To anyone that is not necessarily a Houston Rockets fan, try to at least hear me out. This is not necessarily a blog about the Houston Rockets. I am merely using them as a vehicle to paint a picture for the reader… But yes, I am from Houston. I work for the Rockets. And I can write about whatever I want to.
Currently, the Rockets are on a 7-game win streak after starting the year 3-7. Only partially through an already shortened season, it is hard for even the most dedicated NBA fan to tell what exactly to expect from his or her team. Houston is only 3 games above .500 after starting the year with a murderer’s row (Lakers, Clippers, Thunder, Thunder in one stretch). They then caught their stride against some of the NBA’s living, breathing examples of why some people hate expansion (Washington, Detroit, and New Orleans in one stretch). Houston, to most, is a good team that could be a low seed in the playoffs, or barely miss out just as they have the past two seasons.
That leads us to the main point: Would you rather band together and try and get into the playoffs and possibly make some noise? Or would you trade proven assets for younger players or draft picks – lose more games – and increase your chance to get a better pick in the lottery?
Easy question for me personally, but that’s because I am way too in to sports (and I actually have a paycheck riding on every win and every loss). Go ahead and sign Samuel Dalembert for $7 million. Did I initially think that was a good signing? Nope. Has he won the Rockets several games because of his hustle and defense? Yep.
But for many, this question presents quite a quandary. It is extremely difficult to root for your team to lose close games when you have spent years screaming your head off like a 14-year-old girl at a Bieber concert for them to win. I just cannot bring myself to do it – no matter how many middling draft choices we make. Patrick Patterson and Marcus Morris could be outstanding NBA players. They are not outstanding right now though, which is the issue. Kyrie Irving looks like the real deal. Blake Griffin appears to have been the correct selection. It is tough to sit back and watch these game-changers go to teams you remember beating by 14 every year. Next thing you know, two years go by and they beat you by 14.
Some teams get annoyingly lucky and land an absolute stud in the one bad year they have in a decade (Spurs landing Duncan, Colts landing Luck – different sport but you get the idea). That appears to be the best strategy, but it is slightly difficult to plan. So it seems to depend on the person. Are you a die-hard or a casual fan? Are you the General Manager or the popcorn guy?
I’m the guy who thinks, “just get into the playoffs”, and we’ll figure the rest out when we get there. Who knows what can happen, right? The Rockets won the NBA title as a 6 seed before. Several NFL teams have won 3 road games and made it to the Super Bowl (Steelers with Roethlisberger). Although I also believe that NBA’s bottom few seeds in the playoffs have much less of a chance to win a championship (In order from easiest sport to win a championship in once you make the playoffs: baseball, hockey, football, basketball).
To some fans, wishing for a team to tank all year so they can draft Perry Jones or Harrison Barnes is like asking Kobe not to whine after missing a contested jump shot. So until I’m 100% sure the Rockets cannot make the playoffs/win the championship, I’ll root for them to keep winning every night… even though Harrison Barnes would be pretty sweet right now.
To tank or not to tank, that is the question. Just don’t get stuck in the middle.