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2015 Training Camp & Preseason: The Competition for Rotation Minutes

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by cdrive, Sep 16, 2015.

  1. cdrive

    cdrive Contributing Member

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    [​IMG]

    This will be one of the most interesting training camps & preseasons in a while for the Rockets, because last year's youngins and mid-season additions will have a fair shot to compete with existing rotation guys and this year's draft class.

    The biggest competitions to keep an eye on are the swingman positions. And lots of guys will be competing to take minutes from another guy, even indirectly. For example: Marcus Thornton will never play PG or probably ever play SF, but PG Lawson & SF Brewer might perform so well that they take SG minutes from Thornton in certain line-ups.

    PG competition:
    Beverley VS Lawson. There really isn't much competition here other than figuring out the fit with each PG and the other players. Lawson will get more minutes than Bev. And I don't think it's a competition for who starts, per se. Again it's just the fit, certain units, sub in & out logistics. I don't think you will ever see anyone else playing PG unless someone is injured. Terry is our 3rd string PG but that's just for insurance. You'll never see him play PG with Bev & Lawson healthy (Capt Obvious here).

    Back up SG competition:
    This along with the Back up SF are going to be the juiciest competitions. Will we ever see extra burn for Bev or Lawson at the Back up SG in a situational 3 guard line up? You immediately have Marcus Thornton trying to take this spot as his main position on the team. Then you have a guy like Brewer who can play SG. Then you have the veteran Terry. AND THEN ALSO you have KJ McDaniels finally getting a shot to break the rotation after joining the Rockets midseason with what was an already solidified rotation. In my opinion the back up SG competition is going to be the most interesting. And again you have guys indirectly competing for minutes 'cause so many of our guys can slide up or down a position.

    Back Up SF:
    Like the Back Up SG, we're stacked with options. Brewer is our existing back up SF. But we could go small with KJ McDaniels if he earns minutes here, and you got Sam Dekker who could earn minutes here similar to how McHale gave Parsons burn as a rookie SF.

    PF:
    Who is be our starting PF? T-Mo or D-Jo? Obviously D-Jo will be recovering from a back injury still (or is it T-Mo?), so T-Mo will start the season irrespective of each other's talent blossoming & fit with other players. But having our Lithuanian still in the healing process will allow for Montrezl to get some extra shine if he performs well. And he will be competing against small ball looks like Dekker at the 4 or even Ariza playing some small ball 4. When both our PFs are healthy though, then Montrezl will be indirectly competing with Capela. If Capela is struggling to improve, then D-Jo might play much more back up C, which would allow Montrezl more minutes at PF.

    C:
    Center competition is about how our rotation of bigs will help Dwight when he sits back to backs. I see Capela playing the majority of back up C minutes and playing starter C when Dwight rests a game on back-to-backs. I doubt you'll hardly ever see T-Mo at the 5, unless out of necessity. We will see D-Jo at the 5, depending on health, and wear & tear. But D-Jo was actually 8th in the league in rim protection last year when he played at the 5 spot. He learned how to get straight up and down and jump off the floor when in the restricted area. Not a lot of blocks, but a whole lot of shot-changing & rim protection a la Asik with that big 7' body.

    Conclusion: To me, the most interesting thing to watch is how all the indirect competitions pan out as it relates to Thornton and McDaniels getting a piece of the rotation. Those 2 are going to need to bring it in camp. 2nd tier of interest for me is how Dekker and Montrezl will perform. I think Montrezl has a legitimate chance to get some burn with one of our PFs still on the mend, and with Howard sitting back to backs. Also another thing to consider is the old adage "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts", meaning that there are individual competitions, but there are also combinations that might really shine despite a player in that combination not necessarily there because of his own individual merits. That's where the Lawson effect kicks in. He might be able to open up a whole new aspect to a guy's game better than others. For example, maybe we wouldn't ever consider giving Montrezl 10 minutes a night, but all of a sudden in camp Lawson is turning the kid into freaking Kenneth Fareid 2.0 with Lobageddon. Lots to look forward to when camp gets started. I can't wait to see what the rotation will look like in the 1st week of the regular season!

    I'm interested in hearing what other CFers think, especially if you think I'm way off base (which I might be)! How do you anticipate camp to play out?
     
    #1 cdrive, Sep 16, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2015
    3 people like this.
  2. DudeWah

    DudeWah Member

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    I think Thornton has very little to offer this team and won't be in the rotation in a few months, if he is at all. I'd love to be surprised though.
     
  3. rockets13champs

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    Thornton is really good especially off the bench he gives that pop
     
  4. larsv8

    larsv8 Contributing Member

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    I think you will have a ten man rotation in competitive games with Terry, McDaniels, Dekker and Harrell seeing no minutes unless there is an injury. Thornton is a fringe rotation guy and probably sees the least amount of minutes of all rotation players. I think Beverley and Jones will start, not due to talent, but due to fit. You will probably see standard lineups, but some small ball with the elimination of the center position in short stints.

    On a typical night with no injuries and no blowout, I envision it will play out like this:

    Beverley (18) / Lawson (30)
    Harden (30) / Thornton (10) / Beverley (8)
    Ariza (30) / Brewer (12) / Harden (6)
    Jones (20) / Dmo (22) / Ariza (6)
    Howard (28) / Capella (14) / Dmo (6)

    Harden 36 m
    Ariza 36 m
    Lawson 30 m
    Howard 28 m
    D-mo 28 m
    Beverley 26 m
    Jones 20 m
    Capella 14 m
    Brewer 12 m
    Thornton 10m
     
  5. PJ86

    PJ86 Member

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    I think it will definitely be one of the most interesting just because of the potential so many players offer, we have 12 legitimate players who all can fight for regular minutes and 2 rookies who also could get a shot because of D-Mo's injury and Howard's health.

    However, with us going as deep as we did in the play-offs and with much of the core intact, I don't think there are going to be many surprises. This is not the season where a few guys are fighting for the 15th spot. Even if it would be the case, it wouldn't have a great impact since we're really, really deep!

    Beverley & Lawson regardless of starting will both see regular minutes. Harden, Ariza & Howard are guaranteed starters. Brewer will get 6th man minutes, D-Mo & Jones will be a nice battle later on, but for now, the battle will more be about Dekker / Harrell as the one behind TJ if D-Mo cannot play full strength.

    Small ball with Brewer / Ariza at the 4 is also possible of course, depending on KJ and Thorton's performance during camp. Capela back-up center of course and Terry situational / injury minutes. Cannot wait for it to start, since it will be more relaxing than ever. No worries about players not making the team, 2 deep at every position so it's not like if one 'wins' the spot, the other will play a lot less so all fun and games.
     
  6. pippendagimp

    pippendagimp Member

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    for thornton it all comes down to whether his shot is falling or not. if he starts off the season in a slump i could actually see him getting cut ala garcia last year.
     
  7. glimmertwins

    glimmertwins Member

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    Spot on post.

    ...as mentioned, I think the only real competition is who gets minutes between Thornton and McDaniels. I think it will likely be McDaniels and Thornton will become part of a deep shooting situational play. Everything else I mostly agree with - Harrell will get some burn early in the season, but I expect to see Harell and/or Dekker spend at least a little time in the D-league this year. McHale's track record for rookies doesn't favor them getting consistent playing time - especially on a team as deep as this in a conference as competitive as the West.

    I also would really like to see Harden, Ariza, and Howards minutes decrease a bit but in the western conference, I don't know if that is a luxury we can afford. Lawson may be a better bench play because he ignites fast breaks, scores easily against 2nd string, and in general is the perfect complement for our reserve horses - Lawson getting steals and pushing to Capela, Harell(or Jones), McDaniels, and Brewer is a scary good team. If the bench can consistently outscore our oppenents bench to grow a lead/cut an opposing team's lead, that takes a lot of pressure off our starters and puts it on the opposing team's starters.
     
  8. YOLO

    YOLO Member

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    Is there a reason why it is assumed Dwight is automatically sitting on back to backs
     
  9. mfastx

    mfastx Member
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    Good thread. With Dwight already out for back to backs before the season even begins, and DMo most likely not being ready at the start of the season, there is a pretty big hole at C/PF when Dwight sits.
     
  10. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    McHale said he would.
     
  11. PJ86

    PJ86 Member

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    Capela, TJ & Dekker / Monster can handle it ;) Still, Hayes would've been the cherry on top!
     
  12. YOLO

    YOLO Member

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    link for this upcoming season?
     
  13. MarioKissoDeath

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    Biggest question is how to replace Josh Smith's post up defense and rebounding - both things in which Dmo and TJ do not excel.
     
  14. RocketsJumer

    RocketsJumer Member

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    So we are going to pay Brewer 8 million this year to play 12mpg? That's a bad investment. He will definitely get his 18-21mpg.

    Ideally, we have the right depth so that no one on this team needs to play over 34mpg for the season. Of course there will be games that Harden, Ariza and crew will need to play 40+ minutes but over the season, no one on this team should be over 34mpg.

    Assuming that Dekker, Harrell and possibly McDaniels are going to be playing for the Vipers, primarily. Though, I do believe they will give McDaniels a fair evaluation with the big team for the first month or so of the season and will be first up if Brewer or Ariza have to miss games. Terry probably and shouldn't get too much run until March/April so he's mpg is negligible. I think Thornton will get a real chance to get some minutes but he needs to shoot well score efficiently for him to keep those minutes.

    I see the rotation will ultimately look like this:

    PG: Lawson (30) / Beverley (18)
    SG: Harden (34) / Thornton (8) / Brewer (6)
    SF: Ariza (33) / Brewer (15)
    PF: DMo (24) / Jones (24)
    C: Howard (30) / Capela (14) / DMo (4)

    Lawson - 30mpg
    Harden - 34mph
    Ariza - 33mpg
    DMo - 28mpg
    Howard - 30mpg
    Jones - 24mpg
    Brewer - 21mpg
    Beverley - 18mpg
    Capela - 14mpg
    Thornton - 8mpg
     
  15. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    He said it at season ticket holder event.

    I'm expecting biggest battle to be between Brewer and McDaniels.
     
  16. YOLO

    YOLO Member

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    Would like to see that confirmed first as that's almost 20 games Howard will automatically be missing. Regardless, if it's true that will be announced because that is a lot of games.
     
  17. PJ86

    PJ86 Member

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    Brewer will not have to battle for minutes with KJ.
     
  18. glimmertwins

    glimmertwins Member

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    I co-sign this statement.
     
  19. romain

    romain Member

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    T-Mo or D-Jo? T-Jo or D-Mo?:cool:
     
  20. cdrive

    cdrive Contributing Member

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    And Josh does excel at post up d and rebounding? I distinctly remember Griffin getting whatever he wanted with Josh Smith defending him. Smith was absolutely slaughtered by Griffin on the post up. And he was often slaughtered by himself either whining to the officials instead of getting back on D, or casually jogging back on D when his guy Griffin was barreling down court going coast to coast.
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/7MYD9bXQ3Yw?loop=1&start=174&end=180" frameborder="0"></iframe>


    DRating-wise last season, Jones & Smith were even at Def Rating 102. D-Mo was 105. All 3 produced more or less the same at rebounding. Smith does not excel at rebounding. Jones averaged more rebounds with less minutes than Smith.

    All I'm saying is we're going to be okay, folks. Let Smith go. He ain't all that. That's why Morey made Brewer & McDaniels more of a priority in the offseason over Smith.
     

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