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Some Thoughts After Watching the Preseason

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by crash5179, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. crash5179

    crash5179 Contributing Member

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    Disclaimer: It's just preseason and things are likely to change as early as the 1st regular season game.

    On the offensive side of the ball:

    The offensive doesn't look fluid at all to me. They don't aggressively look to run like they have done the last couple of seasons. Is it just because of the pre-season?

    1. The Chandler Parsons effect - Chandler was great at the hockey assist (making the pass that lead to an assist) and when he got a defensive rebound he was off to the races which was great for Houston's fast break. Also, Chandler was terrific finishing in the paint. Trevor Ariza has been really good but after watching the preseason games he is clearly not on Chandler's level on offense (at least during the preseason).

    2. Dwight & TJ have been really bad on offense. Dwight was inconsistent last season on the offensive end. There were games that he would look like he has looked this preseason but there were just as many games where he would get the ball and make a quick, decisive move to the basket and finish with either hand. In the play-offs he was just a beast on the offensive end of the floor. I have to believe he is just a little rusty.

    TJ is really the player that has me scratching my head, he looks worse now than he did as a rookie. Last season he had games where his head was not in the game but most of the games he very very good in the post as well as putting the ball in the court. This preseason he has looked completely lost while in the game. The Rockets offense turned around last season immediately after replacing Asik in the starting line-up. This preseason TJ might be the biggest problem with Houston's offense.

    On the Defensive side of the ball:

    I'm convinced the defense is going to be among the very best in the NBA. While Trevor Ariza is a bit of a drop off from Chandler on the offensive end, but he is a huge upgrade from what Chandler was on the defensive end last season. Trevor has been so disruptive to the opposing team, with him Beverly and D12 we have 3 players that can impact the game in a major way on the defense.

    James Harden has been acceptable on defense if not actually good. The weak link on defense has been TJ IMO but DMo has been pretty decent. Tarik Black and Jeff Adrien have been outstanding IMO when they have been in the game.

    Depth

    Last season our depth was not good. Jeremy Lin was clearly our best player off of the bench last season but he was inconsistent. Omer Asik should have been far and away the best back up Center in the game but he was hurt most of the season and barely played half of the games. DMo made huge strides but was excessively inconsistent last season. Francisco Garcia was a huge bust last season.

    This season there are players up and down the bench that can effect the game in different ways.

    PG - Ish Smith, Isaiah Canaan: This may be the one area were there is a down grade. Having said that, Ish is a better distributor of the ball than Lin.

    SG - Jason Terry, Troy Daniels, Nick Johnson: last season Jeremy Lin was forced to back up both Guard spots and he was just too inconsistent last season. Both Terry and Daniels are far superior shooters to Lin although neither can finish at the basket as well as Lin. The Rockets now have multiple players that can give James Harden a break and bring elite shooting to the floor.

    SF - Kostas Papanikolaou: Last season the Rockets had absolutely nothing behind Chandler Parsons. This preseason Kostas has been just as good as advertised. He's been really good on defense and moves the ball exceptionally well. Like Chandler he looks like he is the guy that will make the pass that leads to the assist. His outside shot has not quite been reliable but I expect that to get better as the season progresses. Having said that, he is already so much better than anything we had as depth at the SF position last season.

    PF - Donatas Motiejunas, Tarik Black, Jeff Adrien: Last season DMo was the depth at the 4 spot most of the season. Asik got some time there but was mostly ineffective or hurt up until the post season. This season DMo looks all around better and is probably the Rockets most offensive player in the post. Tarik Black looks like the real deal on the defensive end although he is pretty bad on the offensive end.

    C - Donatas Motiejunas, Tarik Black, Joey Dorsey: Although we had Asik on the roster, DMo was the only back up for most of the season. While Asik is superior to any back up on the Roster, I think all of the depth is quality depth and DMo is better than last season.


    The one thing that has me scratching my head is why Troy Daniels has been mostly an after thought during the preseason. He has hit 12 out of 24 3pt attempts when called upon which is right in line with what he did last season when called upon. I know he has not been great on defense but I would really like to see him inserted into the line-up from time to time with Harden. His 3pt shot coupled with Hardens ability to drive would really cause major head aches for opposing defenses.
     
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  2. tim562

    tim562 Contributing Member

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    Its gonna be interesting to see who makes the team....
     
  3. RoxBeliever

    RoxBeliever Member

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    As I posted previously, I think Parsons' activity last year opened up a lot of opportunities for TJones. Often he was Parsons' running partner on the break.

    This time without Parsons, TJones has to create a lot more of his shots. I notice he's been trying to post up. Black and Adrien have taken some of the attention when it comes to rebounding. Those easy garbage shots he had last year have not been so available for TJones so far.

    I really want to see Jones become better at reading defenses so he can do a better job attacking.
     
  4. wfeebs

    wfeebs Member

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    Man, the season needs to start. It's so close.

    Nice read, OP.
     
  5. Dhoward12

    Dhoward12 Member

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    Dwight has been really bad on offense??????????
     
  6. rlmjdime

    rlmjdime Member

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    I think he is just trying things out. If you are going to experiment and see what works, the preseason is the time to do it.
     
  7. tdo

    tdo Member

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    Good read OP. I agree with pretty much all said. I think we could have a top 5 defense this season. Offensively we have looked great in spurts, but haven't been able to consistently produce. I'm not too worried about it. This happens a lot in the pre-season because of tinkering with the lineups and whatnot. Our depth looks like it will be better than last years. At least we have legitimate back ups at the SG and SF position this year. We took a hit at Center and Point Guard, but I think the arrivals of Daniels/Terry and Kostas mean more to the team than the departures of Lin and a disgruntled Asik.
     
  8. RCPM

    RCPM Member

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    The offense looks fluid to me, and Dwight looks good also.
     
  9. wfeebs

    wfeebs Member

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    My hope is that although our offense might not be as good this year, our defense will lead to easier hoops on offense.
     
  10. IndianPlaya

    IndianPlaya Contributing Member

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    Good post OP. I agree that defensively we should be a lot better. If K-PAP can improve his shooting, he will be a real asset. I also agree that TJones has regressed. Our 4 is going to be the weak link again this y ear.
     
  11. dobro1229

    dobro1229 Contributing Member

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    2 main point I've taken from the preseason-



    1. Completely different team with Ariza/Parsons swap

    The Rockets, I think have the chance at being a legit top 5 defense this year. Their starting unit (Harden deserves credit thus far as well) look incredible on defense with the exception of a couple slip ups vs. the Heat.

    That being said, they are still setting up their offense to play the style they played the past two years, and we are definitely seeing the repercussions of moving Parsons. Parsons was great... like GREAT in the open court, and I think he really did open up easy looks for guys. Very underrated P&R player for the Rockets who created more offense than we gave him credit for.

    Ariza seems like a better fit on paper, but that's assuming Harden can create offense pretty much every single play.... WHICH ISN'T GOING TO HAPPEN.

    I like the swap if Morey can capitalize on the cap flexibility to bring in other players who can replace some of what Parsons gave the Rockets the past two years, or they bring in a major upgrade elsewhere on the roster.

    If Morey can bring in SOMEONE that can help (not even factoring in a star player) than Ariza + good NBA player > Parsons/Lin

    Right now currently we are asking too much of Ariza, Papanikolaou, and what should be 3rd string guards like Ish Smith and the shell of Jason Terry.


    2. The McHale fit

    I do think McHale and his offensive style was a great fit for the former Rockets teams of the past two years, but I'm beginning to finally question their offense a little bit under him. Without the players to really run and gun with like they had before, I think their offense looks pretty stagnant.

    We will see what kind of movement McHale and Finch can create in the halfcourt with some cutting, and slashing from guys like Jones, Bev, and Ariza, but I'm going to go on record and say that its probably not going to happen, and executing in the half court will be a big issue yet again this year.

    Good news is, it does look like this team can defend so they should still be in close games more this season.

    ...................

    Right now in the West this looks like a 48 to 50 win team honestly. However they are going to be tough as hell for opponents to play.

    Given the contracts the Rockets have on deck, other than the Terry contract and the TPE, I really don't see a way to bring in a good player via trade unless you are bringing in someone on a rookie contract like a Greg Monroe. The Rockets just don't have the available DISPOSABLE expiring contracts to really make a huge impact move for a Rondo or Horford type IMO. Sure they could trade Ariza and Papanikolaou, but I don't think that's an option right now for Morey.

    I'm excited for the season regardless. I loved those post healthy T-Mac teams with Yao. I think you can expect to see a similar type of unit here this year. Gritty, tough as nails, and more easy to root for. Are they going to be favored for anything no... but that disposition they have will put a pretty nice chip on their shoulder every night.
     
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  12. jscmedia

    jscmedia Contributing Member

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    You posted this today ? Lol. Dwight is so in beast mode and may destroy the league this year. Stopped reading after nonsense in first statement.
     
  13. Easy

    Easy Very Calm
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    Good points from you and crash's OP.

    I too am worried about play making. With Parsons and Lin gone, the best play maker after Harden is Ish Smith. And Ish is a marginal NBA player who may or may not make the final cut!

    Ariza can't create. Period. (We all know what happened when he tried to the first time he's here.) I am hoping K-Papa can be a good creator. We'll see.
     
  14. zainahsan93

    zainahsan93 Member

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    My thoughts are that:

    1) Dwight looks awesome
    2) James is trying to pass the ball more
    3) Kostas looks pretty good, consistent, but needs to work on 3 pt shot
    and
    4) Our bench looks worse then last year, we have no depth!
     
  15. crash5179

    crash5179 Contributing Member

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    I've watched the games. You should consider doing the same before replying next time.
     
  16. bmd

    bmd Member

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    One thing that is interesting is that the pace is so much slower in preseason this year than last year.

    They aren't looking to push the ball much.

    I don't know if that is because they are trying to work on half-court offense and will run-and-gun more during the regular season or if they are trying to slow down as a different approach.

    Hopefully they run-and-gun like last year, because it was a huge strength and really helped the team when they were struggling in the half-court.
     
  17. dobro1229

    dobro1229 Contributing Member

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    Yeah, and I think McHale might have to ask too much of Ish and KPap with that second unit offensively, and I'm going to go on a limb and predict now that CF'ers are going to rip them a new one throughout the season as if they were supposed to be the next Manu and Jamal Crawford offensively and have somehow disappointed.

    Ish is a guy who might not even make the team but if he does, will have a HUGE responsibility to be the main offensive creator off the bench for the perimeter. Just think about that vulnerability there for a minute.

    I love what I see from KPap so far, but everything he's good at basically points to him being a Euro version of Shane Battier who is a little better at creating offense.

    I think the only way this team is going to score consistently is with more systematic offensive sets. I'll give McHale and Finch the benefit of the doubt now and say that its possible for them to implement an offense that is a better fit for this team (which is completely different than last years team), but so far in the preseason it looks to be more of the same, and that is very concerning for me when I look more towards April and May.
     
  18. bmd

    bmd Member

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    I also don't recall seeing any pick-and-rolls with Dwight, or any lobs or anything like that.

    Seems like what we are watching right now and how they will play during the regular season will be totally different.
     
  19. dobro1229

    dobro1229 Contributing Member

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    I don't necessarily think the Rockets don't have depth off the bench. What I see is they don't have enough perimeter playmaking off the bench which makes some of these other guys look worse, and makes guys like Pap and Ish look worse when they have to do more than they really should be relied on to do.

    But let's not act as though they don't have useful players off the bench.

    Shooters - Terry, Daniels, Canaan, Garcia
    Gritty rebounding bigs- Dorsey, Black, Adrien
    Good passers - Smith, KPap, Motiejunas (actually solid passer)
    Defenders - KPap, Johnson, Black/Dorsey

    They just don't have that player that drives the offensive engine of that second unit. Lin did this for the Rockets, and even though he was wildly unreliable, he at least drove the offense, and pushed the tempo.

    Usually I'm pretty quiet about saying "Morey needs to make a trade", but I think they need to be valiant and crafty about picking someone up if they can. I think there are players with expiring contracts that teams would love to move if they can. Hopefully Morey can find a way snag another player like he did with Terry (I'm looking at Barea, or Marcus Thornton among a few others).
     
  20. studogg

    studogg Contributing Member

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    I don't agree with the harshness of his comment or the impact of the one statement on your overall good commentary, but I do agree that Dwight is closer to being in beast mode than having looked poor.

    A) he's played limited this minutes to judge his performance on
    B) Last night was the first warmup of real rotation alignments where he logged 28 of his first meaningful minutes
    C) He was outstanding last night night - 7-10 FGM/A (when one of the ten was a desperation three, not bad) 9 Rebounds, 19 pts, 1 Blk Shot and 5-7 from the freethrow line.

    I also don't understand the concerns regarding our bench or our playmaking after watching every preseason game.

    At the point - You Have 1. Beverly 2. Terry, 3. Ish

    At the Two - You have 1. Harden 2. Terry

    At the three you have 1. Ariza 2. Papa

    At the four you have 1. Jones 2. DMo 3. Papa

    At the five you have 1. Howard 2.DMo 3.Dorsey

    That's a 10 man rotation that blends minutes to keep a star on the floor.

    Terry has looked very good and will have a strong year imo. He's looking like an upgrade over Lin given the consistency he will bring with his shot. He will be the primary guard coming off the bench the three of bev, harden and Terry getting the bulk of the 96 minutes at the guard spots.

    Papa has looked tremendous and absolutely improves our 3 position given how solidly he's fit in. I also feel he will log significant minutes at the four as our stretch player and may see the most minutes behind TJones. Our most effective lineups last year were with Chandler at the four and Papa creates as well if not better. With Papa at the four, Ariza at the three and Harden at the two - that's some nasty stuff. Add in Terry at the one and Dwight at the five and I predict this will be our most valuable 5 man rotation.

    Ariza has been as good as last year and has even been able to create a little off the dribble, much in the same way Parsons did. At this point in time, this is looking like a clear upgrade from last year and I am questioning how divisive Chandlers pursuit of contract over team was a problem. I mean, why did Dwight have to appease him with a Ferrari?

    Jones has struggled but showed strong hustle. He's definitely got to play better.

    DMo has been better on defense than he was last year and is currently better than Jones, but still screws up on the basics. He's showing promise, but I would not bank on major results this season.

    Center is weaker. Definitely. But let's not forget the misery that was last year with Asik early on, and most importantly, that we didn't even win the series that he would have surely played the largest role in throughout the playoffs. It was only against Portland that the two headed monster made sense. And it didn't work - time to move on.

    Right now I think the team is actually stronger than last year. I'm excited to see what Morey pulls off to solidy the PG/SG beyond our current half year rental in Terry and the PF position behind the heart and hustle but half the hoops combo of DMo and TJones.
     
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