Rafael Stone Rumors
He prides himself on being a person who doesn’t quit on any possession. At 230 pounds, he aptly guards positions 1 through 5; he’s heavy enough to lock up bigger players and agile enough to stay in front of smaller ones. “Defensively, we feel comfortable with him guarding everyone,” says Rockets general manager Rafael Stone. “He’s very multidimensional. He has post skills that are unusual and he’s a good passer,” Stone says. “He handles the ball so well that he plays with his head up, which is unusual in a wing or a big guy. He makes life easier for his teammates.”
In an interview with Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle, Fertitta endorsed the longer-term rebuild seemingly put in place by general manager Rafael Stone. Among his comments: “It’s really, really hard because I am competitive, and I hate to lose. But my people, including Tad (Brown) and (Rafael Stone) and even my son Patrick, just (say) the biggest mistake you can make right now is use all these picks to be a .500 club, because you’re never able to be a championship caliber club. But I hate losing so much I’m totally staying out of it, because I’m scared that I can make the wrong decisions. I want to win today. I just have to (stay out of it) because they’re right and they just gave me examples and examples.”
Stone has identified Kevin Porter Jr., Christian Wood, Jae’Sean Tate and KJ Martin as Houston’s “young core” for developmental purposes. In Fertitta’s interview, he indicated he understands that perspective. “You’ve got to remember on Kevin Porter, he’s 20 years old. None of your superstars are great at 20. Go back and look at James Harden at 20.” … “Are we going to be a championship team next year? No, we are not, OK? And I don’t even know that we’ll challenge for the playoffs next year. This is what they’re telling me. We can’t be stupid. Sometimes you’ve got to bide your time. You have to be patient, and you have to make good decisions.”
On Wednesday, SportsTalk 790 host Sean Salisbury asked Stone if he was offended by talk of “tanking” — i.e. intentionally losing games to boost the team’s odds of getting a high pick from the 2021 draft lottery. Stone replied: I don’t know if I get offended, but it’s not what we are doing. There definitely are teams doing it, it’s just not what we are doing. We just took absolutely catastrophic injuries this year. That’s what happened. So, our record is what it is. I do think there are teams that are trying very hard not to win games, that are perfectly healthy. Different teams are choosing to do different things for different reasons.
Tim MacMahon: Rockets GM Rafael Stone: “Stephen [Silas] has been exactly who we thought he’d be. He’s been great.” Adds that the Rockets have been thrown challenges they didn’t foresee when Silas was hired.