Does Houston Have a Problem?
September 27, 2010 – 10:45 am by Chris Fedor
Last year the Houston Rockets dealt with a ton of injuries and a lot of adversity. And while they weren’t able to make the playoffs, they still finished the season with a record above .500 once again.
This season the Rockets roster will look a little bit different than it did a year ago. Courtney Lee, Brad Miller, and Patrick Patterson were added in the offseason while the Rockets decided to trade away Trevor Aziza after just one year in Houston.
Of course when it comes to Houston it’s all about Yao Ming. The Rockets have had a lot of experience playing without their big center, but there is no question that when he is on the court they are a better team. After surgery on his foot once again that cost him his entire season last year, Yao is expected to be back, but how many minutes he can play and how effective he will be will be the number one question that has to be answered this season. If Yao can come back and play at an All Star level, Houston could get back into the playoff picture. If Yao isn’t right, the Rockets will get an early vacation again.
Rick Adelman joined KILT in Houston with Shaun and Barry to talk about how he feels about the team and the changes that were made in the offseason, what he thinks of the development of Aaron Brooks, what he thinks of the criticism that Yao Ming gets from the media in Houston, how he is progressing from his injury, and what he thinks of the fact that he can only play Yao for 24 minutes per game.
On the players that they brought in this offseason:
“I love the depth, but I love the way they play to. Just watching them in pickup games and things like that, you get a sense of how a guy can play. What I really liked about watching them workout by themselves is that they are very unselfish in the way they play. There’s not a lot of one on one, there’s not a lot of it’s my turn this time. Guys cut and guys move and the style we play is perfect with the additions that we have had. I’ve had Brad Miller before and I know what he can do with our players. Courtney Lee, I’ve been very impressed with the way he’s played too. I like our young guys. I really like the makeup of this group. The unknown is what’s going to happen with Yao.”
On what he thinks of the development of Aaron Brooks:
“I’ve seen Aaron play since he was in college. His senior year, I wasn’t coaching and I saw a lot of his games. He’s an offensive player, a shooting point guard. You want him to be better in those other areas, but you have to take advantage of those skills which you saw last year. I don’t know if it’s substandard defense that people want to look at that but he’s dealing with a different style himself because he’s not big and he’s not strong. He’s extremely quick. If you learn anything, if you play point guard in our league you’re gonna get your head taken off a lot of the times. You’ve got to learn how to get through picks, how to avoid picks, and that’s what he’s trying to get better at. With his quickness he should be able to do that. He learned a lot from Rafer. Rafer Alston was here and he was one of the best at defending like that. Sometimes he gets overpowered and I don’t mind that because he’s not that big and strong but he should be able to be better at getting through screens defensively. The steps he made last year and the responsibility we had to put in his hands because he was the one who could win games for us and when you’re in that position, you’re gonna have your detractors because he has to make shots and he has to step up. I love Aaron and I think he’s just gonna get better. Experience is all he needs.”
On the criticism that Yao Ming gets from the media in Houston:
“I think with the last six, seven, or eight years, sports radio has taken off so much and there’s so many shows and callers that people look at someone like Yao and they say well why can’t you be (Patrick) Ewing, Shaq, and (Hakeem) Olajuwon wrapped up into one. Yao is who he is. Yao is unique. If you’re gonna let Yao catch the ball in there, you’re gonna get beat because he’s gonna score every time if you allow him to do that. Where we really missed Yao last year was not only that area but at the basket defensively. He’s a presence there. I think people want something else. They want the perfection and you don’t get that. You have to look at the guy that you have and you saw what it meant to us when we last him for the whole year last year. We were a totally different team. That’s why I said earlier, don’t put all this pressure on him that he’s supposed to be the guy he was two years ago or Olajuwon 12 years ago. He’s a guy coming off a real serious injury that has tremendous skills and tremendous size and believe me our game becomes a lot easier in the fourth quarter trying to score by just posting him up. Now the other team is the team with the problem, not us.”
On whether he was surprised at the restriction of Yao Ming only playing 24 minutes per game:
“I saw it coming all along. I guess I’m from the old school too in some ways. I didn’t see any reason to put that out there. What would you have to do that for? Even if the doctor said that, what is magical about 24? Why isn’t it 26 or something? I don’t know where 24 came from. My thought was never going to be 24 minutes from the start. We had to see him play and he had to get a feel for it. We start scrimmaging, I guarantee that game is going to so fast for him that he won’t know what hit him. I just think it was really unfair. It’s nice to put that parameter on us, but it’s hard to do that as a coach. I had to do it with Tracy (McGrady) at times. The game is on the line and he’s had 24 minutes and it’s time to take him out. Those type of things. I felt it was really unfair to come out with that figure. Let’s let it go on and when he’s ready to go, maybe he would just play 12 at the start of the season, then we will gradually work up to that. But they put it out there and it is what it is. I think everything is going to depend on how he feels and how he recovers from games and practices.”
Listen to Rick Adelman on KILT in Houston here
Tags: Houston Rockets, KILT, NBA, Rick Adelman, Western Conference, Yao Ming