Rockets fans, don’t expect to see much Yao Ming action next season. Houston’s vice president and athletic trainer Keith Jones has announced that the team will be limiting Yao’s play to just 24 minutes a game next season.
The plan has been developed in an attempt to limit stress on his bones, according to the statement. He will even be required to sit during the final minutes of some games if he has passed the mark. After missing all of last season and several parts of the last five, Houston fans should start seeing more Brad Miller and Chuck Hayes on the floor (add up both of their contracts and it’s not even half of what Yao is getting paid).
Yao’s fewest minutes per game came his rookie season when he only appeared in 29 minutes per night. This could be a sign of change in Houston with the development of a team that really has no use for an injury-prone big man. Bringing in such scorers as Courtney Lee and Kevin Martin could lead to a team that could run a lot more. However, the front court is weak with only Luis Scola and Jared Jeffries at the power forward position.
Teams have gotten a lot smaller and proven that it is a setup that can win but most of all this decision shows that the team may be realizing what a waste of time it was to bring in Yao. The center has only contributed to one playoff series win in his career and has seen way too many injuries to make up for how much this team did to bring him over from China.
It’s starting to look like the Yao experiment is going to have a negative conclusion. He has a heavy contract, a team would have to rework their offense around him and you never know what you are really going to be paying for. All of this makes him extremely untradeable. Houston, it looks like you have a problem and it’s probably going to stay that way for 24 minutes a game.