Hey! Craig responded to some constructive criticism this week and re-formatted his website using Windows FrontPage 98 so that you can actually read his old columns. Sorry about that.

Now that Dwight Howard is maybe probably going to sign with the Rockets, you, like most sensible people, have probably already decided that since Houston is going to go 82-0 and 16-0 next year, the NBA will be boring and pointless to watch so we should all just not pay attention to it. Maybe you only believe part of that. Anyway, no matter what you think, the fact that you think at all separates you from Craig Schaller. Let's dive in, shall we?

SUPERMAN ROCKETING INTO HOUSTON IS NO GUARANTEE OF SUCCESS

I read with amusement all the articles and talk about the Houston Rockets being favored to win the NBA's Western conference, now that Dwight Howard is there, or will be soon if you believe his twitter feed.

You know, an ordinary columnist who is purporting to take a contrary position should really consider identifying who exactly he's arguing against. I suppose that Craig would take a contrary position to that, though, and suggest that he scoffs at articles suggesting that setting up a straw man is a really stupid way to make a point.

Advertisement

Also, for someone who's supposedly going blind, Craig does a really great job of reading talk. I won't quite call Craig's writing style "inimitable", but I will if one discounts any comparison to grade-school students.

NBA titles are not won in July. Sometimes, it only seems that they are. This is one of those times.

OH GOD WHAT DOES THIS EVEN MEAN HONESTLY PLEASE I HAVE NO IDEA

Also, apparently being favored to win the West now means that you're guaranteed an NBA title? QUICK SOMEONE CALL TIM DUNCAN BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE

The overreaction of Howard deciding to take his talents to Houston has been swift and decisive. It seems that everyone—fans, experts, even Barack Obama (who loves to weigh in on every sports topic like a wannabe sports talk show host) think the Rockets are now the favorites out west.

I know, man, wannabe sports talk show hosts are juuuuuust the worst. Look, this is the first time I've actually done any research for these posts, and I found no mention whatsoever of the President opining that the Rockets are going to make the Finals next year. Guess he's buried that alongside that Kenyan birth certificate, huh, Craig?

I don't see it that way, at least yet.

I'm starting to get the hang of the Craig Schaller modas operandi.

Step 1: State stupid argument that nobody could possibly maintain.

Step 2: Be sure to phrase said argument as clumsily as possible.

Step 3: [record scratch] Take - get this - the OPPOSITE position.

Step 4: While taking the opposite position, awkwardly hedge your bets that maybe the stupid position is the right one after all, just in case.

Step 5: Mock Koreans.

Step 6: Get fired.

The Rockets are a nice team, don't get me wrong. They have a nice blend of size, perimeter shpoters and of course James Harden, who has become one the NBA's best in his first opportunity to be a team's franchise player. I just don't see "automatic title" when I look at their roster.

I'll overlook the obvious lack of editing in this paragraph, because it's really the least of Craig's concerns. The bigger problem is that Craig actually thinks that anything he's said to this point is coherent. "Well, the team hasn't completely set their roster yet, and, you know, the season doesn't start for three and a half months, and it'll be about 50 weeks until a champion is crowned, but dang it, it just pains me to say that the NBA hasn't engraved their name on the trophy yet!"

In other words, Craig is every guy who's ever called into sports radio.

They are trying to improve it though, so by the time all is said and done, who knows. As of now though, Howard's arrival makes them a competitor for the Western conference crown, but by no means, the favorite.

"Hell, I dunno what I'm talking about. Anything can happen in this crazy world." Why are you writing the column then, Craig? WHY ARE YOU WRITING THE COLUMN?

There are a number of reasons I say that.

Oh, goody! Rational discourse, maybe? Let's go through this number of reasons.

First of all, there is recent history. Look at last year, when the Lakers acquired Howard and Steve Nash to team up with Kobe. Fans, experts and Obama all said the Lakers couldn't lose.

I wonder of Craig is a "NObama" or an "Obummer" guy. Even though the statistics would prove otherwise and I have no data to explain myself, I think the answer is unquestionably "Obummer". But by the time all is said and done, who knows.

The L.A. city council had an emergency meeting to plan the victory parade route. Kobe Bryant was seen in jewelry shops getting his pinkie finger measured. "How could anyone beat the Lakers in the conference?", everyone said.

EVERYONE said it. I saw it worked into wedding vows. It was part of that Kenyan's election platform. WHAT WENT WRONG?

Well, we all know how that worked out now, don't we? Injuries and chemistry issues led to a disappointing season in tinseltown, and the Lakers were one-and-done in the playoffs. There weren't enough balls to go around, and Howard couldn't integrate himself into the offensive scheme.

Every player who does not win an NBA title should retire once they're eliminated, in Craig's world.

In Houston, you have a similar situation. Harden is a Kobe-clone. He has never met a shot he didn't like, likes to dribble-drive and Howard may just get in his way. Jeremy Lin is a similar player to Steve Nash. A poor man's, younger version of Nash. Chandler Parsons=Metta World Peace, and so on.

Now, look, I'm no basketball expert. My city lost its team after six seasons and a total of 18 wins. Still, if you're going to describe a player as a younger version of a now 61-year-old two-time MVP, isn't that a good thing? I'll assume the "poor man's" comment was just a shot at Lin because he's Asian.

The supporting casts are interchangeable. Now, the Rockets play a different offense than the Lakers, being more isolation oriented than the Lakers triangle, but I still see potential problems with chemistry.

By "the supporting casts are interchangeable" it appears Craig means that the players all play the same positions as one another, and have all four limbs attached.

Secondly, Howard can't make free throws. After shooting a still pretty gnarley 59.2 percent over his first seven years in the league, he has gotten worse the last two years—49.1 and 49.2 the last two years. When yor best player goes to the line A LOT and has a 50-50 chance of making them, it is not good for your team, eespecially at crunch time. You can't afford to pull your best rebounder and interior defender off the floor in the closing minutes and expect to be a great team!

Oh, right! Craig said he had a number of points! Well, I guess the number is two.

Bottom line is Dwight Howard is not a guy you want on your team if you want to win it all. He couldn't do it in Orlando, where he was the main big man in a system of perimeter shooters. He couldn't do it in L.A. in a triangle based system with two other great players. I don't think he is going to do it in Houston in an isolation/motion system either. I heard a rumor that Howard could be going to my Bulls for Joaguim Noah in a"sign and trade". I wouldn't want him. I think Noah brings more to the table. As for Houston though, it is early in free agency, and more moves can be made though.

CRAIG YOU KNOW YOU CAN'T TRUST ANY RUMORS ABOUT THE BULLS THEY ALL COME FROM THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION

With Howard in Houston, Omar Asik suddenly becomes expendable. The Rockets and Pelicans are reportedly discussing an Osik for Ryan Anderson swap. Anderson is a true stretch four, who averaged 16.2 ppg and 6.4 rpg last year, and would fit in well. The Rockets had also discussed a sign and trade deal to bring Josh Smith from the ATL, but Yahoo sports reports that Smith is on his way to Detroit for a new four year deal.

This is a rather unremarkable paragraph; one that would ordinarily serve as "filler" in a well-written column - bridging the gap between the main point of the paragraph and the conclusion, while providing some degree of factual content. In Craig's case, however, it stands out both because it doesn't contain anything blatantly idiotic and because he only spells one player's name wrong.

If Smith didn't work out and the Anderson deal falls through as well, there is also Paul Millsap from Utah on the market. If not Millsap, a cheaper alternative could be Carl Landry or J.J. Hickson. Still, none of them say "automatic title" to me. I still think Oklahoma City, with Durant and Westbrook, are a stronger combination, especially if they can bring in or develop a third scoring option.

Craig puts a lot of stock in this concept of the "automatic title". Craig wears his gray, Cheeto-dust-stained, New England Patriots Super Bowl XLII Champions sweater with pride.

Any way you slice the Howard thing though, even if it might not make champions out of the Rockets, it sure is a heckuva punch to the gut of the Lakers.

"Well, I've just spent the entire column saying that Dwight Howard is a worthless sack of crap who couldn't lead a group of hungry badgers to a nearby stock of sweet, sweet, badger-nectar. Man, it must suck to lose a player of his quality."

So, to summarize Craig's ramblings:

Everyone but me is guaranteeing that Houston will win the West. You can’t know what will happen before the season starts. Here’s why I know what will happen before the season starts. Everything will happen exactly as it did last year, because that’s how things work. Dwight Howard is a useless waste of human flesh. God, LA will miss him. At least he's not Korean.