Tuesday , Dec , 11 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Yao Ming Emerging As Superstar With Criticism Of Houston Rockets

The Houston Chronicle reports on Yao Ming criticizing the Rockets for a second consecutive game:

"When you are soft yourself, everything will feel tough," Yao said. "It’s not because they are so tough. It’s because of how soft we are.

"It’s weird that we changed that quick. I never had that feeling. I feel like they traded me to another team, a new team I’ve never been on before."

My Quick Take: He’s finally arrived. In a weird way, Yao’s comments show his growth from second-fiddle star to franchise stud.

When he first arrived in 2002, the center was hesitant to assert his will on and off-court. This reluctance would be natural for a regular rookie, but not a highly-touted first overall pick.

His play improved over the years, but Yao still deferred the superstar mantle to teammates Steve Francis and then Tracy McGrady.

Not anymore. After a pair of losses against Toronto and Philadelphia, Yao publicly called-out his team, questioning their energy and toughness.

Move over ‘T-Mac’. Make room for Yao.

Unlike most elite players who bitch to reporters for show, Yao’s comments had merit. Against Toronto, Houston relinquished a double-digit half-time lead and never recovered. And there’s no way the Rockets should lose to the lowly Sixers. Best of all, Yao included himself when knocking the team’s recent play.

Another issue is likely lurking under the surface. Right now, Houston prefers to fire away from the perimeter instead of pounding the ball down-low.

Jump-shooting teams typically flounder. Yao recognizes this point and wants the offense reversed to an inside-outside system.

Either way, the Rockets new superstar is prepared to speak publicly. So something positive has come from their recent struggles.

What do you think of Yao’s comments? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts.

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