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Top Ten Questions about this upcoming season and your Houston Rockets

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by crazyguypete, Aug 8, 2013.

  1. crazyguypete

    crazyguypete Member

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    1.) Do you trade Lin and Asik? If so, for whom?

    I remember waiting that Friday, when it was announced Dwight Howard was coming to Houston all day checking Realgm and Clutchfans every hour to see if the official decision would be made public. What was truly funny about that day was it was officially announced on the most watched sports station and a buddy of mine text me of Howard coming to Houston. You spend all day feverishly waiting for the moment only to realize it comes from the biggest source, the biggest news station. And yet anyone paying attention to the Dwight saga knew he was coming to Houston, it was the only decision that made sense. Chosing Dwight was easy what becomes more difficult is where do you go from there. The difference between game 5 and game 6 of the playoffs was Lin vs Delfino. When Lin was out on the court trying to lead the bench, the Rockets were atrocious. Delfino on the other hand gave the Rockets what they needed. More Shooting! It sounds silly comparing Lin to Delfino and I’m not equating Lin to Delfino, what I am saying is basketball isn’t always about the better player but the one that fits into a team. Does Lin really fit on this roster? Does his stock go up or down? We know Morey will only pull the trigger on a deal that works in our favor but for a starting point guard that really was fighting tony douglas and Patrick Beverley for pt to finish games Lin rightfully deserves a question mark next to his name.

    Asik however is a different story. I remember hearing Morey talk about how good Asik is and without hesitation knowing the signing of him was huge and at a bargain. Now with Howard does that equate to getting rid of Asik? I initially believed no. 48 Minutes of efficient defense and rebounding is huge! But Houston has a huge hole at the pf position and a real question emerges… Howard will average roughly 35 minutes a night leaving 13 minutes for Asik. Is keeping Asik for 13 minutes a night worth it?

    I think whether Lin and Asik stay or are traded Houston is in a great position. If they decide to trade them the best realistic scenario is for Lamarcus Aldridge. In a heart beat I would package either or both those guys plus picks for him. If this trade goes down Morey is the unmistakably best GM in basketball and Houston has their “BIG 3.” With that being said I think Lin for Ilyasova makes a lot of sense for both teams. Milwaukee escaped their point guard situation by getting Brandon Knight but I could see Lin fitting into that team playing minutes as either a starter, or bench player in a three guard rotation with Mayo taking spot minutes as a three guard. Lets not forget how weak the Bucks are at the three with only their rookie Antetokounmpo and Delfino at that position and while I clearly love Delfino he will break down as the season progresses and I do not think it’s a far fetch idea to see Knight, lin, and mayo playing together in an up tempo system and succeeding. On the Rockets side I think having a legitimate stretch four is important for us before Dwight came to Houston and it matters more so now that he is in Houston. Howard needs room to operate if you put him in the post or pick and roll situation. Asik for Anderson makes sense as well. I really want to see an opening night starting front court of Davis and Anderson for comedic purposes. I know the NBA does not have very many big men but that starting line up will get destroyed by most of the league. Neither Davis nor Anderson can handle the Center position. The Pelicans answer is Stiemsma and their rookie Withey essentially a big man who can’t practice because of foot problems and a rookie. I really can see Asik helping the Pelicans immensely. As for the Rockets, again having a stretch four regardless of how the Rockets play this year is huge and Anderson has proven he can ball in this league. Further, I really can anticipate the Pelicans becoming desperate at some point in the season for a good center and pay high for Asik. Asik for picks and Anderson would be huge! So, can you imagine the Rockets with a front court rotation of Howard Camby Ilyasova and Anderson? Is this ideal or are their better ideas out their? Or maybe the best course of action is to do nothing?

    2.) How much better do Asik and Lin become?

    A lot of speculation in this upcoming season will surround these two players and will continue to follow them until the trade deadline passes. They are very good to decent NBA players but do not necessarily fit our roster. Again, Beverley’s role in the playoffs showed just how expendable Lin is. For all the Jeremy Lin fans out there, there is no denying that the Rockets did not miss much in the games he did not play this post season. With that being said Lin is not a bad player. When the ball is in his hands and he can dominate with it he is good at getting into the paint and makes decent passing decisions. (The problem of course being Harden does all these things better than Lin) He struggles against fast point guards but averages 1.6 steals a game and though steals do not necessarily equate to good defense I think Lin overall is a good defensive point guard. The single most important aspect which needs improvement in his game is his jump shot. With Howard and Harden Lin becomes part of the most coveted part of an NBA team. The third wheel! (perhaps Parson truthfully is this). Lin will have the ball at several points this season where he will be wide open. If he can knock the three down in the high thirties to low forties Houston will become impossible to guard. Further this will open his game up to penetration, and where as Harden has the entire team geared towards stopping him a team can only do that to one player Lin will get single coverage. This will lead to not only easy lay ups but free throws which I think will play a huge role for the Rockets this season. We know Harden gets fouled, we know Howard gets fouled, throw Lin into this equation and teams will be in foul trouble all night, but only if Lin can consistently knock down his shot.

    As for Asik we watched him last year go from fumbling passes to finishing hard. We watched a player known for missing free throws knock free throw after free throw down on the biggest stage in basketball. Asik clearly improved throughout the season. Its funny because as excited as I am about Howard I do not see his game improving all that much, however with Asik I do. One of the most important positions in basketball today is the stretch four. It is impossible to guard a team that has a post player and a four who can consistently nail the 15 foot and out jump shot. If Asik ever developed this shot, Houston could play the twin towers. I know it sounds crazy but if I’m Asik that is the single most important shot to master a la Luis Scola.

    3.) Are Asik and Lin starters or bench players?

    I promise this is not a post just about Asik and Lin and in fact this is the last question about them but one that is huge! I think one of the most important questions in basketball is which is more important getting talented players or finding good chemistry? The spurs I think are a perfect example of a team that does not necessarily have the best players but the sum of the parts are greater than the individual pieces (though parker may be one of the top three point guards in the league and clearly is one of the best scoring point guards). I’m dying to see what the Rockets starting line up is and how they work together. I see Lin on opening day starting but I honestly think he should become our Manu Ginoboli. I think it would help Lin and the Rockets out immensely to have stretches where the team becomes Lin’s team and Lin gets the opportunity to dominate the ball. I found last season and the obviously the year before that the more often the ball is in Lin’s hands the more his confidence grows. I think a fresh Lin playing a tired starting point guard or a bench point guard also plays into the Rockets favor.

    Asik’s role I think is clearly defined. He and Howard can only coexist playing significant time together if one of them develops a consistent jump shot. Most likely this will not happen. So if they do start together you will see nothing but teams playing a pseudo zone and daring both those players to shoot 15 foot jump shots. Hence Asik’s role will most likely be off the bench. Though if the Rockets need a stop defensively I think It will be interesting to see how the Rockets play it.

    4.) Who is the Rocket’s starting four?

    I find it ironic how important it became to lose Scola, Patterson, Morris, and Robinson in order to acquire Howard and now that we have Howard how sweet would it be to have one of them (well maybe not Robinson). Last year, we saw the Rockets experiment throughout the second half of the season at the four (including in the playoffs). I think the conclusion from this was clear, Houston played best when they had a four that could shoot. This mattered more than defense and rebounding. That was why the playoffs suddenly got interesting once Mchale started implementing small ball. Bearing any trades, I think the Rockets start T Jones. Though T Jones has issues off the court clearly, on the court I think he won the competition for the best worst starting four in the NBA. I honestly think its not a stretch to see him as the player we need. He is a decent weakside shot blocker, he is active, and can get rebounds. I think his shot is inconsistent but I think he is good enough a player to improve on that. If I was to take the safe bet I would definitely go with him.

    D Mo played starting power forward for much of the season last year and for me was one of the most frustrating players to watch. The guy has skills. You know he can shoot, you know he has post moves, and he is tall enough to play at least adequate defense but often you saw him miss shot after shot, do everything right in the post but make the shot, and play worse defense than Antawn Jamison. Potential is the word that best describes D Mo and I think he has two years still to show if he is truly NBA material but at this point he is a disappointment and has much to improve on.

    The other suggestion people are saying is go small and though I do not think this will be Houston’s starting line up I hope we do see a fair share of Garcia or Parson at the four.

    5.) How do the Rockets play?

    This to me is the BIG question. Do we change our style or is it best to be a run and gun team even with Howard? Personally, I hope not a lot changes between last season and this. I see the addition of Howard like I saw the addition of Parson. The best way I can describe Parson is Battier on steroids. I see Howard as Asik on steroids and hope that is how the Rockets play him.

    6.) Do we see Howard in the pick and roll or do we see him posting up?


    This deals a lot with question five, but I think one of the most important issues pertaining to next year is how the Rockets implement Howard in the offense. I for one do not want to see Howard in the block on a regular basis. I know this sounds crazy but Howard’s biggest strength is he is an athletic freak. Howard has the athleticism of a guy like Lebron but in a 6’ 10” body. Am I saying I never want to see him in the post? No! The NBA lacks big men and there will be nights where Howard will have such an advantage in the post it will be like me playing basketball with fifth graders. Those nights I hope Houston gives the ball to Howard and Howard turns around and dunks the ball time and time again. BUT I think it is not really up for discussion the pick and roll makes complete sense for this team. This plays to both Harden’s and Howard’s game. Such a play will create mismatches that will end up at worst Harden taking a three over a center and at best a dunk(either from Harden or Howard). Basketball is about mismatches and the pick and roll creates it for our best two players.

    7.) By the end of the season do we see Harden and Howard as the best players in their position in the entire league?

    A lot of publications right now have been talking about where Harden ranks in the league among 2 guards. Its funny because if I had to rank it I would say Kobe, Wade, and Harden but if you said I’m starting a team which player do I want I would go with Harden. CSN had a comparison of Harden and Kobe and you could see across the board Harden’s stats were inferior to Kobe’s. The thing about it though is while this is true, Kobe had supposedly the best front court in the league. Just watch the success of OKC when it had only one star and you see how important it is to have good friends in the NBA. Enter today and with Kobe’s Achilles and Wade’s bad knees even if you agree that those players are ahead of Harden it can’t be for much longer and I do not think there is another two guard in the league that is remotely close to Harden.

    Also, I think it is important to remember how Harden played in OKC. I really believe Harden’s greatest strength is his basketball IQ. I anticipate his scoring to go down and his assists to go up and I think this is the way Harden WANTS to play.

    Howard is similar to Harden in that he is a top player but I do not anticipate him to even lead centers in points per game. Howard’s influence on the game is on the defensive end and rebounding. And as Jeff Van Gundy likes to point out, in a bad year he still led the league in rebounding.

    Age catches up to you fast in the NBA. Its scary to think we may end up having two best players in the league for their respective positions by year end.

    8.) How good of a coach is Mchale?

    I remember sitting at my friend’s house before Game 2 this past season thinking oh crap the Rockets are going ultra small(excited for such a ballsy move)! And all the commentary (TNT) was this move was ridiculous but in fact we were one bad fourth quarter away from going to a game 7 against the Thunder. But I also remember the start of that fourth quarter. The Thunder had their best players in and the Rockets had their bench out. I remember listening to the game on the radio and the commentators were discussing how they were very nervous about this line up. I think sometimes you break your normal rotations and you ride your best especially when the other team decides to do so. It is easy to second guess but I think both those choices are indicative of our coach. He makes gutsy decisions that turn out really good and really bad.

    A basketball game really does go down to one play. Greg Popovich has been regarded by some as the best coach in the league and yet I believe his decisions not to have Duncan out in the closing minutes of regulation during game 6 had the Spurs discussed as one of the biggest choke jobs in sports ever!

    When the stakes are at the highest what happens? I think we will see for the first time what kind of coach we really have. The regular season is one thing but coaching in the closing minutes of a playoff game when there isn’t a clear favorite team will show us what kind of coach we really have for the first time.

    One coaching decision I think is paramount is that at all times either Harden or Howard should be on the court. There is no excuse!

    Ironically, I hope there isn’t too much coaching going on this year. I think last year we played best when we just ran the ball up court kept running pick and rolls til we got an open three or lay up or dunk and I think not much should change. Chaos is still the Rockets best friend. As Parson’s said (paraphrasing) we are so hard to guard because we don’t even know what we are doing.

    9.) Health of our team?
    One of the most exciting aspects of our roster this year is how young we are. To have a title contending team that is so young means injuries are a lot less likely to happen. As Rockets fans we have spent the last 20 years watching our teams with the best chances of winning a title fall apart before having a fair shot at it. What if Yao’s foot never fell apart? What if McGrady’s leg was still good? Before that, what if Olajuwon, Barkley, and Drexler never got injuried?

    Injuries play a huge role in the NBA and just because we are young does not mean our team can’t fall apart. Harden had some foot problems this year, Parson’s shoulder was banged up, and what about Howard’s back? I think managing injuries and managing minutes will go a long way towards Houston’s success this season. OKC with Westbrook is a title contending team, without they are at best 7th seed in the west.

    I think if Houston plays up tempo and plays to their potential there is no reason our stars can’t sit a lot of fourth quarters and rest their bodies and this will play a key role in how far we go this season. When Jordan and the Bulls were winning titles their second time around this was a crucial to their success (remember Jordan was an old man at that point).

    10.) How healthy will the league be?

    Listening to sports talk about the upcoming season it sounds like in the West most people put us somewhere between 3 and 6 in the West with OKC, San Antonio, LA Clippers, Grizzlies, and Warriors being our competition. In the East, obviously Miami is the favorite to come out but there is also Indiana, Chicago, and the New York teams as challengers! Every one of the teams is one injury away from going from contender to pretender. How good will Westbrook’s knee be? Any Rocket’s fan knows how fast age catches up and the Spurs aren’t getting any younger. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have a history of injuries and without them the Clips go nowhere. What about Zach Randolph and his history of injuries? And Steph Curry’s ankles are made out of glass. Out East there has to be questions about Wade and his knees and lets not forget how important Ray Allen was for the Heat (Game 6 not only that shot but all the plays in overtime were for him) and he is almost at 40. It sounds crazy to say but the Pacers with Granger are BETTER than the Heat (that series could go either way and the Pacers made huge improvements this offseason with Scola and Granger), but that is a big if. The Bulls have an amazing coach in Coach T but will they ever have their best player? And as for those New York teams well its starting to look like NBA players retire not in Florida but New York and team Geriatric 1 and 2 are a ticking time bomb away from being a scrappy 8th seed with no real shot at a title.

    Conclusion


    I have been thinking a lot about our team and if you really think about it we may have assembled the best over all team in Rocket’s history. No I am not saying Howard is better than Olajuwon but when has a Rocket’s team had two top players at their respective positions? NEVER! In addition, we have the perfect complementary player in Parsons, a scrappy point guard in Beverley, and two very good best described as question marks in Lin and Asik. The conversations hover that Houston will probably make it to the Conference Finals, but I would not be surprised if we play our cards right and get a little lucky in regards to other teams and their injuries to see ourselves in the Finals.

    I think every fan wants to see their team win but when looked at more deeply most fans want to see the best version of their team on the court (how many fans are their verse teams with realistic shots at a title) and this not only means player transactions but strategies. I can’t help but shake my head at all those games Mcgrady jacked up threes instead of driving into the paint ( How does Derek Fisher guard you?). Or how Lebron could shoot all those threes against the Mavs instead of post up Marion in the paint. I can’t wait to see what team steps out onto the court opening night but how they play and how they adapt as the season progresses and what is our starting line up come playoffs.
     
    4 people like this.
  2. crash5179

    crash5179 Contributing Member

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    Long post, not enough time to read it all this morning but I'm not convinced Houston wants to play D12 35 minutes a game. Even at that I'm guessing D12 and Asik will get 2 - 3 minutes together on the court a half so I could still see Asik getting upwards to 20 minutes a game.
     
  3. Garner

    Garner Member

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    Agreed. Asik is too good defensively not to be getting 23 minutes a game minimum
     
  4. jimmyv281

    jimmyv281 Member

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    I think Lin or Asik will be traded for one really good perimeter player to allow parsons or that particular player to slide over to the 4 spot.
     
  5. francis 4 prez

    francis 4 prez Contributing Member

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    i really want to see the answer to #6. if the harden and howard pick and roll is as good as their individual pick and roll numbers say it can be, then it would really be a shame if dwight only wants to post up.


    and it's weird to think about whether we could have the best team in franchise history some time in the next few years depending who we add. but hakeem was so good in those title years that we will really need an amazing supporting cast to pass up those 2 teams.
     
  6. jcmoon

    jcmoon Contributing Member

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    the optimism is great, but team would have no chance against 94 or 95 rockets, they might win a game in a series, that's about it.

     
  7. Zalgiris

    Zalgiris Member

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    He started in 14 games, played only in 44 games. Averaged 12 minutes per game that season. I don't understand your frustration about rookie who spent half season in the unknown, jumping from D league to the end of the bench back and forth, then out of nowhere he was thrown into the starting five without much playing time at all that year... Your super high expectations for a rookie big who was called at the end of first draft round is frustrating me
     
  8. Htownballer38

    Htownballer38 Member

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    Wow lol you been doing a lot of thinking huh. #toomuchtimeonyourhands.

    The season will be hear soon so all your long questions and concerns will be answered.

    Good post though.
     
  9. jtr

    jtr Contributing Member

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    Morey does what Morey always does. He waits for trades that bring back more value than who he ships out. There is no way of knowing when and where that trade pops up. Or who. Period.

    Lin somewhat better, especially 3 point shooting, assists and atv ratio. Asik? Who knows. Does he need to get much better?

    Lin is obviously the starter. He was asked to remake his game at the start of last season and he made strides. I expect further improvement on his after the all-star game numbers next season. Obviously Asik will be moved to the bench.

    D-Mo or Jones. My money would be on D-Mo for a variety of reasons. And actually I do not want Scola, Patterson etc. back on the Rockets. It would be a step backwards.

    Exactly like last year with some post up opportunities for Howard. The world is not near as complex as you make it out to be.

    Yes. See my answer for 5.

    Aren't they already?

    As I have argued since the Rockets hired him, McHale is an excellent head coach. He is a better head coach than he would be an assistant coach. Please see Morey's "A leader of men" remark on our head coach.

    The only stupid question that you have asked.
     
  10. crazyguypete

    crazyguypete Member

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    How does that add up? Even if they play together 2 to 3 minutes now you are at 15 to 16 minutes a night. Does it make sense for Howard to play less so Asik can play more? (genuinely asking)
     
  11. crazyguypete

    crazyguypete Member

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    Which player or sort of player do you have in mind? Do you think Chandler can play tons of minutes at the four and the Rockets be effective.
     
  12. crazyguypete

    crazyguypete Member

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    I think comparing players leads to perspective.

    Dream vs Howard
    Horry vs Parson
    Elie vs Garcia
    Drexler vs Harden
    Smith vs Lin
    Cassell vs Beverley
    Jones vs Asik
    Brown vs insert power forward
    Am I missing someone?

    Maybe whats a better argument is their has never been a Rockets team that has been so dominate in certain positions ever. Yes Dream was the best center in the league when we won our titles but having both Howard and Harden the two best players at their respective positions (or will become the two best at their position) This is is something Houston has never had.

    Here is something else to think about, what if Houston wins 3 or 4 titles in the next couple of years? Does that change your perspective of greatest Houston teams ever?
     
  13. crazyguypete

    crazyguypete Member

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    You are correct. I misspoke. I should of said D mo had the opportunity to become the starting power forward during the second half of the season and showed he has potential but in the end was sent to the bench because our back up three played better at that position. D mo may become a good player and it is early (I do think he has 2 years left to show whether he is an NBA caliber player) but at best realistically we can only say he has potential.
     
  14. crazyguypete

    crazyguypete Member

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    Thank you, and having a real hard day putting your thoughts down and hearing what other people think is very therapeutic.
     
  15. crazyguypete

    crazyguypete Member

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    I really would like to know what others think of McHale.

    Howard's back problems are a legitimate concern and no one thought Westbrook would get injured but he did and it cost the Thunder a year where they were title contenders. There really is a window and it is quite precarious.
     
  16. jtr

    jtr Contributing Member

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    Simplicity is a virtue. This applies to both to you and the OP.
     
  17. Aleron

    Aleron Contributing Member

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    It's playing Dwight less for Dwight
     
  18. jtr

    jtr Contributing Member

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    You would like to know what others think about McHale? That issue was resolved last season. Please consult the GARM threads.

    No health issue is of a concern if it is a one off. Get real. Are you worried that the food poisoning of Parsons is going to return? Ruptured discs require a lengthy recovery but quite unlike micro-fracture surgery they generally are not indicative of future health. Is my distaste showing through?

    I answered every one of your questions succinctly. Evidently there are few that disagree. What more do you want except to extend the conversation?
     
    #18 jtr, Aug 9, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2013
  19. epicbeardabe

    epicbeardabe Contributing Member

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  20. jtr

    jtr Contributing Member

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    To harsh of a response to the great take you delivered. Apologies. And I cannot believe the lack of interest in your thread. I admire it for how many meaningless future threads it short circuits. But all rolled into one your post is admirable.
     

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