THE NBA OFF-SEASON

John Granato: Hey, Rockets fan - it's time to man up

It's time for Rockets fans to get over the off-season. Revelry on Richmond / Facebook

I can’t believe how almost everyone has lost his mind this NBA offseason. I say his mind because I haven’t heard any women complaining about it. Women are far more level headed about these types of things. Either that or they don’t care what LeBron or Boogie Cousins does. Count me amongst those ladies.

That’s right. I don’t care. Nothing has changed. Nothing.

The Rockets are still the team to beat in the West. Lest we forget it was the Rockets that had the best record in the league. It was the Rockets that had the MVP. It was the Rockets that had the NBA’s executive of the year. It was the Rockets who had a 3-2 lead over the Warriors before Chris Paul went down.

Please don’t tell me that it was the same as Andre Iguadala getting hurt. A guy who has $5 million and loses a million is a lot better off than a guy who has $2 million and loses a million. He still has $4 million. The other guy only has one and apparently you can’t buy a 3-pointer with $1 million. Didn’t know that until after the game. Found out the hard way.

I heard last week that the Lakers signed LeBron James. It really didn’t get much coverage but I have sources who have confirmed it. And? How has this changed anything? Even if Kawhi goes there, which I think is unlikely but could well happen. So? Chances are they will have to give up some of  their young talent. If they lose Kuzma and Ingram bringing Kawhi in they’re not going to be better than the Rockets. We’ve seen teams with stars and no supporting cast before. They always fizzle out.

If I was Magic Johnson I’d take a page out of William Wallace’s playbook. (That’s a Braveheart reference for you younger readers.)

Hooooold. Hooooold. Hooooold.

Magic, do not trade away your good young players when you can just wait a year and get Kawhi for free. LeBron will be there waiting patiently. The young guys will get a dose of what it’s like playing with his majesty in pressure situations and your organization will be set up to win over the long haul.

Why am I giving Magic good advice? I hope he trades them all away and stinks forever.

On to Boogie Cousins. Everyone is freaking out over this. Why? First of all he’s not going to be there until March and when he does get there is he really going to make that big a difference? The Warriors didn’t use a center against the Rockets in the postseason. Would they use Boogie? Yes, probably unless the Rockets take advantage of his lazy defensive tendencies and Steve Kerr has to pull him. That’s if he isn’t already on the outs with Kerr because he’s pouting about not getting touches. That’s if he actually comes back full strength from the Achilles. That’s if he can actually handle playoff pressure which he’s never had. That’s if he’s not a round peg in a square hole on this team. That’s if. That’s if. That’s if.

There are no guarantees that the one year Boogie Cousins experiment works. If you’ll remember correctly, the Pelicans were better without him and the Warriors have been pretty good without him.

But the Rockets were better.

And they still are.

But wait. They don’t have Trevor Ariza anymore. You’re not better without Ariza, not now at least. If I had told you that PJ Tucker, Luc Mbah Moute and Gerald Green would be key contributors to you passing the Warriors as best in the West you’d have laughed. But it happened and the executive of the year can make it happen again. I’m not sure what those names are right now. Daryl might not know right now either.

But no one knew at this time last year that the Rockets would do what they did and it appears that no one thinks they can do it again. I’ve heard that a few times. That was their one shot.

Why? Why can’t they be as good or better than last year? What if Chris Paul is healthy throughout the playoffs? What if he plays 70 games instead of 58?  What if Clint Capela is even better than he was last year and why shouldn’t he be? What if Eric Gordon gets back to sixth man of the year form?

There are about 100 games ahead to play. You never know. That everyone is throwing in the towel in July is silly to me. Let’s stop whining about how unfair it is how good the Warriors are.

This reminds me of when Johnny Fontaine was crying because he couldn’t get the big role in a major motion picture “Godfather I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do.” Vito shot back, “You can act like a man!”

Come on Rockets fans. Act like a man.  






 

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This is getting out of hand. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Allsport/Getty Images.

Dr. Rick warns his patients, young homeowners who are turning into their parents, you can expect to pay more for snacks and drinks at a movie theater. It's the same deal at a professional sports venue. Three years ago, I put a down payment on a cheeseburger at Toyota Center ... I still have three more payments to go before I get it.

But this is ridiculous. The PGA Championship, the lesser (least) of golf's majors, is charging $18 for a beer, a 25-ounce Michelob Ultra, at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa. It's $19 for a Stella Artois. You can buy a six-pack for less at the supermarket. Aren't there laws against price gouging, like during a hurricane? Isn't Tulsa where the Golden Hurricanes play? Get FEMA in here. Did tournament directors get together and ponder, how can we piss off our fans? Sure, it's Tulsa and there's not much else to do, but that's no excuse.

Charging $18 for a beer makes the concession stands at Minute Maid Park look like a Sunday morning farmer's market. A 25-ounce domestic beer during an Astros game is $13.49. A 25-ounce premium beer is $14.45. Yeah, that's high for a beer, but at Minute Maid Park there are lots of hands in the till. Aramark wants to make a profit, the taxman has big mitts, and the Astros want their cut, too. Look, you want to sign Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez to an extension or not? Then drink up and don't complain. Some quiet grumbling and head-shaking is permitted, however.

You know the PGA Championship is charging too much for a beer when even the rich pampered players take notice. "18 (!!!!!) for a beer ... uhhh what," former PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas tweeted. "Good thing I don't drink a lot."

Like he will be in line for a beer at a public concession booth, anyway.

Of course there will be fans sneaking in beer in baggies strapped to their ankles, like stuffing your pockets with store-bought Snickers before going to the movies. It doesn't have to be this way. The Masters, the most prestigious golf event, charges only $5 for both domestic and imported beer. I know it's a gimmick, part of The Masters mystique along with pimento sandwiches for $1.50, but still it's a welcome gesture. You never lose when you treat the public fairly. When Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened in Atlanta, Falcons owner Arthur Blank insisted that food vendors charge the same inside the stadium as they do at their regular restaurants. Same thing when Denver International Airport opened, fast food restaurants couldn't jack up their prices to their captive customers. Here? There needs to be a loan window outside the Cinnabon booth at Bush-Intercontinental.

Except for the Masters in Augusta, golf's majors aren't tied to a city. A major comes to a city maybe every few years or in most cases never. There's no need to ride into a city like the James Gang, rob the local bank, and high tail it out of town. Golf should be the last professional sport to stick it to fans. While the game has made strides to open its arms to lower-income youths, golf remains an elitist, extremely expensive sport for regular folk. Equipment is expensive, private courses are exclusive and country clubs are exclusionary. Public courses are less expensive but still expensive and crowded. Plus there's never been a professional sport more dangerously dominated by one person than golf. I can imagine network executives on their knees praying that Tiger Woods makes the cut and plays on weekends. Otherwise, TV ratings go straight into the toilet, you know, like whatever team Mattress Mack is betting on. (I joke because I love, and frankly a little scared.)

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