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"The Missing Piece the Rockets Need to Help James Harden" -TJarks

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Lurch, May 12, 2019.

  1. Lurch

    Lurch Live Wilder.
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  2. rocketsballin

    rocketsballin Member

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    is it me? i'll sign for cheap.
     
  3. astrosrule

    astrosrule Member

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    If we are not a contender? Who is? Nobody is beating the warriors. Nobody else has even been competitive.
     
  4. napalm06

    napalm06 Fire Bill O'Brien
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    I think the idea of this article is spot on and something a segment of us have been frustrated with each offseason for the past couple of years. Rather than sitting here and bashing D'Antoni, Harden, Paul, and everyone else (which is cathartic) the most pragmatic thing we can do is figure out how to fix the front court.

    Capela is fine for his role as a fast-break gazelle, but in addition to a vertical threat you need a stabilizer. A 6'9-6'11 guy who isn't a liability at the rim on both sides of the ball and can be counted on to make the small fundamental rebound and shot altering plays, and has at least enough post game that he doesn't just throw the ball over the rim when a dunk isn't available. Hartenstein is a potential long-term solution, assuming he can even solve his quickness problems.

    Guards of Austin Rivers' caliber are a dime a dozen in the league by comparison to reliable bigs. The main priority this offseason has to be front court guys around 6'10. The Rockets don't even need a Jokic. They just need a Derrick Favors or even a Kevin Looney caliber guy at worst. Nene playing 5 minutes a game isn't going to cut it.
     
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  5. rockets1995

    rockets1995 Member

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    Every time I see Clint Capela vs Draymond Green, I think about Aaron Gordon, the Rockets need to get Aaron Gordon.
     
  6. xiki

    xiki Contributing Member

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  7. treyk3

    treyk3 Contributing Member

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    There is not another Draymond in the league.

    He is one of kind and we aren't going to find a comparable player.

    Closest players to him are Ben Simmons and LeBron. Can't see either of those guys walking through the door.
     
  8. dmoneybangbang

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    I think it'll be easier to upgrade the wing/combo forward than find a replacement for Capela, who will have to match up well against all 29 other teams and not just the 28 teams Capela fares well at.
     
  9. dmoneybangbang

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    This. I think too many folks are selling the GSW short, especially the Donkey Man himself.
     
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  10. Os Trigonum

    Os Trigonum It. Deserves. Its. Own. Thread.
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    good response to some of the complaints from MDA haters:

    "Houston is a guard-oriented team. Everything goes through either Harden or Chris Paul, who take turns running the offense. The goal is to get them isolated in space against bigger and slower defenders. There isn’t much ball movement, and everyone else in their rotation has a rigidly defined role. Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni has been criticized for not having more variety in his offense, but he doesn’t have much choice. The only other players through which he can run offense are 6-foot-3 combo guards (Eric Gordon and Austin Rivers). Everyone else is either a spot-up shooter (P.J. Tucker, Iman Shumpert, Danuel House Jr., and Gerald Green) or a rim-running big man (Clint Capela). It’s not like D’Antoni can build his offense around Nene at this stage in his career. There’s just no point in running plays for Tucker or Capela to make decisions."​
     
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  11. JayGoogle

    JayGoogle Member

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    "They have no one taller than Harden (6-foot-5) who can create his own shot..."

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Clips/Roxfan

    Clips/Roxfan Member
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    The Missing Piece the Rockets Need to Help James Harden
    Another year, another playoff loss to the Warriors. But Houston can make another run at the title next season if it targets the type of player every recent championship team has had.
    By Jonathan Tjarks May 11, 2019, 2:48pm PDT

    [​IMG]

    In a cryptic press conference on Friday following his fourth playoff loss to the Warriors in five seasons, James Harden said he knew exactly what the Rockets needed to get over the hump, but wouldn’t say what. It may not have been empty words, because there is a glaring hole in their roster: They have no one taller than Harden (6-foot-5) who can create his own shot, or shots for his teammates.

    Instead of pairing Harden with a playmaking and scoring 4, D’Antoni turned his superstar into one by playing so many smaller guards around him. The difference between this version of the Rockets and last season is that they added offensive versatility in their supporting cast (Rivers and House) at the expense of length and athleticism (Trevor Ariza and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute). The Rockets’ problem, especially in comparison to the Warriors, is that they have never had players who combine both. They have no one comparable to Andre Iguodala or Klay Thompson, much less Draymond or Durant. None of their other shot creators are natural pick-and-roll partners for a star guard. Golden State can switch a screen between Harden and Gordon, Paul, or Rivers, and keep similar-sized defenders on both players. They don’t have to worry about any of those three attacking Harden’s defender on a switch. He is always the one who has to create the mismatch, which wears him down during a series. My guess is the primary cause of Harden’s history of fading in the playoffs is his overwhelming offensive responsibility, not any flaw in his character or his game.

    Harden doesn’t play with anyone who makes his life easier in the way Draymond and Durant do for Steph Curry. The play that sealed Game 6 for Golden State (a Thompson 3 with 36 seconds left in the fourth quarter) summed up the difference between the two teams. Houston blitzed a pick-and-roll between Steph and Draymond, creating a four-on-three opportunity for Draymond at the 3-point line. He drove into the lane and found Iguodala in the corner, who then swung the ball to Thompson. There is no one on the Rockets’ roster who can consistently make the play that Green did. Draymond is a legitimate point forward. Neither Capela nor Tucker is comfortable making plays off the dribble. The Warriors can overload to stop Harden without worrying about any of his frontcourt players making them pay for it.

    The issue is that All-NBA-caliber forwards are almost impossible to acquire in trades, and are incredibly expensive in free agency. Houston doesn’t have many tradable contracts, and it won’t have any cap room for the foreseeable future. The Rockets are paying over $90 million a year just to Harden, Paul, and Capela until the 2021-22 season. The only other salaries they could move are Gordon’s (one year left at $14.1 million) and Tucker’s ($8.3 million next season, and a partial guarantee for 2020-21). Houston has a top-heavy roster because it spent the last 12 months desperately trying to avoid the luxury tax. The surprise isn’t that the minimum-salary players they added in the offseason (Carmelo Anthony, Michael Carter-Williams, and James Ennis III) flamed out. It’s that they found decent replacements on the waiver wire.

    Houston may have to move either Paul or Capela. Neither is irreplaceable. Paul is a great secondary scorer who can initiate the offense when Harden is out, but he’s a deliberate offensive player who is still at his best with the ball in his hands. He’s starting to slow down and break down physically as he enters his mid-30s, and he doesn’t attack closeouts with the same ferocity as Rivers and Gordon, both of whom outplayed him for most of the Warriors series. Capela is the rare 7-footer who can finish at the rim and defend on the perimeter, but he’s a limited offensive player who is closer to a platoon center than a featured option against elite teams. However, even if Morey put them on the market, their salaries could make it hard to get much value back.

    The Rockets should be aggressive this offseason. Hoping Durant leaves in free agency and weakens the Warriors won’t be enough. Not only did Golden State just close them out in Houston without Durant, but their players are unlikely to be as good again. Paul and Tucker are 34, Gordon is 30, and Harden is 29. Capela is only 26, but looks near his ceiling. The only room for internal improvement comes from Rivers (26) and House (25), and there’s no guarantee they’ll keep either free agent since both are in line for big raises. The draft won’t help, either, since they packaged their picks with bad salaries in trades to get under the tax. Nor can they count on the real key to their sustained success over the Harden era: He has made up for any flaws on their teams by getting better for seven straight seasons. It’s hard to imagine how he could top one of the greatest offensive campaigns in NBA history.

    Harden is one of the smartest players in the league. He can see the differences between his supporting cast and Curry’s. He even told Curry at the All-Star Game that he didn’t want to keep playing this way. The question is whether he can do anything about it. The biggest thing a star can do to help his team is recruit another star, like Harden did with Paul. There will be a lot of star players available in free agency this offseason. The two who would best fill the hole on the Rockets’ roster are Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard. The only way they could open up enough room under the salary cap to pursue on one of them would be to use first-round picks to dump either Paul and one of Gordon, Tucker, or Capela onto another team, or all three of the latter, and then fill out their roster with minimum-salary players.

    It would be hard to pull off, which means Harden will likely once again have to do more for his team on offense than any other player in the league. It’s the reason he finished second in the MVP voting in the 2014-15 and 2016-17 seasons, and won the award last season. All signs point to him either winning his second consecutive MVP this season or finishing second to Giannis Antetokounmpo. Harden just had one of the greatest five-year runs in NBA history going from his age-24 to age-29 seasons. He’s unlikely to keep up that pace from 30 to 34. The Rockets have built a team that put Harden in a great position to win MVPs, but not championships. If that doesn’t change soon, he may start looking for the exits.
     
  13. J.R.

    J.R. Contributing Member

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    James Harden needs help like LerBon needed help.

    How many all-stars do you need?

    Not one...
    Not two...
    Not three...
    Not four...
    Not five...
    Not six...

    :D
     
  14. bulkatron

    bulkatron Member

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    Anthony Davis would be a godsend.

    Also a pipe dream.
     
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  15. napalm06

    napalm06 Fire Bill O'Brien
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    I'm not even talking about replacing Capela, although at his current salary I wouldn't mind them exploring it. This team needs a bench 4/5 that has different strengths than Capela. We've needed it for a few years.

    The last time we had a versatile 4/5 front court was probably Dwight-Asik-Jones-DMo. Now we have Capela-??? and Tucker playing the Chuck Hayes role.
     
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  16. Lurch

    Lurch Live Wilder.
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    I think if Philly loses this game 7 then we will them retool some things this summer. Brett Brown will be the first to go and I think Simmons is next. Simmons and Embiid don't seem to pair well together and Philly isn't going to let Embiid go.

    We could probably put together an attractive offer for Simmons and potentially create a S&T for Butler. We could throw them a package built around Paul and Gordon. Philly gets Paul, a leader that their team desperately needs who has showed he can take a back seat to a younger star and can get the ball down low to Embiid in different ways. They also get another player on the outside who can create his own shot that has proven to be someone defenses have to consistently respect and locate on every possession.

    I am not well versed on the salaries and luxury tax and all that good jazz but the trade makes sense for both teams on the court IMO.
     
  17. Classic

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    Interested to see where Cousins ends up. I’d love him on & in place of Capela’s contract.
     
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  18. treyk3

    treyk3 Contributing Member

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    Ben Simmons would be my #1 target if he was realistic. He literally won’t shoot threes. Watching him here would be pure theatre.
     
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  19. pippendagimp

    pippendagimp Member

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    "My guess is the primary cause of Harden’s history of fading in the playoffs is his overwhelming offensive responsibility, not any flaw in his character or his game."

    how does this explain 5 missed FTs in an elimination game? he was tired in the 1st Q?
     
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  20. Lurch

    Lurch Live Wilder.
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    Yea it would probably have to mean a new coach and new system that wasn't so heavily dependent on ISO. Which I think is a real possibility. But who's to say Simmons isn't a realistic option? You know if Philly gets rid of him, which I really think they'll shop him. They would prefer to move him West.
     
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