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Rising Rockets: Youth, Teamwork, and Humility Fueling '09-'10 Team

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 03:  Corey Maggette #50 of the Golden State Warriors has his shot blocked by Shane Battier #31 of the Houston Rockets during an NBA game at Oracle Arena on December 3, 2009 in Oakland, 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 Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Austin SchindelAnalyst IIDecember 30, 2009

In a day and age of superstars, shoe contracts, and puppets posing as people, the Houston Rockets are a breath of fresh air.

When Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady, and Ron Artest seemed to suddenly disappear, there was no telling what kind of team would be left over. After the rubble had cleared, and the roster became apparent, nobody thought that the team projected to finish out of the playoffs could possibly be 18-13.

The reason of their successes...teamwork. Not one player on this team thinks that he is better or more important than anyone else. There is the perfect mix of speed, toughness, and desire, with a little bit of talent mixed in.

The root of their humility is their beginnings. None of the players on this team were number one overall picks. None of them were ever in negotiations for mega commercial deals. Hell, none of them have even ever made an all star team. 

Of the 12 players on their active roster, only three of them were selected in the first round of any draft. That number is simply amazing. 

But, all of them have something in common; they want to win. They have no business being in the thick of the highly competitive Western Conference playoff race, but they are there nonetheless. 

To understand the Rockets you have to look at the core players of their team. These guys are some of the smartest players in the league and would be coveted by any team.

Rick "the general" Adelman

This is a man that has coached some of the best teams in NBA history and several NBA championship caliber teams. This has been his best job yet. He has turned a potential terrible situation and made these guys believe in themselves and the ideals of team over the individual. 

Aaron Brooks

The speedy point guard leads the team in scoring and has an uncanny ability to get to the rim at will. He works well with the talented athletes around him and will be a mainstay in Houston for years.

Trevor Ariza

The Ariza/Artest "trade" seems to be working out greatly for the Rockets. He fits nicely in the two spot and seems to be only getting better in his 5th NBA season.

Shane Battier

The "sage" of the group. He is the oldest player on the active roster at 31 and continues to be both a stand up guy and a staunch defender. While his scoring is down, he has been a mentor and a coach on the court for this up and coming team.

Luis Scola

The Argentinean epitomizes the scrappy style of play of the team. He is always willing to get in there for the tough rebound, but also has a nice touch around the basket in addition to the sweet 15-18 footer he knocks down with ease.

Chuck Hayes

He is a 6'6 center. Enough said! But seriously, people telling him he is too short only fuels his desire to prove doubters wrong and consistently outplay and out hustle some the NBA's elite. 

Carl Landry

Few guys would be able to get their teeth literally knocked out one night, and be back soon after grabbing boards and putting back easy buckets. His toughness is contagious and an area that many guys in the NBA can take notes on.

So on that note, sit home Tracy McGrady, this team doesn't really need you.

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