Where the Rockets go from here

A 20-game winning streak … which equals the 2nd longest in NBA history … has propelled the Houston Rockets to the upper echelon of different Power Rankings compiled by NBA experts …

2007-2008 Holinger Power Rankings
FoxSports NBA Power Rankings
Yahoo! Sports NBA Weekly Power Rankings

And, yet … there are still divergent opinions about Houston’s long term prospects for

i) making the playoffs this season (in the ultra difficult Western Conference);
ii) going beyond the 1st Round of the Playoffs; and, eventually,
iii) winning a 3rd NBA championship.

Rocket’s Moneyball approach paying dividends (Mar. 13)

Kenny Smith – the Rocket’s prospects without Yao (Mar. 6)

Q1. What’s ahead for the Rocket’s version of NBA Moneyball?

A1. The current edition of the Rockets are built to (i) withstand a season-ending injury to their dominating #1 Center, (ii) win their fair share of regular season games, and (iii) even put together an historic 21-game winning streak … but, unfortunately, just like the principles of “MoneyBall” tend to run out of steam, annually, in the MLB post-season tournament … so, too, will such a fate befall an outfit in the NBA that adheres to this ‘statistical-based’ methodology for constructing its team with designs on ‘going the distance’ in June.

As Moses Malone first alluded to, 25 years ago … it (only) takes, “4, 4, 4 and (today) 4” wins to capture the NBA championship … and, MoneyBall-based teams, not built along these lines to begin with, are simply not equipped to get the job done right in this type of “quadruple 7-game series” environment.

NBA championships are won by teams that can …

I) Rebound, Defend and play efficient Offensive basketball, in a balanced way; with,

II) either 2 or 3 super ‘star’ players who can both (a) create and (b) take advantage of the different mis-match situations that exist on the floor, due to their unique and complimentary skill sets.

Without Yao, this no longer applies to the Houston Rockets.

Just watch & see.

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9 Responses to “Where the Rockets go from here”

  1. Sports Blogging » Blog Archive » Where the Rockets go from here Says:

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  2. Where the Rockets go from here | Major League Baseball News Says:

    […] Oasis of Inspiration added an interesting post today on Where the Rockets go from here […]

  3. Raps Fan Says:

    i agree. especially in the west, you might be able to make a case for them to challenge for the eastern crown, but without yao, they don’t have the compliment to mcgrady. another interesting question is whether they win 20+ in a row with yao IN the lineup. what do you think?

  4. Derek Says:

    So was this not a “Moneyball” team before Yao got injured? Because, during the 12 straight games won with Yao healthy, the Rockets met all those requirements you listed. There was quite a bit of talk earlier in the season that the Rocket should trade McGrady for younger, less expensive players. The Rockets elected not to do that, because they knew they needed McGrady’s all-star talent if they wanted to compete for a championship.

  5. SiC Says:

    Raps Fan > I like your question. To be honest, I thought they were a better team w/ Yao minus McGrady, now? I don’t know anymore …

    This is definetly NOT the team we saw at the 1st 1/2 of the season. For one thing, Rafer (yes him) is much overlooked as a catalyst for the streak (crazy? I know!!!)

    + Scola is playing better and more relaxed w/ the system.

    I think they are a good team AND will STILL surprise people come play-off time. Do I think they can make it all the way? Well, w/out Yao, they are equipped to go against small/fast teams + I think they have good size (not great by Western Conference standards), but good enough to compete.

  6. tigerelly Says:

    Winning it all is highly unlikely without Yao, but the winning streak has been a treat for the fans.

  7. khandor Says:

    Raps Fan,

    Yes, the Rockets would have won their 20 (and now 21) in a row with Yao.

    Dikembe is a solid vet and has done a great job replacing him, while their role players have been executing at a high level during this run.

    Still … I only count 3 tough road games (**) among the 20 W’s and 5 home games (*) where their opponent had the goods to maybe pull an upset if the Rockets had decided to just mail one in.

    January Opponent Result
    Tue 29 vs Golden State W 111-107 *
    February Opponent Result
    Fri 01 @ Indiana W 106-103
    Sat 02 @ Milwaukee W 91-83
    Mon 04 @ Minnesota W 92-86
    Thu 07 vs Cleveland W 92-77 *
    Sat 09 vs Atlanta W 108-89
    Mon 11 vs Portland W 95-83 *
    Wed 13 vs Sacramento W 89-87
    Tue 19 @ Cleveland W 93-85 **
    Thu 21 vs Miami W 112-100
    Fri 22 @ New Orleans W 100-80 **
    Sun 24 vs Chicago W 110-97
    Tue 26 vs Washington W 94-69
    Fri 29 vs Memphis W 116-95
    March Opponent Result
    Sun 02 vs Denver W 103-89 *
    Wed 05 vs Indiana W 117-99
    Thu 06 @ Dallas W 113-98 **
    Sat 08 vs New Orleans W 106-96 *
    Mon 10 vs New Jersey W 91-73
    Wed 12 @ Atlanta W 83-75
    Fri 14 vs Charlotte W 89-80
    Sun 16 vs LA Lakers

    With the way the Lakers played tonight at New Orleans, and the injury to Gasol, it should be a great game on Sunday (at the Toyota Center), as the Rockets go for #22.

  8. khandor Says:

    Derek,

    Welcome aboard!

    At the PG spot … Rafer, B-Jacks & A-Brooks are not strong enough decision-makers and defenders, during crunch time of close games, to win the four best-of-7 playoff series it takes to win the NBA title.

  9. khandor Says:

    tigerelly,

    Thanks for your comment.

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