Ok, so there's a lot of posts flying around talking about how some of our rookies are garbage, others are at their peak, or are going to regress, or are limited.
The fact is, our team is the Youngest in the league. However, what DOES that mean?
Well, it means that they're at the earliest stages of their skills curve. Not only will nearly ALL of them improve (barring injury), but they should all improve Substantially for several more Years.
This kind gentleman was kind enough to compile the data from the 10,000 player seasons since the introduction of the 3 point line, and then crunch each player's career performance as they aged.
He then broke them down into the following 4 categories of age.
"very young" (18-21)
And synthesized them into a chart on this blog page.
A quick summary of the conclusions...
-Young players develop until the age of 26 where they typically first hit their "peak"
-Players then decline on average, and then his a SECOND peak at age 30
-Players who enter the NBA at 18 tend to peak at age 21
Here is the current age of our roster...
Aldrich - 24
Asik - 26
Cook - 25
Delfino - 30
Douglas - 26
Harden - 23
Jones - 20
Lin - 24
Machado - 22
Morris - 23
Montejunas - 22
Parsons - 24
Patterson - 23
Smith - 21
White - 21
Now, the unusual distribution of Peaks (21, 26 and 30) begs several questions. Why do players peak at different points?
My hypothesis is that it works in the following way...
1) The first peak a player undergoes directly related to experience. Players who first enter are directly gaining skills and basic understanding of the game. They are learning the rules, learning to habitualize the play sets, working on their glaring weaknesses, and becoming basically familiar with their team mates and opponents.
2) The second peak I suspect is more linked to declines in athleticism. The average NBA career lasts 5-6 seasons. A substantial number of players just simply wear out as their bodies decline. Those who can last longer either have games that reduce the amount of wear and tear on their bodies, avoid catastrophic injury, are smaller in size (easier on the joints), but more importantly are the ones who can ADJUST to their changing bodies.
In order for players to sustain a long career, at some point players must ALTER their games to be able to perform WITHOUT relying on pure athletic ability. Athletic jumpers learn to shoot and play post up. Quick and speedy guards learn to better judge angles and spacing as well as develop more of a range game. Quick on ball defenders learn to become crafty so they don't need to rely so much on lateral movement.
Here's the link in term of average career length in the NBA.
Anyway, long story short, I believe we haven't seen anywhere near the best of the Rockets. And I fully expect the vast majority of the players on this team who ARE able to make the transition to the NBA, and more specifically our Starters to develop significantly over the next 2-3 years.
We may very well grow into a very formidable team, and that's before we add another Star to the puzzle.
No matter how you cut it, it's going to be a heck of a ride.