A Dense Branch Is Born
Still trying to pin down the Rockets' identity, when I probably should be working on columns. Terse McGrady meditations below. Add to that: Today I turned on the State of the Black Union today for one second, and heard someone say (roughly) that "optimism is fed to you, but hope comes from within."
When I said "workmanlike" what I really meant was "blue collar", which means "gritty without being a threat to society." The Warriors make hustle subversive, and their smart, easy baskets are all fireworks. The Rockets—aside from McGrady's genius, of course—have this weird high-low thing going. Structurally, they've got that Adelman elegance, but a lot of the moving parts still hail from the church of JVG. On defense, they've got a defense Jeff would be proud of energized and/or made haywire by the offensive changes. That seems like arriving at the Warriors conclusions through hard work and process, as opposed to rabid experimentation.
And on the subject of Van Gundy: He might have surpassed Hubie as my favorite color guy. I'll never forget when, a few months ago, he said that Rajon Rondo needed to learn that, as a point guard, he couldn't go for the rebound every time. Made perfect sense, but what a random observation. Anyway, they were talking about the Rockets earlier today, and it's always impressed me how he talks knowledgablely, extensively, and enthusiastically about that team like nothing ever happened. It's so totally class. Mark Jackson said something about "Jeff Van Gundy laid the foundation" for the streak's defensive intensity, and JVG played it off while continuing to break the defense—that he had, of course, laid the foundation for.
Even worse than Shaq not working in Phoenix: Old Shaq coming to define the Suns.