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Yao Ming – Who Needs Him?

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A week ago, I wrote an article about how Yao Ming’s injury would affect the Rockets. In that article I alluded to the fact that Yao Mings’ broken foot was potentially going to be the downfall of the Rockets surge in the West, and possibly ruin their season altogether. Now, though, I have changed my mind and retract my statements. Well, actually, the Rockets have changed my mind. In fact, instead of feeling like the Rockets are doomed to yet another season of mediocrity, my position now is that this injury is a blessing in disguise.

Since Yao went down, the Rockets have won five straight games. A perfect span in which they have beaten two sub-par teams (Grizzlies, Pacers), one reasonably good team (Wizards), and two very good, talented teams teams (Nuggets, Mavericks). So, it seems as if having their most reliable player has not affected the Rockets in a bad way. Rather, Yao being sidelined looks to have galvanized Houston.

Case in point: Tracy McGrady is a superstar and when healthy is one of the best players in the league. He is going to get his points with or without Yao Ming. But, the rest of the team is a different story. When Yao and McGrady are in the game, the rest of the team is reduced to mere role players, giving an extra little something to get Houston over the hump. No one player does anything out of the ordinary. However, since Yao went down, Tracy McGrady has had to rely on the rest of the team to continue the insane hot streak the Rockets are currently riding. Rafer Alston is scoring like primetime player. Shane Battier, aside from his usual selfless play and reliable defense, has also started putting up big scoring numbers. Luis Scola is filling the void in the paint beautifully. And even Carl Landry has got into the act lately, scoring in double figures in the last few games.

The point is that every Rockets fan from here to Beijing was completely demoralized upon hearing about Yao Ming’s foot. But, to me, the Rockets are going to be better for it. All of their players are beginning to step up their games. When Yao gets healthy again, the Rockets are going to get yet another dangerous player to their already talented lineup, which will ultimately catapult them to the upper echelon of the NBA. In the short run, the Rockets may find it difficult to win a title. But Rockets fans need to be patient. Becaue in the long run, watch out NBA!!! The Rockets are going to be dominant for many years to come.

 

Nishan Wilde is VP of Sales for Robbins Sports and Athletics, an oline provider of Basketball Uniforms, Baseball Uniforms and Portable Scoreboards.