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[ESPN]: Hollinger's Most Improved (Updated)

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by durvasa, Aug 1, 2007.

  1. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member
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    John Hollinger (ESPN.com) updated his list of most improved in the offseason today.

    He previously had the Rockets #1, and Celtics #6. After the Garnett trade, the Celtics jumped to number #1, and the Rockets slid to #2. He's still very high on the Rockets after the Francis trade, and he suggests that we might now be in the same class as Dallas, Phoenix, and San Antonio.

    He speculates that the Rockets might be looking to add another wing player in exchange for Rafer. With McGrady, Bonzi, Battier, and even Snyder on the roster, I don't think that's necessary. I think he's overly optimistic about Scola and Butler when they've yet to contribute meaningful minutes on a good NBA team. Another big is the final piece we should look to add.


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    1. Boston Celtics (formerly No. 6)
    (added Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett; lost Wally Szczerbiak, Delonte West, Al Jefferson, Ryan Gomes, Sebastian Telfair, Gerald Green and Theo Ratliff).

    There's little doubt which team will see the biggest gain in wins this season. Boston had only 24 victories last season but is likely to double that total with the additions of Garnett and Allen. It will collapse in a heap in three years, but in the meantime it should be a fun ride.

    However, they paid a huge price to get Garnett and have virtually nothing left on the roster outside the Big 3. With our Marc Stein reporting that the C's are looking at minimum contracts from here on out so they can sidestep the tax man, I can't see them adding enough pieces to win the East.

    Here's what I'm wondering today: Would Boston have been better off setting their sights lower, keeping Jefferson, and using the combination of Ratliff's expiring deal and Gerald Green to get a lower-wattage star (say, Philly's Andre Miller or Dallas' Jason Terry, and yes, I'm just throwing names out)? Food for thought as we see Boston try to fill out its roster in the coming weeks.

    2. Houston Rockets (formerly No. 1)
    (added Steve Francis, Mike James, Luis Scola, Jackie Butler and Aaron Brooks; lost Juwan Howard and Vassilis Spanoulis; replaced Jeff Van Gundy with Rick Adelman)

    While you're focusing on the San Antonio-Dallas-Phoenix triumvirate in the West, don't sleep on Houston. The Rockets have quietly put together a roster that very well could be the last team standing in the Western Conference in 2008.

    Start with the decision to replace Van Gundy with Adelman -- a change in direction that likely will make the team more up-tempo and offensive-minded. They'll miss Van Gundy's defensive genius, but given the offensive stagnation this club showed in 2006-07, it's not a bad trade.

    Moreover, hiring Adelman was especially important in this case because it basically adds another player to the roster. Bonzi Wells bristled under Van Gundy after showing up out of shape, and hardly played last season. But he seems excited by being reunited with Adelman, who coached him to a strong campaign in Sacramento two years ago.

    From there, add in two vastly underrated trades. The first one pilfered James from Minnesota for Howard, giving the Rockets a do-over on the disastrous James-for-Rafer Alston trade two years ago. The second nabbed Scola and Butler from San Antonio in return for Spanoulis.

    Scola, a skilled Argentinian who has been one of the best players in Europe for the past half-decade, will make an immediate impact as a starting power forward. Butler, as a young center with strong scoring skills in the post, should energize a second unit that was bereft of offense last season.

    Finally, there's Francis. Admittedly this was a bit more of a dice roll, but the hope is that he can make the transition from Entitled Superstar Wannabe to Winning Veteran Role Player and give the Rockets a backcourt slasher who can break down defenses at the end of the shot clock. His arrival also paves the way for a trade of Rafer Alston, potentially for more help on the wings.

    In the big picture, the Rockets aggressively addressed their three main problems: stagnant offense, point guard and power forward. Between the coaching change, the additions of James, Francis and first-round pick Aaron Brooks at the point, the pickups of Scola and Butler up front, and the de facto addition of Wells, this team suddenly looks loaded. The West's holy trinity of Dallas, Phoenix and San Antonio might have to make room for a fourth power at the table.

    ...

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    #1 durvasa, Aug 1, 2007
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2007
  2. Fuse

    Fuse Member

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    Maggette? :D
     
  3. davidkconover

    davidkconover Member

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    I have been waiting since the Stevie signing for Hollinger to update his Most Improved ratings. He is normally pretty solid and non-biased in his assessments.

    I keep hearing that we are stacked and deep... but we have too many players at the PG/SG spot to be effective.

    I am not an advocate of moving Rafer. I would rather see him start and split minutes with James. That would leave TMac and Stevie manning the two. Wells and Battier at the three. Hayes (who should start with the first unit) and Scola at the four. And Yao with Butler/Deke at the five.

    That is a 10 man rotation and we've left out Brooks, Head (our best shooter), and Snyder (underrated).

    There are not enough minutes to go around for a ten man rotation. Rotations that size are almost never as effective as a tight eight man rotation.

    I have no idea what the solution can be other than to remain stocked and have a lineup that is fluid and is based on performances and matchups.
     
  4. ROCKET!!!

    ROCKET!!! Member

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    Mike Miller
     
  5. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member
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    Haha.

    Rafer + Snyder (or Head) for Maggette actually works.

    If the Clippers are dumb enough to fall for it, why the hell not?
     
  6. davidkconover

    davidkconover Member

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    Ok... but how would Maggette fit into the rotation?

    Stevie/James
    TMac/Maggette
    Wells/Battier
    Hayes/Scola
    Yoa/Deke/Butler

    Same problem dividing up minutes.
     
  7. tracyyao01

    tracyyao01 Member

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    I'd go for Hilton Armstrong or Cedric Simmons.

    It works if you Trade Head and Lucas for either one of them.
     
  8. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member
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    If Wells and Francis flame out, and McGrady misses time because of the back, Maggette could be a season-savior. Assuming we stay relatively healthy, though, another PF/C is the way to go.
     
  9. Chuck 4

    Chuck 4 Member

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    At least he didnt pull a Kiki and declare Boston as good as anyone in the West.
     
  10. WNBA

    WNBA Member

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    Maggette is too good for Rafer. No way Clippers are that stupid.

    I think it is Posey.
     
  11. rserina

    rserina Member

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    While I generally agree that a shorter rotation is better, Adelman has also used 9+ rotations very effectively. The key seems to be shortening the rotation during the playoffs, yet still having enough young talent to fill in during the regular season when injuries and fatigue set in for the older players.

    The other thing to bear in mind is that, for the first time in a couple of seasons, we have some very moveable parts. Head, Snyder, Lucas, and Novak are all young kids with some upside and they all come cheap and with expiring deals. Sura can be bought out at nearly a $3 mil savings, while Wells expires too.

    Now, some of those assets may not be on the team by the season opener (likely Sura and Lucas), but the remainder could be great package material with Alston to get a key veteran defender or shooter during the season.
     
  12. rterry

    rterry Contributing Member

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    I agree with you with one caveat. If they could get a solid PF with Sura, Head, Snyder or other filler. I would do it, because I think Scola and Butler are still unknown. I would want to hold onto Alston as the starter if possible, but I would gamble and trade him for a Haslem type if it became available.

    Another possiblity is that Brooks coming on strong and they make a move with Alston and others at the trade deadline.
     
  13. tracyyao01

    tracyyao01 Member

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    I'd go for Hilton Armstrong or Cedric Simmons.

    It works if you Trade Head and Lucas for either one of them.
     
  14. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    Ron Artest ;)

    Rocket River
    we need someone every scared of
     
  15. spankz141

    spankz141 Member

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    Only if the rockets could trade Rafer for a pick or a contract that can be bought out. Then sign Mike Harris.
     
  16. tracyyao01

    tracyyao01 Member

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    do my posts not matter or something? :confused:
     
  17. Jeff

    Jeff Clutch Crew

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    I thought the same thing about Boston. They have three great players and...what exactly? If anyone gets injured, they could be in serious trouble. Their big three will dominate, but they need more than that.
     
  18. MR. MEOWGI

    MR. MEOWGI Contributing Member

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    I'd go for Hilton Armstrong or Cedric Simmons.

    It works if you Trade Head and Lucas for either one of them.
     
  19. Pass 1st shoot 2nd

    Pass 1st shoot 2nd Contributing Member

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    Think about posting on this BBS a little bit like giving presents: it is better to give (contribute a comment) than to receive (exaltation or praise for your contribution). In other words, never post around here with the expectation that somebody will be overwhelmed by your suggestion or feel compelled to discuss it with you.

    Frankly, your suggestion that we trade Rafer Alston or Luther Head for Hilton Armstrong or Cedric Simmons doesn't excite me, and somebody else who feels the same way may not feel like debating either (or both) of those trades with you (no offense, but I certainly don't want to do that).

    Your rookies status may have contributed to the sound of crickets rubbing their legs that is ringing in your ear. I'm not saying that your tenure on this BBS means that you lack insight or anything; it's just that it takes a while for people to get used to the new kid on the block.
     
  20. blathersby

    blathersby Contributing Member

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    While I agree with you on that one, the Clippers are also desperate. And we have Rafer Alston, JL3, Kirk Snyder, and Steve Novak to offer.

    And don't forget who owns them. That smell of money from BOB SURA might be more than he can stand.
     
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