Monday, March 03, 2008

No, the Rockets Are Not Better Without Yao

I don't often pay attention to Skip Bayless--not that I particularly dislike him. He is what he is. But earlier today, following up on the Rockets blowout win over the Denver Nuggets, Bayless said on his ESPN show 1st and 10 that Houston would make the playoffs. No doubt in his mind. In fact, he said the Rockets would coast to the post-season easily. Just one thing, Bayless has said this since Yao went out because he believes the Rockets are a better team without Yao Ming. He suggests they are better defensively with Dikembe Mutombo in the low-post and better offensively with no one else taking shots away from their best offensive player, Tracy McGrady. The funny thing is, all the guests or co-hosts disagreed with him on the show, saying Yao is too great a commodity on any team not to miss him. Only, they didn't believe the Rockets would make the playoffs. So much for picking a side.

Does anyone else find it strange why they keep asking reporters, analysts, athletes, you name it, whether or not the Rockets or any team will make the playoffs. It's all rather pointless, isn't it? Wouldn't you rather hope the Rockets make it than predict them making it. I guess that's the difference between fans and pundits.

It's true, the Rockets have won 3-straight without Yao in convincing fashion, but let's not get carried away just yet. Bayless' confidence sounds nice, but it's still a long, tightly contested road ahead. The Rockets will have to play near perfect ball to make it happen. And making the playoffs, even winning, and the ascension of individual Rockets who must play better to achieve that goal, is not indicative of a Houston team that is better off without Yao. It is indicative of the Rockets resolve and adaptability. The Rockets have always had enough talent to make the playoffs without Yao, even win a series, but they can't win the Championship without Yao Ming, which is the long-term goal. So much for not making predictions.

Then again, if the Giants can beat the Patriots...

Originally posted at Yao Central on March 3, 2008 06:11 PM

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