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.

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At 3/09/2008 7:44 PM, Blogger T. said...

I was typing out a comment about Van Gundy's analyst ability, when I realized Simba made the same comment a few days ago.

Once a year he'd address all the front office employees (meaning marketing, ticket sales, corporate sales, etc.) - and he was very very very funny each time (cracking jokes about late comers - saying they were still earlier than Steve Francis and Cat Mobley)

At 3/09/2008 8:39 PM, Blogger Kaifa said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 3/09/2008 8:40 PM, Blogger Kaifa said...

Was it the scene from the end of Lakers-Mavs that Simmons mentioned when talking about JVG? That was beyond amazing: Odom at the foul line, shooting his second FT (or the FT on an and-one), Brandon Bass assigned to box out Kobe. And not only did Van Gundy make a point about Kobe being a great free-throw rebounder - which I have never headr as an attribute of a player before - but also questioned putting a very young player like Bass on him. Odom misses, ball goes right, Kobe pushes here, pulls there, grabs the rebound over Bass, and Breen and Mark Jackson are silent for one very telling second. Surreal to watch.

At 3/09/2008 11:13 PM, Blogger J.E. said...

Love the JVG. Love it. But that 'Duncan's bank is overrated' type line was shockin'. I thought TD always hit that shot. Always. Can we please get a Berri or a Pelton or whoever has a calculator to confirm this?

At 3/09/2008 11:47 PM, Blogger paper tiger said...

yeah, that bank shot line was the one that punched my stockings from today's game, too.
i love him for pointing out the random type stuff, but jvg also does more deflating of conventional wisdom than anyone around.
gotta take him seriously when he says rafer alston is playing as well as any pg in the game?

At 3/10/2008 8:51 AM, Blogger T. said...

kaifa - that's the one.


Shaq rides in a honda prelude

At 3/10/2008 11:31 AM, Blogger Nicholas said...

JVG is a good guy. It used to piss me off to no end when the local sports radio hosts (who don't know their heads from shit) would call him "the troll." Now JVG "the troll" is on television making those morons look like no-talent dime store Jim Rome clones by comparison.


At 3/10/2008 11:33 AM, Blogger MC Welk said...

Jazz 258 Suns/Nuggets 223

At 3/10/2008 3:54 PM, Blogger josh said...

That seems like arriving at the Warriors conclusions through hard work and process, as opposed to rabid experimentation.

It's an irresponsible, if not downright ignorant, suggestion that the Dubs have arrived at their brand of ball through simple "rabid experimentation". Consider the whole history of Nellie-ball (rather than the mainstream media histrionics-du-jour) and it becomes clear that there's a whole lot of method to the madness.

Freedarko should know that content without structure is ultimately unsuccessful - in life, poetry and team sports.

tsuyu chiru ya gosho daiji ni naku suzume

the dews resolve—
with reverence do your office now
chirping sparrow

--Kobayashi Issa

At 3/10/2008 4:01 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

I don't know if "experimentation" precludes method. I'm saying that, as an effective defensive entity, that team really came into its own during that hot streak that closed out '06-07. It's kind of ignorant to suggest that their brand of defense—methodical as it may be—was just sitting there on paper waitng to be applied in the playoffs.


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