Sometimes, when you have nothing better to sell the people, all you need is the right gimmick.
For Daryl Morey and the Rockets, after several years frantically pursuing a superstar only to fall short of the mark, this is what it’s come to. He took a chance on wheeling and dealing for draft picks in hopes of snagging Dwight Howard or another big-time player and when that fell through, he did the best thing he could under the circumstances.
He grabbed a gimmick.
On paper, the Rockets don’t look like much, but they will trot Jeremy Lin out This year in a city with one of the largest Chinese populations in the United States, so if nothing else, there will be butts in seats.
Basketball-wise, this team isn’t gonna be anything special, but they’ll do just fine at the box office and get the coaching staff will get a long look at the bevy of first and second year players on their roster while Morey’s continues his quest to find a superstar. Call it making the best of a bad situation or capitalizing of the “Linsanity” fad or whatever, but they definitely could have done worse.
Of all the gimmick Rap records that have come out over the years, and there are a whole shitload of them, I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for “BanGin’ On Wax”. Gangster rap still was running shit in 1993, even if it on the wane a bit. Everywhere you looked there were jheri-curls and dickies , a whole truckload of would-be Ice Cube’s and poor imitations of Dr. Dre’s production style releasing half-assed ganbangin’ records that were hardly distinguishable from the others, even if they still managed to sell.
What a fucking great idea then, what a logical conclusion to the whole “let’s pretend to be gangsters on record and get paid!” phenomenon to put out an album of honest to goodness Crips and Bloods, putting their crimes to wax.
Fuck yeah this really happened. Don’t act surprised, it’s the record business. They’d put out a record by a rapping poop if they thought it would get over.
I mean, if some fake tough-guy from the suburbs could go platinum spitting fiction, how crazy large is this gonna be? Real G’s! Real guns! Real jail stories!
And the cover. The Cover.
There ain’t a better one in Hip-hop. I’m tellin’ you.
Hey, I understand the need for identity protection. The Freddy mask? Yeah, dawg. Love it.
It’s the rag, though. The Crip dude lighting the Blood rag on fire as the picture is being snapped, and right under the nose of the Bloods. Did they know? Were they complicit? Was it a double-cross? It kills me to not know the answers.
Alright, I got off track. Bloods & Crips “Bangin’ on Wax” was about as blatantly gimmicky as a record could be, offered the music world nothing redeemable whatsoever (ok, I lied here. It gave the world Domino) and is only remembered by people as strange as I am. Still, the fuckin’ thing went gold, selling over 500,000 copies and putting money in the pockets of those fine purveyors of artistic expression at Dangerous Records.
So for the purposes of this argument, consider Jeremy Lin to be Daryll Morey’s Bangin’ on Wax. It ain’t gonna be much of an artistic triumph or win too many games, but it’ll sell like hotcakes and for now, that’s all that really matters.
As for the actual Basketball…
There’s not a whole lot here to love, at least this year. Kevin Martin is the best player by default, and Martin can hardly hide his disdain for the uniform after being offered up in the Pau Gasol trade that fell apart last summer. After Martin, you’ve got Lin, and well, alot of kids. Luis Scola, Kyle Lowry, Goran Dragic, Chase Budinger and Courtney Lee are all gone as a result of Morey’s mad dash to make something crazy happen in the off-season. They did manage to give a massive contract to Omer Asik and stockpile a bunch of prospects that won’t cost them much in payroll, but it’s not as if there’s a potential franchise guy in the bunch. For Houston, it’s back to trying to hunt down a franchise player or any kind of real difference maker, whther by trade or in the next few free-agent classes.
In 2013, it’s gonna be losing time. 30-35 wins sounds about right to me unless something crazy happens. This team is too young and just not talented enough to win on a consistent basis. For now, the city will have to be happy with Jeremy Lin’s arrival and just cross their fingers that Morey can pull off the major move he’s failed to make for years now. This could actually be a fun team to watch, style-wise, but it’s not gonna be good enough to even get a whiff of the playoffs.
For now, this is Houston’s reality. Eh, could be worse.
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