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June 19, 2024 8 mins
Michael Shapiro, sports reporter for Chron, joins Next Up to preview the Houston Rockets having the No. 3 overall pick in the NBA Draft, which begins Wednesday, June 26. The Rockets have Ime Udoka, who "really is the perfect coach for this team," and a young core, so the organization is "kind of shopping that pick," Shapiro said. However, if the Rockets decide to keep the pick, they "need to find some expert shooting," and Reed Sheppard from the University of Kentucky has "elite shooting." Shapiro also discusses his latest project that celebrates the 30th anniversary of the 1994 Rockets team that defeated the New York Knicks in game seven to win the organization's first NBA championship. 
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Episode Transcript

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(00:00):
Let's go to the phone lines.Now making his maiden voyage here on Next
up, Michael Shapirocron dot com,also Sports Illustrated, previously joining us talk
about a piece he's got out onCron dot com, a series chronicling the
ninety four championship team for the Rockets, as we saw the NBA season come
to conclusion night before last as theCeltics hoist their eighteenth bantam Michael, good

(00:25):
morning, how you feel. I'mdoing well. Thanks for having me on.
I appreciate it all right for sure. So walk us through today is
I don't know if it is outas of this moment, but there's what
a five part series detailing the runto the finals back in ninety three ninety
four. What can you tell usabout what you guys have rolled out there
at chron dot com. Yeah,for sure. Today we are rolling out

(00:49):
our fifth and final installment of ourseries on the ninety four Rockets. Tonight's
article is titled two Nights at theSummit when olajwas Rockets became champions. Basically,
I talked to you juqum Uajuan,Rudy, Tom Joonovich, Robert Dory
and many of the principles involved inthe ninety four run. This story specifically
focuses on Game six and Game sevenat the summit, the Rockets scene that
followed, and everything that led upto that. So it's been great talking

(01:11):
with these old Rockets, getting toknow them, getting to know their story
and real intimate detail. And youcan find all five pieces of the series
on cron dot com. Yeah,what's so fun about it, Michael too?
Is I mean, it's it's thefirst real, you know, at
least a championship in the city ofHouston that that people, you know,
that people can remember and still it'sfresh in our minds. Crazy to think

(01:32):
that, you know, it's beenthirty years. But it's so funny too
when when I talk to people aboutlooking back on those years, so much
has brought up about old Jordan wasout, Jordan was out? How much
did did did that come up atall of the conversation with those guys in
the conversation about the Rockets winning thatninety four title. Yeah, you know,
it's so interesting because that's something thatI kim to Wag and I spoke

(01:53):
to him over a nice long zomchat. He actually brought that up kind
of unprompted to me, and Ihave a quote here in the story today
from himmy even when Chicago was winningchampionships and we had a more average team,
we were beating Chicago. He followsthat he gave us all the respects,
and that's what's important to me.Oajun kind of says that Jordan,
even without explicitly saying it, doesnote that the Rockets in the nineties were

(02:15):
a tough matchup for him, doesn'tact like he would have coasted to eight
straight rings. So I don't thinkthat Michael Jordan would say, Okay,
we definitely would have lost the hookteam in the Rockets. But does seem
much a situation where these titles arenot simply because Jordan vacated the league talk
with Michael shapirocron dot Com got thefinal installment of a five p series chronicling

(02:35):
the ninety four championship team for theRockets here in Houston. When I think
about those Rockets, and yes I'veheard the Jordan conversation as well, I
think about just how that team wasput together, and I'm trying to segue,
and it's kind of a two partquestion into the current state of things.
Over at Toyota Center. But Ithink about like, everybody own their

(02:57):
role, right, Matt, Jed, obviously, King Dregs, all the
requisite pieces. Did they speak tothe camaraderie and Rudy's leadership and allowing guys
to do their thing, the makeupof that team, and then spill that
over into what you're seeing over theretoday. Yeah, I mean, first
off, I think that's something thatwas definitely discussed time and again. Just

(03:19):
the time and hours that these guysand the years they put in together as
a group. Remember, Rudy wasan assistant in Houston before becoming the head
guy. The team had to goa decade before winning the title. A
lot of these pieces were here formultiple years. So it's a thing where
you build those scars over time tobecome a champion. And I think that's
something with the current Rockets core,that's something that we're looking to do.

(03:39):
Right. They have a core sixplayers right now that are guys that hopefully
will take incremental steps that I'm notsaying that they'll quinch a championship like these
current Celtics or anything like that.What the Rockets have done is established six
pretty impressive young players They're going toprobably add to that and try to grow
incrementally into champions, which is somethingI think is kind of refreshing, so
to speak. So this is thethis is the fifth and last and sol

(04:02):
him in the series coming out today, and like you said, focusing on
the sixth and in game seven ofthe Summit at the Summit, rather are
you gonna do one on the ninetyfive series as well? You know,
I have been thinking I probably willhave to write about ninety five next year,
and I think specifically I kind ofwant to write about a team versus
David Robinson. Right, David Robinsontakes the MVP, but Hakeem absolutely destroys

(04:27):
him in the playoffs. I thinkI might have to try to call in
another favor of the Rockets and speakabout ninety five as well, given it
was back to back rings exactly right. So I made the comment yesterday that,
coming off of Emi Udoka watching I'mgonna air quote his Celtics win the
title the other night in game five, hopefully that puts even more motivation as

(04:47):
fuel to the fire in his bellyand he could gets even more hyper focused
on trying to get this young rosterdeveloped and get him to the postseason.
Anything that Rudy t spoke of interms of the psychology of this thing,
the motivations. Did he have toput foot to butt? Am I saying
that right? Yeah, foot andto butt of that team? Or was

(05:09):
he able to just let veterans godo their thing. I can't remember the
exact ages of all those guys andhow many years of service they had in
the league at the time, buthis overall coaching style and thought process from
a psychological standpoint and motivating that team, Yeah, I think Rudy is definitely
a guy that can passify as aplayer's coach. Although I think Matt Boeller
told me he wasn't afraid to curseor get horse, I kind of want

(05:31):
to take it back to the Emaything. I think that Udoka really is
the perfect coach for this young group. I think it's something I touched on
cron dot com time and again lastyear. The transition from Steven Silas all
do you respected him? To EmyUdoka was massive. I think is really
a pretty top flight coach in thisleague, both in terms of stematics but
also player development, growing these guysinto men, making them mature NBA players,

(05:54):
So I think for the Rockets,the roster itself is something I still
think you can perhaps nitpick have questionsabout. I think a coach is one
hundred percent the right guy in placein my estimation. Talk to Michael Shapiro
of kron dot com and again gocheck out his piece on the Rockets in
the ninety four title run. Incredible, you know, memories for Houston fans.

(06:14):
My goal week from tonight. TheRockets will be drafting third overall pick
in the NBA draft to doing alittle bit different this year. They're moving.
First round will be Wednesday, secondround will be Thursday. Everything we
read, I mean it sounds likethey may end up sticking with the pick
and taking the pick because we say, oh, it's a bad draft,
so trade back. Well, theother thing is nobody wants to trade up
because it's a bad draft. Sokeep seeing mock drafts taking Reed Shepherd from

(06:36):
Kentucky number three. A lot ofpeople are in that bandwagon. Where are
you and what the Rockets should dowith the number three pick. I think
it's kind of a two full situation. I kind of think, you know,
you hear around the league the Rocketsare kind of shopping that pick.
I think I believe that also,though, are you necessarily going to be
able to consummate a deal for aveteran star. I'm still pretty skeptical that

(06:57):
will actually happen. As for stickingand pick me, I'll probably go read
Shepherd. Yeah, I'll have tokind of take the host and sensus here.
The guy is an elite shooter.He's an analytics darling in the Rockets
front office is very analysts friendly.Alprin Shengjun was I think the number two
player on their boards in the twentytwenty one draft, just behind Kate Cunningham.
Reach Shepherd. He can really shootit. He feels the need.
He doesn't necessarily look at the part, but hey, he's an effective player,

(07:20):
and I think the Rockets, ifthey're not going to trade for a
star, need to find some expertshooting, and Shepherd can kind of provide
that out of Kentucky. All right. That is the voice of Michael Shapiro
ofcron dot Com. Also does workfor sid Now find him on social,
won't you. He is at mshap two. That's mshap two on cron

(07:43):
dot com. Fifth piece of theinstallment, excuse me the piece on the
ninety four championship team Houston Rockets getthe first championship for the city. More
of that to come. We willcontinue to monitor what you have to say
about the current Rockets and we'll lookforward that a ninety five edition as well
come up here in about a yearor so. Michael Hey appreciated fellow.
Thanks for man, take care,
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