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What must this Rockets team answer to be a contender?

Discussion in 'Houston Rockets: Game Action & Roster Moves' started by Sweet Lou 4 2, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. Sweet Lou 4 2

    Sweet Lou 4 2 Contributing Member
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    This is clearly the Rockets best team since 1997. You can argue Yao-Mac being better 1-2 punch than H & H, but overall team wise Lin/Parsons/Asik >> Rafer/Battier/Hayes - not to mention the reserves, not to mention this team is FAR YOUNGER than the last healthy Yao-Mac team - which in my view, never had either the role players necessary, or the healthy stars necessary - to be a legit title contender.

    This team is much closer, and it's a great time to be a Rockets fan for sure. But I was thinking, what are the questions that this team must answer to truly be able to knock of a OKC, SA, or Miami in a tough playoff series.

    James Harden:
    The only chink in his game is the trouble he has with longer, stronger, athletic defenders. Harden isn't the type to elevate over such defenders like Kobe can, and he's not strong enough to out muscle them...but it's nothing that a quick screen doesn't usually solve. Still being able to post up inside the 3 point line is a needed element to his game, as well as learning what to do when he isn't getting the foul calls. As for his defense - it's unlikely that James will ever be a great defender, but he will at some point need to be able to lock-down in crunch time. He has the ability to play strong D, so it's not too big of a concern right now. When a series is on the line, great players tend to pull out their gifts in unexpected ways.
    Question is can he make those adjustments when he is not getting the calls and has guys longer more athletic defenders on him. Answer: Probably

    Dwight Howard:
    It appears that he is fully bought in, and with Hakeem & McHale, there's no doubt in my mind his post play won't improve. I also don't seem him having a problem getting the ball. I really am convinced that he's going to be happy in Houston - he's not only matured, but I think he knows that he's got 2 strikes and in the court of public opinion he is out of excuses. In terms of his FT shooting, I suspect happiness will do a lot to improve it - as much as it can be. Hard to believe that any kind of coaching is going to improve it on a 27 year old. But Shaq and Duncan prove you don't need to be a great at the charity stripe to win a ring. So what's his biggest question mark? Health. The real X factor is what no one knows, not even DH - and that's how that back is going to hold up when he really starts pushing himself. An NBA big man has two big weaknesses. His back, and his feet. We all know about feet. But just ask LJ about what a back injury can do to your career.
    Question: Will his back be strong? Answer: Let's hope so

    Chandler Parsons:
    Probably the best player dollar for dollar in the NBA right now - and it's amazing the positive energy he brings to this team. If he was older, he'd be team captain without a doubt. Taking Lin under his wing, recruiting Dwight, and repping us at the draft. He's quickly becoming a leader for sure. And his play is improving at an incredible rate. Not just from one season to another, but his Mar/April stats were all-star worth, shooting over 50% fg and 44% 3 fg. No wonder Morey is so high on him. If there is one kink, then it might be his defense. Not terrible, but overall, the teams perimeter defense is weak. But with Harden focused on offense, Parsons has to pick up some of the slack or DH is going to get over-run.
    Question: Will he keep getting better at D Answer: First month will tell us a lot

    Power Forward:
    DMo disappointed last year - but in fairness, he's ridiculously young despite all that talent. He's shown us flashes of brilliance but has yet to really put a string of games together that shows he can score, play smart D, and make mature decisions all around. TJ also showed flashes of brilliance but again, has yet to show he can leave a consistent impact on both ends of the floor. While the perfect power forward is going to have a mid-range to 3 point jumper like 2Pat, the bigger question is just overall play. Again, you can't leave Asik/Howard to defend the rim and rebound on their own.
    Question: Can either Jones or DMO step up and assert themselves as the starter at the 4? Answer: Probably not anytime soon

    Jeremy Lin:
    Lin is well, the most argued over player on this forum. He definitely improved quite a bit over the season, but he still faces critical questions. Multiple ones. From his outside shooting, to weather or not he can handle the pressure of premier defenders which at times can make him look like he is in over his head. It's expected with time he will grow and learn to deal with the defense - slower point guards have learn this and Lin doesn't lack intelligence, and he works hard. By the same token, he's a solid passer, and has reduced his turnovers. And his jump shot has improved and there's no reason to think that he can not shoot 37% from 3pg next season, if not better...and he definitely should strive to do better. He'll never be a great on the ball defender, very rarely do players improve in this area...but if the above issues get addressed, he doesn't have to be.
    Question: Can Jeremy Lin mature his game fast enough to earn McHale's and Morey's trust before getting traded? Answer: Check back on Feb 1st
     
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  2. 2016Champions

    2016Champions Member

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    As long as we play the same way we will be a contender. We ran alot of pick and rolls last season, without running any post play. Dwight ranked 9th at pick and roll efficiency and Harden ranked 5th at pick and roll handling via Synergy Sports, together they could be a top 10 pick and roll duo in NBA history (possibility higher if Dwight FULLY commits himself to the pick and roll).

    I'm not 100% convinced we will play the same way though. Dwight has made it no secret that he has delusions of himself as a good post-up player. Last season Dwight took 402 shot attempts on post-ups despite ranking 649th on post-up efficiency, and 103 attempts on pick and rolls. There is room for optimism though.

    "Who's going to stop that pick and roll?" said Dwight Howard during his convo with Stephen A. Smith", and just like that I was given a glimmer of hope. #OptimisticRocketsFan
     
  3. PeppermintCandy

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    For the longest time, we seemed to have either a team that had strong starters but weak bench (TMac-Yao era, last year's Harden-led lineup), or else we had weak starters but a strong bench (Lowry/Landry/Budinger bench era, with starting linup that had stars injured or absent).

    Right now, we've moved to the strong starters-weak bench formula. Keeping Asik would really help the bench, but more probably needs to be done before getting that championship balance.
     
  4. tmacfor35

    tmacfor35 Contributing Member

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    Run pick and rolls all day to give Dwight better post up chances.
     
  5. Phillyrocket

    Phillyrocket Member

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    But this time our stars are young and pretty healthy. Morey has proven over and over that he can find strong players in the second round or through trades. Landry, Lowry, Scola, Parsons, Bud, the results speak for themselves. Asik, Parsons, Lin, and Garcia are great complimentary pieces. I have high hopes for Canaan as well. Wish Jones would step up but I think by the trade deadline we make a move for a PF.
     
  6. dragonz

    dragonz Member

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    really? thats the question & answer?

    the question will be: DEFENSE

    the answer is: WE DON'T KNOW YET
     
  7. wendzall

    wendzall Member

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    what about coaching? what adjustments must mchale and team make?
     
  8. deshen

    deshen Member

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    a few to list:

    1. Harden. He is going to play all-star level in the regular season, but the challenge will be in the playoffs when he won't be able to get as many FTs. Solution is to give the ball to DH12 in the playoffs, and then DH12 has 50s in FT%.....

    2. Coaching, coaching experience in playoffs will be desperately needed for a deep run.

    3. Bench. We need players who can score off the bench in a consistent base.
     
  9. laserguy183

    laserguy183 Member

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    We also need an enforcer: a KG, MWP, Rasheed sort of player. Hopefully Beverley can play that role.
     
  10. Sweet Lou 4 2

    Sweet Lou 4 2 Contributing Member
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    Based on what I've seen so far, I think McHale is a championship caliber coach. No questions there. And thus far, our bench looks pretty decent. We need to decide who is going to be the 6th man spark plug. Is it PB? The problem with Bev is that he isn't really a scorer.

    So that's a role we will need to fill.

    People talk about Defense, but that will come with time. It's honestly not that critical right now. The harder part is to get everyone click on offense together.
     
  11. fattz

    fattz Member

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    Asik, Garcia, Beverley is a solid bench, IMO. And the hope of D-Mo and our new rookies. That is if T.Jones starts
     
  12. larsv8

    larsv8 Contributing Member

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    I don't think we are real contenders at the moment, but we are primed two years from now, as we have some time for Morey to round out the team.

    1.) We really need a lockdown wing defender, ala Battier, Bowen type who can tackle the opposing teams best perimeter guy. I had hopes Parsons would be that guy, but he regressed defensively last year.
    2.) We need to solve the PF problem. Hopefully Jones can develop into something good, but a veteran would be ideal. A legit post game would be a huge bonus.
    3.) We might end up needing a better coach. I like McHale, alot actually, but it has yet to be seen how McHale can perform deep in the playoffs. A transition to more of an execution coach rather than a developmental coach might be necessary if he is significantly out coached in the playoffs.
     
  13. bootsdaddy

    bootsdaddy Member

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    649th is really bad in a 450 player league
     
  14. Sweet Lou 4 2

    Sweet Lou 4 2 Contributing Member
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    I think a locked down defender is pretty rare. Afterall, after Battier and Bowen, there's not many. Parsons won't be that guy. You need someone who is both very strong and very quick, and longish. But is a lock-down defender required to win a ring? I think not.

    You look at the way SA defended LeBron...which was just brilliant, and it wasn't with a locked down defender. It wasn't just Leonard, it was an entire team philosophy.

    The PF doesn't need a post-game, not with D.H. anymore. In fact, we need a guy who can be effective away from the post. I doubt Jones can fill that role. And I think Dmo is far away.

    As for McHale as a coach. Again, there's plenty of guys who are not X's and O's sort of coaches who win rings. I think he can be the right kind of coach.
     
  15. 713

    713 Member

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    Kill Lebron
     
  16. Classic

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    We need someone at the 4 who won't consistently be a big - in the +/- column.

    We need Lin to have more confidence and make more crisp decisions with the basketball.

    We need to find a way to utilize Asik & Dwight together (if we retain Asik) for maybe 10 to 14 min a game.

    We need some lucky breaks along the way. Catch the Mavs and Dirk be on suspension, catch the Heat but Wade be out, get some calls our way to get Hibbert in foul trouble early...you know, those little difference makers along the way to home court.

    We need consistent play from our bench/role players as they make a big difference over a long 82 game campaign: Bev, Dmo, Casspi, Garcia, Tjones

    I think we can get all those things, just will take time for the pieces to gel. Glad a lot of these guys are already playing together this summer and working on their games.
     
  17. dobro1229

    dobro1229 Contributing Member

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    Loved what Bill Worrell said yesterday on 1560 the game.

    "You dont have to have a superstar at every position"

    Its very true. Right now on paper I think this team as contructed has the potential to be a true contender with the Harden/Howard/Parsons dynamic being as potent as it looks to be on paper.

    The PG and the PF position have alot of question marks at this point (PG/Lin is mostly about fit.... Lin is good FYI), but the core is there on paper to be dynamic. Giving realistic answers though about their results in a loaded Western Conference is hard to do at this point.

    The PF spot is going to be the position to watch out for early on in the season. Can T. Jones play at the level he plays at in lower level games consistently in the NBA? Can D-Mo grow into his potential? Will the Rockets defensively be able to go small with Garcia/Parsons/Casspi at the 4 spot?, Will Asik be able to come out to the high post in order to play Asik & Howard together?.... Just alot of intriguing possibilities.

    The honest answer is we just have to wait and see how they jell together, and pray for good health.

    -Right now no further roster moves are necessary unless two situations present themselves-

    -Quality veteran player shakes loose and is able to sign at the vet. min.
    -all-star/no brainer player comes available in trade that allows the Rockets to truly bring in a 3rd (and potentially 4th if you think Parsons can get even better) star player to this team.
     
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  18. Sweet Lou 4 2

    Sweet Lou 4 2 Contributing Member
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    If Lin can polish his game a bit more and hit 40% I think we are good at the 4. Biggest concern with Lin is if he can handle a defensive point guard putting pressure on him. He's struggled with that but I think he can grow into it.

    the 4 is really what breaks our back as a contender. It's a huge weakness, and DH will need help there. Not sure if Asik can play the 4 without clogging the lane since he has no jump shot, and his man will just stay close to the paint.

    I tell you, if we could get LMA with just moving Asik + filler that would elevate this team from maybe a contender to probably the top team in the league.
     
  19. Wolverrines

    Wolverrines Member

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    Harden has to show that he can act like he can d up. He has to know more then 2-3 moves in scoring and stop trying to draw fouls. Score the ball with contact rather then flop as a means to draw a foul

    Parson well nothing the most solid and constent player last season outside of Asik last season.

    Lin needs to be a better spot up shooter and also be better on defense. Work better with Harden

    Howard just needs to be 90% of what he was in Orlando.

    And one of Jones and Motie needs average for at least 70% of the season.
     
  20. bball_lifer

    bball_lifer Member

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    Man, I am so pumped for the season. When does preseason start, October?
     

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