As of this writing, we are several days removed from the Grizzlies firing of Head Coach David Fizdale, and the reaction around the league's been startling.
Players past and present, and the basketball community in general, have come to the defense of the embattled coach, blaming everything from the front office, to Marc Gasol. Even Chandler Parsons (I'm looking at you Steven Jackson) has caught some flak for the team’s decision to part ways with Fizdale just 19 games into the 2017-18 season, and on the heels of a 43-39 2016-17 which garnered a playoff berth.
Some see this as a necessary move considering the circumstances, while others view it as a knee jerk reaction based around a broken relationship involving Gasol.
The real question here is: Which narrative is right? While I can't conclusively answer that, I will attempt to provide my take on the situation and, to some degree, both of those are right. I know that is not a conclusive answer, but it is the correct one.
By: Shawn Davis
Even in its infancy, the 2017-18 NBA season is already bringing up questions. This week is Thanksgiving and fans are already overreacting, positively and negatively.
What’s wrong in Cleveland? (Nothing yet) Are the Pistons really this good? (No) Can Boston win the title? (Also no) Are the Knicks headed in the right direction finally?(Fingers crosses) Is Giannis the best player in the game now?(Easy...) But sometimes expectations are met, and things are exactly what they were supposed to be.
One case like that is Houston.
In the off-season the Rockets added future Hall of Famer Chris Paul to a team that won 55 games, finished third in the Western Conference, had James “The Beard” Harden stirring the pot all the way to a First Team All-NBA season, and flamed out in spectacular fashion in the second round at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs.
With the addition of Paul, expectations in Houston are as high as they’ve been since the mid 90’s when Hakeem Olajuwon was dream-shaking his way to the franchise’s only titles in 94 and 95.
Expectations have only been elevated by the team’s 13-4 start this season which was kicked off by defeating the 1992 Dream Team...I mean the defending champion Warriors.
As of this writing, Houston has the same record as Golden State and by their head to head victory, TECHNICALLY own the best record in the Western Conference.
James Harden has come back with a vengeance this year, playing with a chip on his shoulder due to a self-perceived snub for MVP last year (they got the right guy in Russ) Another year in coach Mike D’Antoni’s system, plus the addition of the best PG of the last 15 years or so, and he, and the rest of the team look even more dangerous.
The real question is, what is their ceiling? Can they win it all?
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