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13-14 vs. 14-15 Rockets team

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Rocket2008, Apr 17, 2015.

  1. Rocket2008

    Rocket2008 Member

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    So with the season over and our post-season starting, I was thinking about last year's team and how different it is from this year's, which has me way more confident about our chances in the play-offs. This is regardless of seeding, because we easily could've faced Portland as 5th seed like last year.

    Let me start by saying that I realise this is hindsight and things were probably a bit different when the play-offs started last year. For example, I was actually confident last year we would beat the Blazers and not be down 0-2. Now I see how it was probably unrealistic to expect us to win the series and make a deep play-off run while this year we should get to 2nd round at least and a deep run is a lot more probable.

    The reasons are as follows:

    Last year was the 1st year of Dwight and Harden together with no clear leader. At the time I didn't think that would matter, they were both great players and seemed to hit it off and share the role of leadership seemed perfect. Both were not the most vocal, not the most serious guys and Dwight came in as THE guy, so I don't think it would even have been possible for Harden to be the sole leader. Last year they also had to be leaders, since there were no veterans around with championship experience or the credentials to lead.

    That has totally changed this year. It's clearly Harden's team now, Harden and Dwight understand their roles, Harden has lead and Dwight has taken the role of doing whatever it takes to win, for the most part. This is understandable since he is too good to be just another role player. The veterans, Terry and Ariza in particular have stepped in as veteran leaders as well so while it is Harden's team, our top dog is surrounded by guys who understands what it takes. Hearing Terry today after practice say that they told Harden to be more vocal and stuff like that, which is he doing, must have helped a lot with this process.

    While last year there were plenty of articles regarding tension in the locker room, the H2o relationship and how they were not seeing eye-to-eye, this year only once was there an article about some locker room friction (Ariza apparently shouted and pointed fingers after a loss). There were also statements made by Dwight I remember, but also others about trying to get guys involved, people need their shots, not sure what to do in certain situations. This showed on the court.

    The most obvious example was after game 1 where Dwight complained a bit and in game 2 he went off and the offense ran solely through him. I remember the analysts saying that was not necessarily a good thing and in the end it wasn't, Howard got in his flow to the detriment of the team. This year I have only seen a handful of games where it seemed players were just trying to get their own shots and seemed worried about getting theirs or thinking they could do it by themselves instead of as a team.

    I also remember everybody denying that anything was going on behind closed doors last year, while this year I think it was Dwight or both Dwight and Harden who admitted that it was tough last year and their relationship wasn't all that great. It's not like that has changed per se, but they seem to have an understanding and realise they do not need to be best buddies in order to win. This is my take on it at least.

    With regards to the team chemistry and tension in the locker room in general, this year there seems to be a lot less nonsense going on. Last year there were plenty of player only meetings and frustrations in the group. I'm not saying this year is perfect, there has been a fair share of balking at each other, but last year the team seemed a lot more out of sync at times. I think this year's team is a lot more focused, partly due to veterans Terry, Brewer, Josh & Ariza and maturing of Harden.

    I haven't seen as much silliness on the sidelines as last year or anything of that nature. This is understandable because of how young we were last year. I also truly believe the whole Lin issue and Parsons' sudden rise to fame and ego boosting was a distraction to the team. The latter in particular who only made it worse by proclaiming himself the best SF in the series. That is why I think having Ariza over Chandler is actually bigger than some might think. Ariza has been great on defense and our whole focus has been for the most part, defense.

    This brings me to the bigger picture of having play-off experience and veterans as opposed to all young guys who never played in the post-season before. Last year we were not just young, but also very inexperienced. Our rotation at the end of the year consisted of 4 guys who had been in one series, a few guys who had some experience, one solid veteran in Dwight and a rookie in Troy Daniels.

    Compare that to now where we have 3 champions who have tremendous experience, all the guys left from last year with one more series under their belt, a solid veteran in Josh, a veteran with olympic experience in Pablo and only 2 inexperienced centers of who only 1 will probably see limited minutes.
    As a whole, we are just a lot older, more experienced and have veterans now who in absence of McHale's leadership have made sure the team has stayed the course.

    That is why I do not expect anyone to open his mouth the way Parsons did or anything of that nature. I also do not expect any player panicking the way Lin did or making the mistake of not guarding a good shooter in the clutch with the series on the line.

    A last point with regards to defense is our coaching staff. This year, we've seen the players being more focused and keyed in which has been attributed to JB, but the addition of T.R. Dunn might have something to do with this as well. Of course, McHale is not stupid and has learned from last year's non defense playing style. Coaching in general has been a lot better. While still not top-notch, McHale already proved last year he's not afraid of changing the starting line-up or playing a rookie who has not played much in order to win. A Capela sighting here or a defensive role for NJ might happen ;)

    All in all, this gives me great hope for this year's play-offs and I'm almost as confident as I was in 2008-09 since we do still have injuries and not at full strength yet.

    Thoughts? :)
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. Roc Paint

    Roc Paint Contributing Member

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    With no Lin the sky is the limit this year.
     
  3. EightDoobies

    EightDoobies Member

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    Way better bench then last year. Didn't we have Asik, Lin, Casspi, J. Hammy.. etc.

    I love our bench unit this year, Terry, Brewer, J. Smith are HUGE upgrade since last season.
     
  4. bro2044

    bro2044 Member

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    ahhhh, I love the answer oh WHAT WILL WE DO without Lin, Parsons, AND Asik???

    Well, we'll start with 56-wins in one of our most injury-riddled seasons ever, up our defense, and take the no. 2 spot for HCA in the first round or two.
     
  5. RESINator

    RESINator Member

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    Harden changed. He stepped up big time. The addition/subtraction of players hard to say.
     
  6. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    There was no addition by subtraction, once we got Brewer and Smith. That was pure addition.

    Ariza + Brewer + Smith > Parson + Asik

    We just talked about it a lot through pre-season and Nov/Dec, before those acquisitions.

    Had we had no big injuries, we'd probably be over 60 wins now.
     
  7. joeson332

    joeson332 Member

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    Lillard's shot really humbled our asses huh
     
  8. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    2015 > 2014

    Howard < Howard
    Jones > Jones
    Ariza = Parsons
    Harden > Harden
    Terry < Beverley

    Smith > Asik
    Brewer > Daniels
    Prigioni = Lin

    If we had Motiejunas and Beverley, it'd be a landslide. Even as it is, the improvement of Harden trumps everywhere we've backslided. And, I'm hoping Howard steps up despite the fact he's still recovering.
     
  9. fchowd0311

    fchowd0311 Contributing Member

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    I know how taboo it is to defend Lin on this message board but Prigioni != Lin.

    In fact Lin without the baggage(his fans and his boneheaded tendencies) would be a perfect back up pg for this team since he can at times be a secondary playmaker and scorer behind Harden. Prigioni hardly makes mistakes but he isn't much of a threat either.

    And Parsons is definitely more of a threat on the offensive end than Ariza. He is considerably better in the open court also. Ariza is more consistent on defense obviously which I guess does make them roughly equal.
     
  10. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    I'd agree with you in general. I'm thinking of the 6 playoff games Lin played where he did contribute but also made mistakes. Prigs won't contribute as much but I also expect him to not make those mistakes. Anyway, it's an approximation on bench players, and I don't see it as the swing factor.
     
  11. FTW Rockets FTW

    FTW Rockets FTW Contributing Member

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    Getting rid of Lin was addition by subtraction itself.

    Team automatically got much better by getting rid of that bone headed, mental midget, low IQ player who freezes come playoff time.

    Not having Lin also meant that most of the plays go through your primary playmaker and MVP guy Harden instead of having to share perimeter attacking duties with that live ball turnover prone Lin. I want Harden creating most of my plays and not having to accommodate Lin.

    Corpses of JET and PRigs are better than Lin

    JET>>> LIn
    Prigs >>> Lin

    They know exactly what is required of them and fit that role perfectly. They also have high IQ and do not freeze come playoff time. Prigs ahs played big time in international pressure games and JET is a champion. Lin OTOH is a chicken when the pressure turns up.

    Also having an elite premier defender and decent 3 point shooter in Ariza helps.

    Not to mention Brewer and SMith off the bench.
     
  12. HouStu_Rocket

    HouStu_Rocket Member

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    Exactly why people shouldn't base speculative performance on last year. Completely different team with a completely different identity and set of strengths.

    This year's team is very clearly bettet
     
  13. MarioElie17

    MarioElie17 Member

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    Just wanted to come in here in bash Lin, but has already been done.

    Continue on.
     
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  14. Salvy

    Salvy Member

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    Its unattainable what this team can do this post season....
     
  15. ksny15

    ksny15 Member

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    Adding Ariza has been a game changer for us this year. Even when his shot was falling.
     
  16. ksny15

    ksny15 Member

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  17. Rox23

    Rox23 Member

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    Asik, Lin, Casspi and DMo...is not so bad a bench. Casspi tore it up this year with Sacramento, Asik is really good, and Jlin is better than any point guard on our roster this year. C'mon. But yes, our bench this year isn't too shabby either.
     
  18. zainahsan93

    zainahsan93 Member

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    Better Harden, Better Defense, Better Bench, and experience.
     
  19. Lorenzomax

    Lorenzomax Rookie

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    OP: I also do not expect any player panicking the way Lin did or making the mistake of not guarding a good shooter in the clutch with the series on the line.

    --------------

    But he was guarding anyone other than Mo-Will. ;-)
     
  20. Lorenzomax

    Lorenzomax Rookie

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    The huge improvements are Harden's D and the Fowards' D. NOT the ****ing PG spot.
     

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