Friday, February 27, 2009

Player Report: Ron Artest

Ron Artest has been extremely effective over the past seven games, and it’s due almost entirely to Tracy McGrady being out of the lineup. During this wicked seven-game stretch, Artest has torched opponents to the tune of 19.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists while picking up 1.4 steals and burying 2.8 threes per game while shooting 57% 3pt. and 46.8% overall from the field.

Not convinced after a particularly bad/injured stretch? Well here’s more. Aaron Brooks, the Rockets’ new starting point guard, is almost a clone of Rafer Alston, who was dealt last week to the Orlando Magic. Brooks buries three pointers, drops dimes and plays good defense, all things the Rockets need to move forward come playoff time. In addition, his three-point shooting ability keeps defenders honest – no cheating to the wings, where capable long-range gunners Artest, Shane Battier and Von Wafer reside.

And best of all, Ron-Ron plays excellent defense, which has been Houston’s forte for the past few years. If you didn’t catch Cleveland/Houston last night, you missed a defensive clinic, courtesy of the Rockets. They (Artest) held LeBron James to just 21 points, and blanketed other shooters… the result was James’ first game EVER without an assist, which is saying something – the guy averages 7.3 a game!

You've gotta love the fact, too, that Artest has a ridiculously good shot blocker in Yao Ming under the basket, so he can waste less energy following his man to the rim... simply funneling players toward Ming will suffice.

There’s no end in sight for Artest’s production. As long as he stays healthy and level-headed, he’s a perfect fit for the Rockets.

New Writers Needed!

Last up, we’re looking for a couple of writers to join our staff for the summer and next basketball season. You’ll have the chance to participate in our Draft Guide and provide content for, along with opportunities to work on our weekly radio show and our blog, The Pulse. Please send writing examples and a cover letter to me, Jamaal Gilbert, at Detail your experience in the industry and why you would be a good fit at

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