News » Houston Rockets Getting Inside 2009-09-10

Houston Rockets Getting Inside 2009-09-10

Houston Rockets Getting Inside 2009-09-10The Rockets knew their reputation had dramatically changed in the course of the year, and that their assumed prospects and goals would have to change, too.

It became official when the NBA schedules were released.

The Rockets went from television darlings, loaded with name-brand stars and nights in the ESPN and TNT spotlights, to no longer considered worthy for even one national television broadcast.

With Yao Ming, the Rockets could assume the NBA television partners would be in town every few weeks, needing pregame interview time and that mid-court table for the broadcast. Without him, the networks were the first thing to go away.

This is not necessarily a prediction on the part of ESPN/ABC and TNT. Wins do not always equal ratings and the television schedule is determined by ratings. Viewers like celebrity players, and a team to be led by Aaron Brooks, Luis Scola, Trevor Ariza and Shane Battier (at least until Tracy McGrady returns) is lacking in celebrities. (Then again, the Bucks, Nets, Kings and Bobcats, the other teams left off the national television schedules are pretty safe bets to return to the lottery.)

The Rockets, however, did not need to see the schedule to know their prospects have changed.

A year ago, they were celebrated for their potential after the addition of Ron Artest. Yao Ming had shown himself to have recovered from foot surgery with his play in the Olympics. Tracy McGrady's arthroscopic surgery was considered minor.

A year later, Yao is out, McGrady is working his way back from another surgery and the Rockets have exchanged Artest for Ariza in a step that at least suggests rebuilding.

Rather than setting a goal of championship contention, the Rockets are hoping to be good enough to chase a playoff spot.

"I think we're going to have a tall task ahead of us to be a playoff team," Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said. "I think that is the goal for us. The history of teams with no All-Stars making playoffs is pretty limited."

Even more limited is the television schedule of teams with no stars.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: September 10, 2009


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