obvious that he doesn’t follow the game or keep up with the game like one would expect an NBA analyst to do.
But there would likely be very little pushback to the notion of Shaq being a casual so let’s delve into Elhassen’s erroneous claim about Wood referring to Shaq as a casual “as his team was going down the crapper.” The Rockets were fighting for playoff positioning at the time of Wood’s comments, which took place even after they had traded away both Russell Westbrook and James Harden.
In addition, the Rockets went on a six-game winning streak and won 7 of their following 11 games before Wood suffered a gruesome ankle injury that sidelined him for an extended amount of time. But let’s take a closer look at exactly how the Rockets fared during that stretch.
The Rockets beat eventual playoff teams like the Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards, Portland Trail Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies during that streak (so much for going down the crapper). But let’s break that down to see exactly how dominant the Rockets looked during that stretch.
The Rockets beat the Mavs by 25 points and beat the Wizards by 19 points, while also beating the Oklahoma City Thunder by 30 points (who had won 2 of their previous 3 games, defeating the Blazers and the Chris Paul-led Phoenix Suns). Make no mistake about it, the Rockets looked good during that stretch.
Sure, Wood getting injured created an avalanche of losses, but what team wouldn’t be significantly hindered without their best player? Not only that, the Rockets dealt with injuries to Eric Gordon, John Wall, and Victor Oladipo, so again, what team wouldn’t suffer with four of their best players in and out of the lineup?
This wasn’t just a matter of the Houston Rockets going down the crapper, they had their work cut out for them. What Elhassen fails to realize is that there was no correlation between Wood calling Shaq a casual and the Rockets going on a losing streak.
But sure, go ahead and let the false narratives fly.