Within months of passing on Damian Lillard, Sacramento have decided to give away the player they picked instead of him. Seemingly already disenfranchised with their big man out of Kansas, they traded him for another one, and a jump-shooting backup big man, rather than wait it out. This accords with Sacramento’s grand plan, that of dumping valuable young assets to open up negligible amounts of financial flexibility, then spending it on backups. At the very least, they got Patrick Patterson this time.
Patterson broke out this year as a scorer, scoring 11 points in 25 minutes per game, and doing so at just short of 52 percent shooting with a mostly face-up game. He has occasional three-point range and a fantastic mid-range jumper — it’s not hard to project those two things being the inverse of each other some day soon, as that is the way the jump-shooting big man tends to go. Channing Frye was in a similar situation once. Patterson scores, and scores efficiently, without needing much of the playbook to do so. For this reason, he projects as a useful role player for several years. However, Sacramento’s unimpressive recent record on player development isn’t the place for someone with such big holes in his game. Patterson doesn’t box out, doesn’t defend any position, and isn’t tough enough to rectify those problems. He’ll make some jumpers, some fast break dunks, and occasionally carry the team for a quarter, but there’s an awful lot to do.
The rest of the deal has little bearing on Sacramento’s end product. Francisco Garcia will be a mildly useful defender and shooter for a year, but is essentially irrelevant, robbed of his talent by multiple injuries. So are likely to be Tyler Honeycutt (a once tantalizing prospect who hasn’t gotten anywhere, not helped by injuries), Cole Aldrich (same, except with the injuries) and Toney Douglas (whose offensive game still hasn’t recovered from whatever it was that caused him to lose it). Everyone else is a backup, only ever going to be backups, and either expiring or unguaranteed.
On Houston’s last few possessions, the Warriors assured there would be no more threes. Jackson knew full well the Rockets were hunting for the record [for threes made in a game], so he had his guys commit intentional fouls to prevent Rockets from even attempting to break the record. It worked. Houston couldn’t even pull a three-pointer in the final 1:58 and finished the game with 23 threes, tying the mark set by the Orlando Magic in 2009.
And that, my friend, is why the Warriors love Mark Jackson — because he always has their back. Sure, sometimes it means they get viciously booed on the road, but at least they’re not on the wrong side of NBA history. Next time, maybe they’ll pay him back by not giving up 23 threes.
Kinda worried about Kris Humphries, you guys. If he keeps “acting” like a douchebag, it might be one of those self-fulfilling prophecy things. Wouldn’t want that to happen, since he’s pretty well-liked around the league. Just something to keep an eye on.
If there’s one thing we can learn from this Rockets-Lakers game, it’s that passing between the legs of 7-foot centers is apparently very easy and everyone should try it. Let’s hear your favorite in the comments.
Shea Serrano took his twin 5-year-old sons to Monday night’s Spurs-Rockets game. This is what transpired.
6:30 p.m.: Big night. Tonight, the boys (my twin 5-year-old sons) and I are going to watch the Spurs/Rockets game at the Toyota Center in Houston. It’ll be their first in-person Spurs game ever, and only the second pro basketball game of their lives (I took them to go watch the Clippers back when Blake Griffin first started dunking on everyone’s heads during his second rookie season, but they were barely past baby then so all they wanted to do was be shitty at skeeball in the Kid Zone in the stadium).
I’m excited. I don’t anticipate the boys’ll make it past the second quarter, but whatevs. My dad started taking me to Spurs games around the same age too; the actual games were always incidental. I suspect just about all of the people that read this site (or any site about sports, really) have similar memories of similar time spent with their fathers.
I also suspect just about all of the people that read this site (or any site about sports, really, but definitely specifically this one) are really, really good at things like foosball and navigating Microsoft Excel, but that’s a different thing.
Boy B: Who’s playing, Daddy?
Me: The Spurs and the Rockets.
Boy B: The Rockets are from where?
Me: From Houston, where you were born. They’re like the Texans, but basketball.
Boy B: Oh. And the Spurs are from San Antonio, because that’s where you were born?
Boy B: Who else was born in San Antonio?
Me: … Umm, oh, well grandma lives in San Antonio.
Boy B: IS GRANDMA GOING TO PLAY?!?!?!
Boy B: MAMA! GRANDMA PLAYS FOR THE SPURS!
Me: Jesus Christ.
6:53: At the stadium. The boys have noticed the sign at the top and, with the intensity of 1,000 suns, are doing their best to sound it out. “Toy-oh-ta. Toy-yota? TOY YODA?! YODA! DADDY, DOES YODA PLAY FOR THE ROCKETS?!” What the fuck is happening right now? We haven’t even made it inside yet.
James Harden used to be a dyed-in-the-wool Thunder Broington, the kind of guy who would wander around a party with Kevin Durant. But now he’s a Houston Rocket, starting and leading the team in scoring while hopefully trying to set up his own buddy clique down in Clutch City. You know all this.
But the reason I bring it up is because tonight is the first time James Harden returns to Oklahoma City in a new uniform. As such, everybody’s trying to play it cool like Beardo wasn’t a key member of a team that lost the NBA Finals like 10 minutes ago and they wouldn’t miss him, no way, even if he were. But Thunder coach Scott Brooks admits tonight’s game means just a little bit more than the usual late November matchup. From Royce Young:
“No, it’s not just another game. I want to beat the Rockets. They traded me in the second championship year.”
Oh. That’s why tonight’s game isn’t just another game? Because Scott Brooks got traded 20 years ago? Neat.
Personally, I thought it’d be something juicier. Something like, “No, it’s not just another game. I want to beat the Rockets. We want to prove we don’t need James Harden, which is why I had these shirts made up for everyone to wear during warmups.”
Turns out that’s just a random shirt for sale in some store in Oklahoma City, not something from Scott Brooks’ personal collection. Oh well. Just a normal game tonight, unless you’re still upset about that huge trade — you know, the one involving the backup point guard on the 1994-95 Houston Rockets. Other than that, nothing to see here.