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ESPN Insider - 2007-08 outlook: Who's improved thanks to offseason moves?

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Slick Rick, Jul 18, 2007.

  1. Slick Rick

    Slick Rick Member

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    Author: John Hollinger

    Improvement. That's the name of the game in the offseason, and it comes in all shapes and sizes. Teams can get better in a variety of ways -- through holdover players raising their games, through trimming dead wood from the previous season's roster, or by adding talent through the draft, trades or free agency. And sometimes, it doesn't even take any of that -- it just takes a different general on the sidelines pulling it all together.

    But one thing remains constant: Standing pat is a formula for failure. In a business in which careers tend to be brief, it's imperative to constantly bring in new blood. Just ask the Miami Heat, who were so giddy about winning a championship in 2006 that they brought back the same roster last season -- and watched their aging crew fail to win a single playoff game in one of the weaker title defenses in league history.

    Fortunately, half of the league's teams have made additions to their rosters that should prove quite helpful in the coming season, and that's the group I'll be discussing today. While not all of these moves were in the teams' best long-term interests ($24 million for Jason Kapono!?!?!?), what I want to do today is focus on how those maneuvers affect each team for this coming season in particular.

    And if we're only looking at the upcoming season, even a fairly reckless move can have positive short-term effects.

    With that as the background, here's a midsummer update showing the teams that have made themselves more formidable than they were a year ago and why:

    (Major additions and subtractions are given in parentheses)

    1. Houston Rockets
    (added 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 could very well be the last team standing in that conference in 2008.

    Start with the decision to replace Van Gundy with Adelman -- a change in direction that will likely 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.

    In the big picture, the Rockets aggressively addressed their three main problems: stagant offense, point guard and power forward. Between the coaching change, the additions of James 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. At this point in the offseason, nobody has upgraded more than this club.
     
  2. jump shooter

    jump shooter Contributing Member

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  3. texanskan

    texanskan Contributing Member

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    Morey for executive of the year :D
     
  4. envus22

    envus22 Contributing Member

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    i am not normally a hollinger follower, but he may have just gotten on my good side with this non-biased 3rd person view to the rox!

    our additions outweigh our subtractions equals = guaranteed 50+ win season

    W.Conf heavyhitters:
    San Antonio, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, Utah

    6-8 spots:
    Golden State, Denver, LA x 2, New Orleans

    outside looking in:
    Memphis, Sacramento, Minnesota, Portland, Seattle
     
  5. Plowman

    Plowman Contributing Member

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    gotta love it!
     
  6. suxx0011

    suxx0011 Member

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    Yeah! Can't wait for the season to get started ... We will be the last one standing in the West!
     
  7. wreck

    wreck Contributing Member

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    And this team can only get better when you have a lot of guards to trade. I mean you cant really make a bad move now, anything you add is just a bonus.

    Good to get recognition.
     
  8. rocketsmetalspd

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    Morey had done one hell of job. I can't believe how much of turn over had taken place. Now the Chemistry issue will come to play and I hope it does not take very long for the whole team to jell.
     
  9. meh

    meh Contributing Member

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    I remember Hollinger predicting on draft night that Aaron Brooks would be one of the biggest bust of the draft. I'm curious as to how feels now.
     
  10. DaDakota

    DaDakota Contributing Member
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    Hollinger nailed it. We upgraded all over.

    1. Better coach
    2. Better PG
    3. Better PF
    4. Better depth

    WOWZA !!

    DD
     
  11. thegary

    thegary Contributing Member
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    link?

    oops, didn't see that it was from ESPN Insider
     
    #11 thegary, Jul 18, 2007
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2007
  12. bejezuz

    bejezuz Contributing Member

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  13. AroundTheWorld

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    And I hope we are not done yet.
     
  14. boomboom

    boomboom Contributing Member

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    What he said!
     
  15. xishi

    xishi Member

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    good article. i hope we're not either. damn im excited.
     
  16. The Hungarian Rocket

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    Ok, so we have some respect. (but we have too many players, too ;) )
     
  17. The_Yoyo

    The_Yoyo Contributing Member

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    can someone with insider paste the whole article? thanks
     
  18. krosfyah

    krosfyah Contributing Member

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    Have some mildly inside info that we MIGHT make one more move this summer.

    Our roster is pretty well set. We've gotta see how this unit gels in training camp.
     
  19. Fegwu

    Fegwu Contributing Member

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    I cannot wait for this coming season. I have not been this excited since we land TMAC.

    And you know what? We have not even finished tweaking our roster. It could indeed get better, if you can imagine that.

    No more bullying by the Suns, Dallas and Utah. We already have San Antone under control and subjection.

    It is well indeed.
     
  20. Navman

    Navman Member

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    It's better if most of our activity takes place before training camp. I would hope that any more moves are made before October because it takes time to indoctrinate somebody to playbook and its no good if it happens midseason. However, seeing as how most of our NEEDS have been met, it may not hurt so badly for a midseason acquisition to provide little until the playoffs.
     
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