Scottie Pippen made an interesting remark when talking about the Houston Rockets and the pressure to win championships. Does it hold any truth?
After the Houston Rockets lost to the Golden State Warriors yet again in the NBA postseason, it was the talk of the major sports shows for quite a few days as expected. The same narratives kept resurfacing such as “Is James Harden a playoff choker?” and “Is Mike D’Antoni a playoff failure?”
In this series, you could not blame James Harden that much. However, D’Antoni’s criticism is valid as he made poor adjustments and questionable decisions in this series.
As you can see, he claims there is “not a lot of pressure to win championships in Houston.”
With all due respect Mr. Pippen, when you came to the Houston Rockets you weren’t close to the player you once were and you were only here for one season because of it. The year before you came to the Rockets you averaged 19.1 points a game with the Bulls and with the Rockets you averaged 14.5 points off 40.2 minutes played per game.
On the contrary Mr. Pippen — there was pressure on you, Hakeem Olajuwon and Charles Barkley to win a championship here in Houston. It was failed attempt to send you bolting for the Portland TrailBlazers the following season.
As a matter of fact, the Houston Rockets have been the only team in the NBA that didn’t just roll over for the Warriors. Daryl Morey is constantly attempting to figure out ways to dethrone this team’s current nemesis. Although they fell short twice these past two season, they gave them a run for their money in both series.
Here is a tweet from Jason Braddock to support my statement:
Take a look at that list. The Cleveland Cavaliers had LeBron James who some may argue is the
greatest player of all-time. The New Orleans Pelicans have Anthony Davis, the Blazers have Damian Lillard, the Utah Jazz have a young stud in Donovan Mitchell and the San Antonio Spurs have the greatest coach of all time in Gregg Popovich. In addition, they had a former NBA Finals MVP in Kawhi Leonard who is now with the Toronto Raptors, living his best life.
Aside from the Houston Rockets, the Los Angeles Clippers (2-4) — an aggressive and fun team to watch — had the next best record. The remaining opponents had an astonishing 5-34 record against the Warriors over the three-season span Durant has been in Golden State.
Pippen also hasn’t been in H-Town in two decades so he’s absolutely tone-deaf to what’s going on
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in Houston at this moment. Since the Astros started winning games, the pressure has been on the two other major sports teams in the city to be successful.
In terms of popularity in the city, I think the Astros lead the Houston Rockets and Texans because they win games and have been legit championship contenders for the past few years. Also, the Astros are extremely likable and some people in the city are turned off by Harden’s style of play, which can be an acquired taste.
I’d also like to add this — if he wants to attack the Houston Rockets organization for having no pressure, why doesn’t he also go after the Chicago Bulls organization? Since Michael Jordan and Pippen were there, they’ve been a dysfunctional mess from top to bottom and there really isn’t any pressure to win anything there.
The Houston Rockets organization compared to the Bulls’ organization is like comparing Whataburger to In-N-Out, one is clearly better than the other.
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So ultimately Mr. Pippen, you’re wrong and the expectations plus pressure will continue to mount on any other Houston team outside of the Astros, who have set a terrific example of how a championship franchise should be run.
I rest my case.