Every-Thing Sports

Jermaine Every: Remember the Tombstone?

It's too early for the tombstone. Courtesy photo

Sports give us a rollercoaster ride of emotions. The ups and downs can often times be enough to cause us actual physical pain, or euphoric amounts of dopamine to block out life’s ills. There are some sports moments we simply won’t forget. Your team’s first title win. The time you last saw your favorite player play. Where you were when some of these things happened.

On the flip side, there are also moments of regret. For example: when you burned the jersey of a player that left your team, when you said you’d never watch another game of (insert team or sport name here), perhaps you’ve been guilty of rooting against your team for whatever reason, or maybe you’ve prematurely predicted your team’s demise. That was the case for the Houston Astros back in 2005.

On Wednesday June 1, 2005, the Houston Chronicle published one of its most infamous Sports section covers when it depicted the Astros season on a tombstone. The Astros were 15-30 at the time and were seemingly dead in the water. They were like the fish in the bowl you’re ready to flush because it appears to be floating lifelessly, but suddenly it comes to life and swims like it never has before. That team went on to make the World Series by riding the wave of a great pitching staff. Although they got swept by the Chicago White Sox, they were able to make it that far after being counted out.

I bring that up because the 2018 Astros are being written off as if they are falling short of the expectations after winning a World Series last year. Fans are hitting the panic button so hard and so frequently that it may be broken already after only ten percent of the season has been played! Through sixteen games, the 2017 Astros were 11-5, scored 67 runs, and allowed 55 runs. Meanwhile, the 2018 Astros are 10-6, have scored 67 runs and have given up 49 runs props to @itsdtrain on Twitter for the reminder).

Houston sports fans are notorious for hitting the panic button, and doing so much too soon. Some Astros’ fans are already in full-blown panic mode. They are now 10-7 after last night’s 2-1 loss, which means they’re about ten percent into this season. Does anyone rush to judgment after the first game if the Houston Texans lose? What if the Houston Rockets are 5-3 after their first eight games? Does their fan base lose their minds and freak out thinking the season is lost?

Sure, the starting pitching isn’t where fans would like it to be (particularly Dallas Keuchel, which is why I think they should move him at the trade deadline this year). Of course the bullpen (mainly the “closer” Ken Giles) could be better, but there’s time left to figure that out. The bats are seemingly asleep, however, they have 145 games left to wake up and mash like they did in previous seasons. Yes, the Los Angeles Angels are in first place and seem to have bounced back, but how long can they enjoy this much success and maintain first place in the division?

It’s too early to punt on the Astros this season. Blame the dreaded World Series hangover if it makes you feel better, but this team is different. They have a great blend of vets who have been through the wars, and young guys who don’t know any better. I firmly believe they’ll right the ship soon and get back to their winning ways. The starting pitching staff has a chance to be one of the best in baseball. The lineup can easily correct itself and become more feared. The only position that seems as if it may be shaky all season is the bullpen. But with a few tweaks and changes, it too can become a stronghold for this team. I’m not ready to hit the panic button on the Astros, and neither should you.

Catch more of my opinions on Twitter, on The Sideline podcast with Craig Koshkin, or right here on SportsMap.



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It's Draft SZN! Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

On Thursday June 22, the NBA will hold their annual draft. With the Rockets owning the number four overall pick, you'd think things would be looking up for them. However, in a draft where the top three players are all expected to be immediate impact guys, the drop begins where the Rockets are selecting. Armed with some young talent, cap space, and a new head coach, the Rockets are looked at as a team on the rise. But what will help contribute to that rise?

When you have assets, you have options. There are three main options I see here for the Rockets with number four: keep the pick and select the guy you think will work best moving forward; trade up to select the guy they feel they missed out on that isn't a punk Frenchie who dislikes Houston; or trade the pick for an established star. The other option is trading the pick for a good player and a future pick/s. Let's take a look at the options:

Option 1: Keeping the pick means you're drafting the leftovers. Those leftovers start with Amen Thompson. He's the guy I believe can come in and help sooner rather than later. At 6'7 and 215 pounds, he has an NBA body. His skill set can come in handy because he's played point guard. This team could use a true point guard, but Thompson isn't exactly a traditional point. He has the size of a wing player, which allows him to see over the top of the defense. His outside shooting is abysmal and needs a vast improvement. To me, adjusting to life as a pro without his twin brother Ausar, another good draft prospect himself, will be difficult. Overall, I believe he's the guy to take at four if they decide to stay.

Option 2: Trading up to get Scoot Henderson or Brandon Miller may prove to be difficult. Both teams picking ahead of the Rockets have their point guards. Charlotte wants to find Lamelo Ball a running mate and have their eyes rumored to be set on Miller. Portland is trying their best to keep Dame Lillard happy. The Rockets would be best served to trade with either team willing to move down for whatever they offer, provided it's worthwhile. Portland was just in the playoffs the last few years and aren't as far out as some would think. They're the ones I'd eye to trade with. Speaking of Portland and Dame…

Option 3: The Rockets need a point guard and Dame may be looking to get out. Help them start their rebuild and bring Dame to Houston. Or, how about the Jaylen Brown rumors? Fred VanVleet has a player option for next season, then becomes an unrestricted free agent. There are a few options of finding veteran help around the league, especially at the point. Problem is, are any of these team willing to take the Rockets' offers? It'd start with number four, and include other assets as well. This option makes sense if the organization believes the roster, with whatever vet addition they make via trade, is playoff ready.

Option 4: The last option I thought about is to trade the pick for a first rounder in next year's draft and a decent player. I see this as a last resort of sorts. But only if they do not feel comfortable with whatever player they may take. That, and if they want to save cap space for next free agency period. Not having a first rounder next year isn't as bad as one might think. The team will need to make the necessary moves this offseason to ensure that won't be an issue next draft. FOMO is real, especially when a team is rebuilding and can't use one of the best/cheapest forms of acquiring top talent.

I talked with my good friend “TC.” The guy loves basketball and even hips me to a bunch of stuff. He wants them to move up in the draft for Scoot or Miller. While he is a James Harden fan, he doesn't necessarily want him back. He wouldn't mind it, but it's not his first option. I've spoken with a lot of native Houstonians about this. They all want a winner sooner than later, but have different philosophies on how to get there. Personally, I say options two and three are my faves. Trade the pick for help, rookie or vet, and go from there. I guess we'll have to wait three more weeks before we find out. Or will we…

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