Thursday, July 19, 2007

Houston Rockets 07-08 Season

With the addition of Luis Scola, I was so excited about the upcoming season for the Rockets. But today the Rockets sign Steve Francis to a 2 year contract, I just don't have any words to describe how disappointed I am right now. Now I must not cheer for the Rockets until Francis leave the team.

Off Season Hopes
2 months ago, I hope the Rockets will get an active power forward, one that can get offensive rebound and finish around the basket, because of all the attention that Yao and T-Mac get. Marcus Camby would be awesome and he is available for trade due to Nuggets high payroll from the addition of AI and big contract of Nene and K-Mart made these two un-tradable. Instead the Rockets gave up nothing to get Lusis Scola in return, a talented Argentine power forward, which the Spurs just don't have enough cap space to sign, after drafted him 3 years ago with a second round pick.

Then they need to add another player that could drive to the basket and finish to lighten T-Mac's load. Ideally, this would be a good point guard, but that is hard to come by and Juwan Howard for Mike James isn't so bad. At least James could play some solid "D" with his size as a point guard. Also Aaron Brooks was drafted, developing a young point guard, that would work too.

Subtraction by Addition

The Rockets sign Steve Francis, who was recently traded by the Knicks to the Trail-Blazers and the T-Blazers bought out his contract to clear cap space afterward.
The Rockets don't need Francis, he might came at a bargain price but the Rockets don't need him. The Rockets is now loaded with too many point guards - Rafer Alston, Mike James, Steve Francis, John Lucas III and rookie Aaron Brooks is now destined for the NBDL. Look for the Rockets to swing another deal to trade away Rafer Alston and/or John Lucas to get more depth on the two forward position (possibly the center position instead, but big man is tough to come by). The Rockets would probably play some small ball when Yao goes to the bench with Francis at shooting guard and Battier plays power forward at times, but that would also mean Francis already not a particular good defensive player to play as an under size defender on the other end. This is something that Francis is used to but that doesn't mean that it is a good thing.

With the addition of Scola already, the Rockets need other players (role players) to play solid "D" to be able to complete with the likes of the Spurs and the upcoming Jazz. With Francis, the Rockets might get caught up to try to outscore the other teams, they will get by the first round and maybe the second but will end up like the Mavs and Suns, a great season record but can't win the championship. With Yao and T-Mac, Francis would only be the third option at best and need to give Scola some touches, but the Rockets don't have a good distributing point guard, there just might not be enough shots to share.

Bottom line, the Rockets don't need Francis and now I can't cheer for Rockets anymore, even Yao Ming, my current favourite NBA player, is on the team, because of the signing of the Vancouver Grizzlies destroyer, my all time most hated NBA player.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Yi Jianlian

Yi Jianlian is a 7-foot power forward from China. Yi was drafted 6th overall on the 2007 NBA entry draft by the Milwaukee Bucks

As a Chinese Canadian I have to like him. But as a basketball fan, particularly, still a Vancouver Grizzlies fan and a Memphis Grizzlies hater, I very much dislike Yi's and his agent's comments and action of demanding a trade. The reason given was that Milwaukee do not have a large enough Chinese community and they felt that this maybe more difficult for Yi to get use to the American culture.

I dislike this action as a basketball fan, because this brings back so much bad memories of the Steve Francis fiasco, when Francis was drafted 2nd overall by the then Vancouver Grizzlies and refuse to sign with the Grizzlies and force a trade that see Francis sent to the Houston Rockets. Two years later the Grizzlies was relocated to Memphis.

My advice to Yi is, at least give the Bucks a chance for a year. Doesn't matter where he plays in the NBA, if he plays well, he will get use to the American culture in a hurry, because everyone in Milwaukee will love him. On the other hand, if he doesn't play well, it doesn't matter where he plays the home crowd will get on his back and criticize him, and having a bias Chinese fan base wouldn't do him any good. So just sign the contract with the Milwaukee Bucks and get on with it. I really hope he could have a nice career in the NBA.

Yi Signed with the Bucks on Aug. 29
After reading more about the situation in the past month and a half, apparently the only person that cause this mess was Yi's agent
Dan Fegan. Because of the low Chinese population in Milwaukee or the state of Wisconsin in general, Fegan wanted to force a trade with a larger Chinese market, in hopes for more and fatter endorsement deals. But this backfires a bit as this situation upsets the largest Chinese population of all, the people in China. This is a fight that Fegan will never win, as long as the Bucks don't panic and stay tough, because Yi wants to play in the NBA, and the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) wants Yi to play in the NBA, so as long as the Bucks say they won't trade Yi, Yi would sign with the Bucks.
Facts to consider in this situation are
1) Beijing Olympics next year, the CBA wants Yi to play in the NBA in the 07/08 season and further develop his skills for the Olympics
2) As long as Yi has a contract outside of North America, the Bucks retain Yi's rights, so unless Yi sits out for a full year, the Bucks could still sign him later, with the Olympics coming up, Yi can't sits out for a year
3) Sitting out for a year, means lost a year worth of commission for Fegan and give Yi a bad name, which will limit his endorsement deals as well
4) Money for Yi, doesn't matter how much endorsement deals he sign, just playing in the NBA, Yi would make more money than playing for the Gongdong Tigers just by signing with the Bucks
With these important factors, Fegan was in a fight that he never had a chance.