Saturday, May 19

Why The Houston Rockets Are Doomed To Fail

I'm sure everybody has heard of the firing of four-year Houston Rockets head coach Jeff Van Gundy. If you haven't, then now you have. Thoughts and questions have been lingering around for days about Van Gundy's future with the Rockets after the team was eliminated in first round of the playoffs. Here's why: Jeff Van Gundy, with one more year remaining on his contract, stated right after the game that his future with the Rockets was uncertain, given the fact that he has turned down two contract extensions in the past. Another thought on everyone's mind was regarding the team's success; the Rockets finally had a breakout season and were heavily favored to move past the 1st round. Although the Rockets were unfortunately upset by the Jazz in the 1st round, the improvement of this season's performance far surpassed expectations, so success must not have been an issue. So everyone was thinking, "Why is Jeff leaving?"

Days after days passed and the questions remained unanswered, until one faithful day (which was yesterday), the NBA has announced that the Rockets organization had fired Jeff Van Gundy. This only aggravated the questions on everyone's mind, specifically: Why fire Jeff after a break out season? Tough luck on the first round, but the progress was amazing!

Questions and questions piled up, until the reason of Jeff Van Gundy's unfortunate release was revealed to the public: The team owner, Les Alexander, and Van Gundy were having some internal problems. Les wanted the team to run more, while Van Gundy preferred to stick to grinding basketball style where defense and half-court sets rule the basketball world. Les reportedly said that Van Gundy's style was hurting the business, and the void between the relationship of the coach and the owner just grew bigger and bigger over the years; until it came to the point that if the other did not have their own way, then Jeff was out. Van Gundy reportedly met with the ownership one last time to try to come into terms, but it was an impossible task; thus, Van Gundy was booted.

Has Les Alexander abandoned the essence of building a dynasty and demoted the features of the Houston Rockets into solely for monetary acquisitions? Does he even understand basketball? He fired the head coach that taught them the ONLY STYLE they are capable of playing.

Why would he invest so many years in developing the team around Yao Ming, when a running game would make that player who is supposed to be the face of the franchise next to useless? Is it a concept too complicated for Alexander to understand? Forcing the Rockets to run is like asking the Lakers '00, '01, and '02 to run: I doubt you'd see Shaq running the floor to try and beat the opposing team's transition defense to finish a fast break drunk.

I don't think Les understands exactly what he has unleashed. The Rockets roster has been built under Van Gundy philosophy for the past 4 years. Now that Van Gundy is gone, and the new coach (Rick Adelman?) is expected to instill a running game for the Houston Rockets, then the WHOLE roster needs to be revamped. Is it hard to understand that after 4 years of drafting and signing players that fit the half-court set so perfectly, that turning the whole pace of the team to the exact opposite of what they were so used to play with for years will cause a disaster on offense? The current players of the Houston Rockets are NOT capable of playing a running game. Firing Van Gundy was like conceding on the current team. Firing Van Gundy was saying goodbye to the 4th seeded Houston Rockets of this year. Firing Van Gundy was pushing the self-destruct button and blowing up the roster when it was finally showing development and stints of contention. Firing Van Gundy and instilling the running game turned one of the game's most dominant centers into a track athlete, reduced to running back and forth and counting miles.

Of the current line-up, only Tracy McGrady, the other face of the franchise, along with a few names like Rafer Alston (a very inconsistent point guard), will be able to cope with the new style of play that will be enforced once the new coach has been signed. In other words, the roster will need to be revamped, or risk lottery.

Les Alexander means well, but I think he just made the worst business decision he has ever made in a long time. He tried to jump on the bandwagon without the right equipment; now he, and everyone else he brought along with him, will experience the painful consequences of his mistake.

The new thought lingering on everyone's mind: The team owner is willing to sacrifice possible dynasty opportunities to increase viewers and ratings; and risk entering the lottery next season. That seems to be a disturbing mentality for a team owner to show everyone who looks up to him to lead and create the major decisions of the franchise. It shows absolute disbelief and mistrust in his very own team.

Miracles do happen, but we'll have to wait for next season to see what magic the new coach (Rick Adelman?) can stir up for the Houston Rockets.

Maybe the Houston Rockets aren't doomed to fail after all, or maybe they are.

Old school wins championships.

No comments: