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Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by oeilpere, Aug 13, 2001.

  1. oeilpere

    oeilpere Member

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    The depth chart for the coming season, as I see it.

    Center

    Cato … there is still hope that this year he will find his niche and contribute to the overall game plan. Sufficiently enough to keep him, in spite of his previous history of underachievement. To be sure, a trade is still possible but highly improbable in light of the recent moves. Teams including Chicago, Seattle, Phoenix, New York and several others have made trade overtures, but the reality is that he remains a better gamble for RT than what the alternative represents.( i..e. Trading for a defensive stopper who can start NOW.) He comes with a large body, an excellent albeit underused defensive arsenal and a limited if not downright single dimension (“stuff-it”) offense. My feeling is he will stay and he will start.

    Collier … all indications are that he will be a serviceable backup this year with a few starts to wet his appetite. He is NOT hurting and his rehab from previous maladies has been cautious but has gone well. He offers a big body, fair to middlin’ speed and what he lacks in pro-style defense he at least makes up for in desire and drive to learn it. His offense may arguably be compared to a slower and less refined version of Raef LaFrentz’s game. His defense is far short of LaFrentz’s, but he has enough of a game to make it to the second tier off the bench, barring any last minute trades. He has the outside shot, showed improvement in his “first step” move since early last year and RT is banking on further improvement in the first half of the season. His positioning and placement in the half court improved from last year and that if anything should up his numbers in the rebound department considerably.

    The Filler … CD has intimated and RT has requested the need for another pivot man to add to the roster. A spot is waiting. Just have to decide how to fill it. This could be as simple as an adventurous acquisition of White in trade for Walt Williams (sources say both MJ and CD have cooled a bit on that move, as it got more difficult to match one another’s demands, but it is open, possibly waityiong for the BYC timetable). McCoy is still a lesser option. He’s cheap, shorter on contract and needs to spotlight himself, so the incentive is there. Jackson seems out of the loop. Pig Miller is hanging around. There still is a possibility of a larger move with the pick up of a semi-starter while unloading our remaining redundancies. Never underestimate the ability for CD and company to get the job done. Blockbuster trades, one on the heels of another are not out of the question with this team. Regardless, they will find a surprise among the roughage. PS: KIKI was called last week ... part of a welcome to the official fold ... sort of thing ... and a " .... by the way do you want to trade a tall white guy with good D and an exceptional overall game ? ... Ah, .... need a three with a contract expiring next year?"


    Power Forward

    Taylor … No surprise here. Mo Taylor is the man. For any and all reasons he will shine at the spot, particularly if he does not have to show up “forcing” the center spot. He will be asked to play the five at times, and in a couple of Eastern Conference games last year, he showed he could perform there. But rest assured he is the four for a long time. I fully expect his game to elevate to a higher level (read that as consistent) this year. He looked comfortable at the latter part last year and he will continue to push in that direction. Forget rebounds. Forget all the griping about rebs. He knows the value of an outlet. He is not selfish. But make no mistake, his main job will be to threat offensively inside and out. He is hired to put points on the board. The scoring options defenders will have to face with our team this year will be phenomenal.

    Griffin … I think KT is as handy with a ball as any second tier PF in this league. But the shear delight in sticking Griffin in to replace Maurice Taylor from time to time, and to watch opponents scrambling around to match him up …. Well, sadly it will force RT to eventually make Griffin his second option at the four instead of Kenny. KT has earned it, and will have this spot early in the season, but will lose it to Griffin because of his raw threat from so many directions. And that my friends … is what this season will be all about. Wide open, in your face, take no prisoners, offensive assaults, possession after possession. Griffin is the best bet in that line of thinking. He will learn fast, and I’ll bet holding him back will be the worst of our problems with his performance.

    KT … he still possesses the best man to man defensive skills of the PF bunch. But on a team sadly lacking in overt defensive aptitude that may not be enough to hold his “second-off” bench role. As stated above, I think KT will have that spot at the first of the season. But despite Griffin being pushed into a slow “learning curve” entry into the NBA, he will be impossible to hold him back from getting the vast majority of secondary minutes. Especially after he establishes his ability to score, almost at will, while pulling down an unprecedented number of rebbies. KT will be relegated to the third option by December, but as unselfish as he is, he will still provide quality minutes off the bench.



    Small Forward

    Rice … there is no other reason that Glen Rice was acquired than to start the game at the three. No doubt. Ironically, the very fact that he will start may make him healthier than he has been in several years. That is the thinking. RT has a unique ability to compel players to play both inside themselves (within their abilities) and to get the absolute most out of their talents (Well.. there have been failures too, lets not revisit Cato, etc…). Rice has a lot of pent up emotions concerning his last two jobs and how he was used (or not used as the case may be), and I look for a breakout year (probably the wrong word for a 34+ y/o veteran) where he will be the perfect outside threat. The unsung qualities include his untapped leadership role, his game savvy, and his uncanny ability to be at the right spot and the right time. He was surely missed in our game last year. He won’t be this year. Just from the added pressure of defenders not being able to double Steve and Cuttino may have added another four to six games to our win column.

    Langhi … I know a lot of people think Griffin will get some time in here. And, he will. But having griffin play the 3-4 swing will still give Dan Langhi some time here. Again it is matchups. Preserving Rice's stamina in running fast (and I mean fast run and gun games) may also mean preserving minutes for the tall young pale dude. He has a quick release, good from the trey and can defensive off play with some shorter three opponents with effectiveness. He needs time to improve and time he will be given.

    Griffin … he will get some shining times at the three. I still think they will move him around between the three and four, but by mid-season his true forte will be shown at the four, IMHO. He is not as adept at the three (NBA version) as some have postulated, but doesn’t mean he can’t be used there. He will be close to Langhi in the minutes department in this position. I can even see a Rice/Griffin/Taylor (3/4/5) matchup frequently. This will be a fun season.

    Walt … I don’t think we can afford to keep him. His need has diminished considerably. I know the team has favored him in the past, to the chagrin of many here, but with the decision to oust longtime favorite Bullard and a commitment to a “new look” by RT, well, Walt’s days are numbered. As mentioned above, the Wizard’s preeminent move to the Wizards may have slowed down (not stopped) a bit, but heis still going somewhere. May possibly just be a timing thing. Waiting for the BYC deadline on White. If not , several other options are still on the burner. He doesn’t figure in my mix for the opening game.


    Off Guard

    Mobley … there is no surprise here. Cuttino versus everyone else. No contest. Another year, another year of experience under his belt. It’s all uphill with Cuttino. Healthy, talented, great attitude, coachable, a learner, wants to achieve personal goals, competitive for his team ….. gimmee a dozen of them …

    Morris … unless an unusual trade nets us someone of more talent, Terrence Morris probably has been earmarked as the first relief at the two. I hope he doesn’t expect tons of time though! Steve and Cuttino will have that position parlayed between them in must-win games, close games and basically anytime they want it. Morris will have some rapport with the guys, but to really establish himself he has to play a lot farther ahead of himself they he has showed so far. He may get some “spell (garbage)” minutes at the three also but watch RT bring him along slow unless he sees a “brotherhood” mentality growing between Steve/Cuttino/Mooch that entails all four putting in extra practice and extra attention. Francis may be the key to how much we see TMorris.

    Hill … I keep hearing he’s a very talented shooting guard but built like a short (listed 6’2”) point man. Supposed to have a sweet shot and has no problem maneuvering among the towers, but you got to ask yourself, do we need him right now? A point man? Who knows? This was Lindsey’s bid not CD’s. I’m trying to find out more than what’s in the press packet.


    Point Guard

    Steve Francis … Option one. And two. Nuff said.

    Moochie … Last thing I heard he was asking a (arguably) reasonable 2 Million a year in a four to five year deal. CD has been playing hardball with Fegan. Who could blame him? Mooch will stay unless CD sayd he doesn't want him. Therefore, Mooch will stay. He'll settle for somewhere between 1.5 and 2 million a year on a four year deal. Everyone’s happy. Mooch is good stay at home point guard and although there may be more out there, (Shammond ?) it is highly doubtful CD will switch horses in mid stream.

    Colson … personally, I have turned on him like week-old chicken salad. His summer games sucked the hind tit and although I thought he had some good fundamental skills last year, he showed absolutely no evidence of that at all. He carries the ball too high on the dribble, palms it openly, has lost whatever eyesight I thought he possessed, and telegraphs his passes like Marconi using braille. His name has been mentioned several times in relation to resigning, but man he has not impressed me.

    Hill … Could it be that Jim and RT saw what I saw in Colson? Could it be that they called Lindsey and asked him to check out some alternatives and Hill was the next batter up? Okay, Hill has competed very well at the collegiate level. He has got himself nationally ranked in a school that is … well let’s say it is to the NCAA …. what the Volkswagen Beetle is to NASCAR Racing. That’s a major accomplishment right there. I’ll take a practice flyer on him and see what happens. IR? But we are getting over the roster limit and still haven’t opened a third option at the five. I do not see Hill as a liability, whereas I DO see Colson as a liabilty based on his summer’s poor performance.
     
    #1 oeilpere, Aug 13, 2001
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2001
  2. Shandon Anversen

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    i'm glad we agree on colson.

    he was 6th man of the year. 6th man for the other team, that is.


    pops,

    is it just me, or does this team have the *potential* to be anything from #8 to #1 in the west?
     
  3. Tmo

    Tmo Member

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    very interesting.
    2 questions:

    1. why not langhi @ the 2 instead of tmo?
    2. i know you said tmo's minutes are contingent on a couple things right now, but could you quantify 'I hope he doesn't expect tons of minutes though'? What would your estimate be?
     
  4. oeilpere

    oeilpere Member

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    I called a very good friend the other day. A basketball guru. A guy that I respect above many, many others. Here's is what he said in essence ....

    1. The way to the playoffs is through defense.
    2. The best defense is often an over powering offense.
    3. The guys with all the expletive deleted (success) last year ... and the guys the year before that, and the year before that, all had an overpowering, expletive deleted (multi faceted) offense.
    4. The Rockets could be outscoring everyone but a very few teams this year. They could do it with a bunch of young expletive deleted who don't even know how good they are yet. I'd love to hear what everyone is going to say about them about mid season. They'll be moaning that these Rockets kids are crazy! They'll be wanting new rules put in! The Rocket's rule .... can't have more than two crazy young scorers on the floor at any one time.

    I agree with him.
     
  5. NIKEstrad

    NIKEstrad Contributing Member
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    opie- Great post. Awesome analysis. Since Griffin will move up the charts, is KT up for trade to possibly infuse more defense?

    Tmo- Last year, both Francis and Mobley played 40 MPG. When everyone's healthy, the Rockets will sometimes use Moochie at the point, Francis at the 2, and Mobley at the 3. Probably not much more than 10-12 MPG if that much in backup 2 minutes after that.
     
  6. oeilpere

    oeilpere Member

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    1. Gawd I hope not. He looked awkward at times. No putting him in at the two during the summer was an admitted experiment and need filler. he doesn't belong there. He has good mnovement but he has no where near the lateral movement or the fluidity required for the off guard spot.

    2. Matter of minutes. It is merely mathematical. Rice(34),Langhi (8),Griffin(6) ahead of him at the three. Mobes(36) and Francis(4-6) ahead of him at the two. Still only 48 minutes in a game.
     
  7. SamCassell

    SamCassell Contributing Member

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    Pops, an entertaining read as always. I'm shocked that you couldn't find a way to drop WW further than 4th on the depth chart at SF. ;) I agree that the team's got a bright future, and the staff has been working hard to bring in players who fit Rudy's system and the new rules.

    I still think the center position needs addressing. If no other options present themselves, to me they need to call in the pig. Miller's a better option than Cato right now. At least we know he would hustle and bang in whatever minutes he was given.
     
  8. RichRocket

    RichRocket Member

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    Who are some of the "filler" centers considered available? Also, I agree with Nike. I sense the end of KT's time in Houston-- especially if/when Cato fails to compete. Again, can you say who some of these acquirable "fillers" are?

    Jahidi
    McCoy
    Miller
    someone new?
     
  9. CBrownFanClub

    CBrownFanClub Contributing Member

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    And the 'guru' is ...

    Rudy (expletive deleted) Tomjanovich.

    C (expletive deleted) BFC
     
  10. Tmo

    Tmo Member

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    1. Just thought Langhi might get the time b/c it is a 'shooting' position. One good thing about tmo @ the 2 is he would be one of the best rebounders at that position in the league, and could partly make up for mot's & cato's (probable) deficiencies. Then again, how many boards can one grab in 5 minutes?

    2. Extend games to 60 mins. then. Also, what makes you think Rice will get 34 min? He is getting older, and last season he was around 30.
     
  11. Jeff

    Jeff Clutch Crew

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    Run, baby, run! :)
     
  12. Sonny

    Sonny Contributing Member

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    Langhi at 2 would be funny... :D
     
  13. oeilpere

    oeilpere Member

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    Everytime I broached the subject of a center I was told (with a conniving little smile) that they are "not finished yet".

    I am assuming that Walt is gone. I am also assuming that this will likely mean J. White, who would be a substantial move upscale from Pig (although I love him and wish there was a spot for Pig Miller somewhere) his very definition is in his limited use.

    If it does not meana Walt for White I think they will still address the center spot using Walt Williams as bait. I asked if the move NOT to include Bull after acquiring Rice was any indication that some other previous allegiances (the "everyone loves Walt" faction) would also go to the wayside in lieu of strengthening key spots(center). I was not told anything, but given the impression that CD/RT are on a roll ...... and they have set aside other factors.

    It would seem that after Hakeem's trials and tribulations, after hard fought reality checks (Shandon was a luxury we couldn't afford at his demanded price tag), and that now a clear understanding of where we are in our "rebuilding/retooling" phase, well ... all bets are off .... I would expect almost anything ...
     
  14. Dallas Rocket

    Dallas Rocket Contributing Member

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    Oeilpere,

    Appreciate your insights and "reading between the lines." I also agree that, at the end of the day, Mooch will be a Rocket...he is a perfect fit and both parties know it.

    Question: who organizationlly has the ability and power to influence Cato? Francis is assuming the reigns, but can he be the one in only his third year? Can a "new" veteran like Rice make a difference? I have been sorely disappointed in our coaching staff's/management's inability to motivate him at all. If we could only extract 80% of what he could bring to this team, the sky is the limit!!
     
  15. buffalospeedway

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    tmo,
    rice was competing for playing time at ny with allan houston and latrell (expletive deleted) sprewell

    his minutes should go up here, as should his scoring
     
  16. Tmo

    Tmo Member

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    Well, as doug collins likes to say, championship teams need players who can hit big shots, and rice will hit all the big shots you can eat.
     
  17. oeilpere

    oeilpere Member

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    My thoughts on him....

    1. Push The Rockets may not be the best team in the league to motivate someone one like Cato. They are pretty laid back. They treat their players like adults and although that is very desirable for some (most) professional atheltes, it doesn't always work with lazy, unmotivated slobs. Cato is the type that needs to be pushed and RT and the staff "push" by limiting your play time. In short, if you don't perform they will bench you. We can't afford to bench him. Yet.

    2. Pull Francis and Mobley can "pull" a teammate into the mix and make them perform. I thought Francis's adjustment to Mo Taylor last year was just that. At the end of season he started to play more in syncopathic rythmn or something. He just handled the passes better, positioned himself better and of course that was reciprocated by Shandon, Francis and Mobes getting him the ball where he needed it. It may be the same with Cato. I hope so.

    3. The Hakeem factor I have a sneaking suspicion that now that Hakeem is out of the mix that Cato will wake up to his spot. That is, that his spot is all his. He an keep it or lose it. All he has to do is perform. There may have been questions about his role before. There clearly isn't any longer. He has never been the easiest guy to coach, and he has spurned Hakem's overtures to help him in the past ... but I think somewhere he knows he has to perform now.

    4. New Blood Oh yeah. I think Rice's work ethic and his mouth will very helpful to the team. Cato may be a case in point. I mean look at the leaders in the lockerrom. Hakeem, quiet and cerbral, clearly not effective. Bull, a happy company man, cheerful and funny, but no motivator. Walt? Huh? Francis, a the young guns but limited in effectiveness simply because of their short tenure in the league. Francis and the clique (Mobes/Moochie,etc....) may be able to motivate a bit more this year. Especially with a veteran of the wars, like Rice backing them up.

    I look for some changes in Cato this year. Hell everyone likes to be liked. Everyone likes to be cheered. everyone likes the spot light. Cato may surprise us all this year. (Don't remind me that I said the same thing last year, okay?)
     
  18. Hottoddie

    Hottoddie Contributing Member

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    And the answer was?

    Great post OP. It sounds like the Rockets could be a continuous high light reel.
     
  19. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Go Stros!
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    Sweet...these posts are always fun to read. If Walt isn't used as trade bait, I'd expect KT or Langhi to be the next best.

    Are there any on going talks about Othella or are the rockets more interested in a pure 5? He could play the 5 better than KT or Mo along with backing up Mo until Griff is ready.

    What are your thoughts on Jeff Foster of the Pacers? Not much of a scorer, but would make up for Mo on the defensive boards. I haven't seen him body up the better centers so I don't know about his defense.
     
  20. NJRockFan

    NJRockFan Contributing Member

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    Oeli...why didn't Cato play in the summer leagues? I had heard he was going to and then nothing happened.
     

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