The Houston Rockets. Likely the hardest working team in the league and definitely one of the most hard luck as well. With Yao Ming out for this coming season – not to mention his career being in jeopardy – along with Tracy McGrady out for most of it, the Rox will have $40 mill on the bench sitting in pricey suits. How can they possibly expect to compete in a league that is so talent driven? There’s no moneyball when we talk about superstars, however, that being said, Houston continues to find those tireless workers and that allows the regular season wins to pile up. Their Yao-less and Tracy-less playoff squad did a very admirable job taking Ron Artest’s new team (the Lakers) to seven games when no one gave them a shot. Rockets GM, Daryl Morey, has found an interim replacement for Yao overseas in Aussie, David Andersen. The acquisition of Andersen’s rights from the Hawks is very reminiscent of Morey plucking another non-American from an NBA team’s roster in 2007 – that time it was Luis Scola from the Spurs. Morey joined KILT in Houston to discuss the worries about Andersen’s age, the illegitimate reputation Chase Budinger has obtained, and the impressive summer of Joey Dorsey.
What does new addition, David Andersen, bring to your team? Are you concerned with his age and the fact he’s never played in the NBA?
“We feel like he’s at a good age actually. People are focusing I think on how old he is, but he’s 29, we’re gonna sign him to probably a 3-year deal with some options for the Rockets at the end of it. We feel like he’s just a good player, he’s a good player at a good price; we’re gonna have to win with $40 million sitting on the sidelines for much of the year this year. So, we’re having to be value players and we think David can give us a lot of quality minutes this year, and then Yao Ming comes back next year, we think of him as a very good backup at the five and at the four. And, I think he’s gonna be another guy the fans love – he plays hard, he’s a winner, he’s won seven straight championships with his seven straight teams in Europe. We scouted the globe, we didn’t like our options at a center among the US free agents, so that’s why we were pretty aggressive with Atlanta to get his rights.”
What is your take on the rep Chase Budinger received for being soft or not working hard in college?
“If you look at his time at his Arizona, it’s just not true: they weren’t winning many games without him, he fought through and played well through three different coaches and a lot of adversity in terms of their organization in Arizona, and he got a rap that wasn’t deserved. The bottom line, if we focus on anything more in the draft, we look for guys who help their team win and Chase did that every year at Arizona.”
Who else were you most pleased with in Vegas?
“Joey Dorsey. We drafted him for what he showed here, and he hadn’t shown it to the Rockets since he’s been here. He went through a tough year with injuries to both feet, and you know, if you’re a basketball player, you don’t want injuries in your knees and your feet – those are the two worst spots. So, he struggled with that but we challenged him to show us what he can do in the summer league and he did that in spades. He lead the league in rebounding his last game – he had 20 rebounds and 11 points I think, 5 assists. We needed to cut out some of the mental errors on turnovers and he did that the last game. He played well enough to where he can creep in to maybe someone we can put in the game and feel like he can win the minutes while he’s in.”