This late, late afternoon edition of “Fo’ with the Foes” — Philadunkia’s advanced scouting series which with the help of an accomplished journalist from around the NBA beat or blog world, previews upcoming 76ers opponents — features tonight’s opponent, the injury plagued, but hot (won 4 of last 5) Houston Rockets who are the foes for game three of this five game home stand.
It’s late on a Friday and we’re so frustrated with the Sixers that we don’t even know what to say about tonight’s game vs. the Rockets. Look we know that despite all their injuries and drama, that the Rockets are still a good squad. Trevor Ariza, Carl Landry (one of the least hyped rising players in the League), Shane Battier, Aaron Brooks, Kyle Lowry and Chuck Hayes (balling out his mind right now) can all play the game and play it at a high level. But if we don’t pound the ball inside, get 25 out of Elton Brand a take home a W tonight against the Yao-less, T-Mac-less Rockets, well the Philadunkia staff may jump off the Ben Franklin Bridge.
For a little more insight into the Rockets team the Sixers face tonight, we turn to our man Rahat Huq from red94.net to answer two questions on the Rockets from us here at Philadunkia as well as provide us with two points of analysis on this HOU squad from an insider’s perspective.
Philadunkia : Where did you stand on the whole Ariza for Artest “swap” and have you been disappointed in Ariza’s play so far?
Artest for Ariza: In a nutshell, I fully supported the “swap.” While I have the utmost appreciation for what Ron brought to the team in helping them exercise their playoff demons, it became clear after news broke of Yao’s injury that a parting would be in the best of interests. His ball-stopping ways were simply not conducive to the style of play the team would need to implement to succeed this season. Most importantly, I felt it was a no-brainer to resist re-signing him long term in the midst of a rebuilding project. He has slowed with age and injuries (and added bulk) have taken their toll on his body.
Ariza: I’m not the least bit disappointed because I fully knew what to expect. I go into depth on this topic in “Assessing Ariza.” The disappointment has stemmed from unwarranted expectations fueled by mistaken assumptions perpetuated by the media. Trevor Ariza simply isn’t a skilled enough player (at this point) to assume a lead role on the team. If accepted for what he really is, one can truly appreciate the acquisition. With that said, it has been frustrating at times to watch him attempt to develop his skills in-game, but one must keep in mind that for the Rockets, this season is of developmental purpose.
Philadunkia : What are your thoughts on the building drama surrounding Tracy McGrady and whether or not he should play again for the Rockets? Early on this season, we heard some rumors up here in Philly about a possible TMac to Philly deal. Did you / have you heard anything similar?
I think it would be in the team’s best interests that he play. As far as the rumored deal, I read the same reports but did not personally “hear” any rumblings.
Two Points of Analysisfrom Rahat Huq @ red94.net :
1. Don’t be fooled by Chuck Hayes’ size. At first glance, it will be easy to assume that your team will enjoy an advantage inside. This most likely will not be the case. It is my personal opinion that Hayes is the best individual defender in basketball..
2. This Rockets team can be easily beaten (as evidenced by their record) but it won’t be for lack of effort.