Are the Houston Rockets Better off Without Their Center Yao Ming?

Bare KnucksAnalyst IMay 12, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 06:  Yao Ming #11 of the Houston Rockets reacts to a foul called on him in the second quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 6, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Are the Houston Rockets better off without their colossal Chinese center Yao Ming? Regular season, absolutely not. Playoffs? It’s something to mull over.

I’m not simply trying to go against the grain for the reason that the Rockets handed the Los Angeles Lakers an embarrassing (to say the least) defeat the other night with the absence of Yao, but the Rockets certainly played a different brand of basketball, a style that I feel benefits them against a tough Lakers team.

Now, at 7'6", Yao is an imposing physical presence to say the least. He is one of the more dominant centers in the league, and is nearly impossible to guard. Unlike most big men in the league, Yao is a great free-throw shooter, so the hack technique is useless. However, even after all this being said, I feel the Rockets have a better opportunity of defeating the Lakers without their All-star center. I’ve got to be talking crazy, right? I mean, after all, Yao dropped 28 and 10 in Houston’s first W against LA…

With the absence of scrub ‘superstar’ Tracy McGrady, Yao turned into Houston’s ‘go-to guy’ on offense. Similar to LeBron James, Yao usually will get his (except for game 2 when he was held to 12 and 10). This gives opposing teams the ability to hone in on shutting down the remaining 4 players on the floor.

Now that the freak of nature is sidelined with an injured gargantuan foot, the Rockets really don’t have a go-to guy, unless you’re looking for someone to get stabbed with a table leg, then Ron Artest is your guy. [Read more...]