The weather has turned on full blast heat and burned the living shit out of my teams this week. The Astros, apparently, stink. Oddly, they are 6-1 against the Reds and 9-16 against everyone else they have played this year. That means that the recent uptick that placed them near the .500 mark and back in contention is nothing to get too excited about yet (even if it is nice to see the 45 milliondollar bats starting to swing right).
Roger Clemens left and now everyone's yammering about how he sold us out. Typical. I wonder where we've seen this one before.
The Rockets are sitting at home for a large variety of reasons and the fans are arguing over what they are. Some people are saying Van Gundy should have gotten his younger guys some action during the season so they could provide a lift when the playoffs came around and also to extend the bench. Some are saying the defense wasn't there, some are saying the offense wasn't there. Some point the finer at Yao for the turnovers. Some point the finger at Tracy; he is himself included in that group, taking the blame like a champ (sort of).
They need another point guard with speed, a large and effective power forward and a backup center with more athleticism than sturdy old Dikembe. They also need a new outlook and support from their younger players, the most promising of which is uncertain about his return.
The big and most immediate question is what to do about the coach. Van Gundy's abilities as a coach sit in a range that almost as uncomfortable as the general expression on his face.
He has a proven system that he believes in and uses it to effectively batter teams over a long stretch of games. He turns D-league runners into uber-effective defenders. He forces the intensity in hard situations and does have it in him to win a ring, somewhere, somehow.
The problem is that he is trying to play this type of gnashing basketball without a good connection between his veteran presence and his younger energy players. The situation makes me think back a few seasons when Mike James became the Rockets Sixth Man and number three option off the bench and did a damn good job of increasing the tempo at points late in the game. It was a confusing style that sometimes sparked a sleeping Rockets offense into scoring in bunches.
Van Gundy keeps the running down. Van Gundy won't play the rookies. Van Gundy called plays for T-Mac with his back to the basket. Worst of all, Van Gundy's voice is no longer reaching the lockerroom ears.
It's time to hold a press conference and announce that the team is looking for a new coach. You can let Jeff tell the public that he wants to move on instead of humiliating him but the players just aren't listening. The worst thing that can happen to a coach did and there is only one way to fix it.