August 28, 2008
Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon Photo Credit: Icon SMI
The Houston Rockets’ season ended in heartbreaking fashion, felled once again by those vile Jazz of Utah. After knocking the Rockets out for a second consecutive season, one of the best rivalries in basketball has been reborn – one that started with The Dream versus Stock and The Mailman (1994, 1995, 1997 and 1998 playoffs). But Houston made the biggest offseason splash this side of Philadelphia with the acquisition of controversial forward Ron Artest, and they’re hoping his addition will push Houston past Utah and deep into the postseason.
You won’t find a better blog chronicling those playoff dreams than The Dream Shake, named in honor of everyone’s favorite Rocket. The Dream Shake is curated by David Clark and Lee Grammier, two rabid Rockets fans who live and die with their team and know as much about them as anybody in the blogosphere.
ETB is proud to present ten questions and ten answers with Mr. Lee Grammier.
Empty the Bench: Tracy McGrady: vent or defend him. Is T-Mac just a loser?
Lee Grammier: Tracy is a very capable player, one of the greatest talents the NBA has ever seen. And I truly mean that, his skill as a basketball player is up there with the best of all time. Why hasn’t he made it out of the first round? In Orlando his team sucked, they were there solely on his back, you can’t pin that on him. In Houston, we’ve run up against a Dallas team that we should have beaten and Utah twice, a team the Rockets have not matched up well with. Is Tracy a loser for not making it out of the first round? I say no. His playoff stats are better than his regular season stats and that says a lot about him. Is his career legacy at stake if he doesn’t get out of the first round this year? Yes. [Ed. Note: That sounds familiar... ]
ETB: Who would you rather keep: Tracy McGrady or Shane Battier? Salary — and who else it could be used on — is a factor.
Grammier: With the addition of Artest, the answer is to keep Tracy. Without Artest, I’d lean towards keeping Shane. Seems crazy, but the real reason is the “salary is a factor” part. If I can spend $20 million on someone else, or $10 million on two someones, I think it’s almost a no brainer to do that. With Artest the Rockets have three legitimate stars, and luckily we don’t have to get rid of any of them if we do not want to.
ETB: What does Rick Adelman do for the Rockets that Jeff Van Gundy didn’t? Given your druthers, who would you rather have coaching the Rockets?
Grammier: He taught them offense. I have mad man love for JVG but he was not in any way an offensive mastermind. The knock on Adelman was always that his defense was somewhat lacking. So what does Adelman do? Tell them not to change a thing on defense, keep up the intensity. To go along with that he taught them how to efficiently play offense. It wasn’t always pretty, and until 2008 came around, it was pretty ugly, but the defense was there while they worked through the offensive kinks. Once the offense started rolling, the Rockets won 12 in a row. Then disaster struck and Yao went down. I’m still hoping we see a full NBA season without a major injury for the Rockets. If that happens, look out league!
Talking Yao’s health, Rafer’s shooting, and Hakeem Olajuwon memories after the jump…