Without Tracy McGrady for how many ever games, for a second straight season, it seems logical to posit that the Rockets problems will stem from such a star player. However, McGrady wasn't playing that well anyway. In fact, the Rockets this year have been carried by Yao Ming, as we went over last time. This time, I want to look at a few columns and spend about thirty minutes trashing Rafer Alston, who is without a doubt the worst point guard the Rockets have started since Matt Maloney.
Lets talk about Rafer first, (aka Skip To My Lou, Reefer, or whatever hackneyed nickname they have for him now) and lets focus on his shooting first, which at best can be described as execrable, and at worst can be described as Bowen-esque. The white one.
Scoop Jackson point.
In one sentence paragraphs.
Out9 of every qualifying point guard in the league, Rafer Alston's field goal percentage this year, is 24th out of 25. He's shooting 37% from the field. The only player worse than that is Mike Bibby, who has been playing with a badly injured thumb all year and probably actually takes contested shots. On the Rockets, there is Yao Ming, and there is Tracy McGrady. If one of these players do not shoot the ball, then you're looking at probably 4:3 odds that said other player taking the shot is wide open.
Then you have to factor in that with Rafer, most of these are wide open three-pointers. A good indication of how aggressive a player is going to the basket is his free throw attempts per game. Of the 36 qualified players, Rafer ranks 33rd, sandwiched between stars like Keyon Dooling and Mo Williams. Then, when he actually does get to the line? 34th of the 36 in converting the free throws, ahead of only Jameer Nelson and Bobby Jackson, at a pathetic 71.7%.
Well, what about turnovers? Surely if he is an innocent bystander in the offense at best, and at worst a massive drain of shots that could go to people who are actually good, he is at least good at keeping the ball, right? Well, of the 49 qualified NBA point guards for this (how are the requirements so different, anyway?), we learn that he does do a good job at this. Finally. His 2.6 are 9th best out of the 48. Of course, the list of players near him are a who's who of sterling players like Steve Blake and former Rocket Tampon Lue, so maybe he should be willing to be more aggressive in exchange for, I dunno, hitting more than 3 shots out of 11 a game? And to further this point, you would expect a player not hitting all these shots to be good at passing the ball. Rafer's assist ratio is only a mediocre 25-ish (in a category where the best are hitting 40), and his raw stats say he is down to only 4.8 assists per game. In an offense with McGrady and Yao. Granted it's an isolation offense, but that number is pathetic.
Defensive value is hard to judge, but it's safe to say that Alston has never been regarded as one of the best defensive players in basketball. He's from the fucking streetball team for christs sake. However, I will give him some pity props and say that he appears to be a good team defender in zones, and can occasionally swipe a pass or two (Almost 2 per 48 minutes, about 12th). One-on-one, he continues to be helplessly abused by any star. For instance, Saturday when Gilbert Arenas got him in foul trouble early.
So, McGrady went down with back spasms, and the Rockets could have been better prepared for this by not ever trading Mike James for Rafer Alston. Lets see how the local sports media is taking it.
Haha, basketball? Surely, you're kidding. Why cover the only team in this city to win a fucking title when we can explore the overlooked Mario Williams angle? Oh, and the one guy who talked about Andy Pettitte.
Oh wait, heres one Fran Blinebury, the basketball columnist! He can save us and tell us how the Rockets will compensate!
Wait, my mistake. Just another asshole tooting his own horn. Whooa I predicted a player with a back injury would keep getting hurt! Buy me a fucking medal and let me cross the Delaware on my swan boat of triumph so you can paint a picture of me, for surely there is not tons of medical data that would ever suggest that something as pathetic as a bad back could flare up in the future!
The burden the Rockets are facing is possibly carrying that $15 million a year contract into the forseeable for a player who cannot be who he once was (see: Jeff Bagwell).
These are questions that some us asked long before the latest injury, so it is not hindsight. On Aug. 13, I posted a blog entry that said maybe the Rockets should consider trading a fragile T-Mac game for a player such as Allen Iverson, who is constantly slammed to the floor but always seems to get back up.
Iverson is currently on the trading block in Philly. Think the Sixers would take T-Mac and his contract for him now? Uh-uh.
Ok, ok, lets look at John Feigen. Feigen is probably the best sportswriter in the whole paper.
The Rockets seem better equipped to compete without McGrady this season than last, when they went 7-28 without him. They are stronger defensively and with more shooters to respond should teams send two or three players at Yao.
Feigy, I just spent a sentence giving you some love and you have to pull this on me. Shane Battier is a good shooter only because he takes open shots, not the other way around.
The Rockets also have improved at getting Yao the ball. Yao has improved at getting better position, often by re-posting. Rafer Alston and Luther Head are better at feeding him the ball deep. Battier is strong at getting the ball inside, as he did on Yao's last bucket Saturday.
Yes, of all the difficult attributes of being an NBA player, I'm sure that fucking lobbing a ball up to a man that is seven foot six is the hardest. You know, I'm going to fail a final because of writing this, but it's okay because I have improved greatly at brushing my teeth.
One final thing I want to address, just because it made me roll my eyes in shame.
Who is most to blame for the stunningly poor cause and effect displayed in this poll question?
-Richard Justice's mother - did a poor job of helping him through various stages of rejection.
-John McClain's chef - forgot that John only likes honeybaked ham. HE HATES REGULAR.
-David Carr - It's his fault our defense has three good players
-David Carr - It's his fault that his offensive lines are as good at pass blocking as Reggie Bush is at running
-Vince Young - should've been born four years earlier so his natural leadership could get sacked 80 times a year for us
-i haet this site