Season Previews: Houston Rockets

Season Preview:
Houston Rockets

The Rockets are a hard team to figure out. They spent a good bit of time and effort compiling pieces, trying to swing a big trade from one of those teams looking to dump a superstar for pieces. Part 1 of the plan worked great, part 2? Not so much. 34-32 a year ago, the Rockets kept swinging for the fences for ANYONE to replace Yao Ming.

Key Free Agent Acquisitions

Good: 

Omer Asik– Yet another Center being thrown in to replace Yao Ming. I don’t think he solves the problem, but in 15 minutes per game he got five boards a game. Can he be a low double-double guy? I think he has to be, who else is going to rebound? By the way, he’s getting paid more than Lin over the next 3 years.
Jon Brockman – He’s got a HUGE work ethic, and McHale is going to love this guy. The problem is, he’s not the type of talent to take minutes away from first round picks that need court time. He’s an 8/9/10 guy on a title team you want.
Shaun Livingston- If the knees work, can provide scoring on any defense. Again, does he matter on THIS team?

Bad:

Jeremy Lin– Yeah, I’m on the bandwagon.
That this is a bad deal.
Unitas was cut, Warner was cut, but name me the last basketball player to EVER not do crap, then go on to be the best player on a title team. Heck Jordan was cut in JUNIOR high, not at age 25. The closest that comes to mind (in 30 years of NBA watching) is John Starks, who rolled up a growth spurt and was what? The 4th best player on that team?
So let’s talk Lin. How’s his defense? How does he use picks? How does he move without the ball?
Exactly. Lin’s a scorer and a driver, and if he gets hurt and loses a step, he doesn’t have any tools to compensate.

Neither:

JaJuan Johnson– can play both forward positions, but is a throw-in to any trade.
Toney Douglas– Camp backup
Gary Forbes– Gone in camp
Sean Williams– Gone in camp

Key Losses to Free Agency

Good:

Goran Dragic
Courtney Lee

I’m lumping these two together, as they are both 11 PPG guys that give a little bit extra, but are cleared out to make room for Lin. If he doesn’t work out, they aren’t going to miss these guys, but they are NBA-caliber players. If Lin doesn’t work out, they can’t be here taking minutes away from the D-league tryouts.

Bad:

Marcus Camby– Older than Dirt, good defender and can eat minutes in the paint. Wasted on this team unless he wants to player/coach Omar. But you HAVE to get something for a guy that gave you NINE rebounds a game!

Samuel Dalembert– Traded for a draft pick, decent center in a division that has post players. Dalembert is yet another player that you want on your team.

Kyle Lowry-Kyle had a lot of problems with McHale and the soon learned that there are worse places than Kevin’s old home in Minny- Toronto. 6.6 APG is nothing to sneeze at, but going all in on Lin made him expendable.

Luis Scola: The Rockets best player by a pretty good margin.

Neither:

Chase Budinger: Not helpful or hurtful, a good minutes eater, but not going to win any games either.

 

Draft/Trades

Donatas Montiejunas– Coming over from Europe, the first rounder from 2011 is another 7-foot lightweight highpost shooter.

Jeremy Lamb– 1 and doner from Uconn. Gonna be a backup. Good defender, but again, not exactly exciting.

Traded G Courtney Lee to Boston for F JaJuan Johnson, G E’Twaun Moore and F-C Sean Williams and a 2013 second-round draft pick. Acquired the rights to G Job Diebler from Portland and Boston sent G-F Sasha Pavlovic to Portland.

Traded G Kyle Lowery to Toronto for F Gary Forbes and an unspecified first-round draft pick.

Signed C Marcus Camby and traded him to New York for G Toney Douglas, C Josh Harrellson, C Jerome Jordan and two unspecified second-round draft picks.

Traded C Samuel Dalembert, the 2012 14th overall draft pick, a future second-round draft pick and cash considerations to Milwaukee for F Jon Brockman, F Jon Leuer, G Shaun Livingston and the 2012 12th overall pick.

Depth Chart
Omer Asik  / Donatas Motiejunas / Greg Smith
Patrick Patterson / Terrence Jones / Marcus Morris
Chandler Parsons / Royce White / Gary Forbes
Kevin Martin / Jeremy Lamb / Carlos Delfino
Jeremy Lin / Toney Douglas / Shaun Livingston
Prediction

The Rockets have a lot of decent to good players, but not any that I really care about. I liked Scola, and was a pretty big Dalembert fan, and Lowry is pretty good. None are going to be option 1 on a title team, but add a Kobe or LBJ to this team, and they are a threat, add a Garnett or a Duncan and possibly a title team. This team? Even farther away. Only Martin can be the third best player on a contender. Even if Omar is Mutumbo 2.0 and Lin is Isiah Thomas without the defense, I don’t see them getting much better than .500. As is, I’ll put them 4th in the SW.

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3 Comments

  1. Trading Dalembert – mistake
    Trading Budinger – mistake
    Amnestying Scola – HUGE mistake

    Orlando should’ve taken the trade offer. They would’ve received a better collection of young players/picks. Houston will be in the lottery the next several years.

    Houston just wants a big man that the fan base can love much like Hakeem, Sampson, Yao.

    I think Lamb is their breakout player this year. Then they can deal Martin.

  2. I actually like the moves Morey made in an attempt to get Dwight Howard. The Rockets as they were still were not a playoff team, so why not try to blow the whole thing up in an attempt to land a star? It didn’t work but there are some interesting players on the roster, and who knows the Rockets might get lucky and find that difference maker through the draft.

  3. They are full-on tank this year. I like the rookies they picked up, which is why I said Orlando should’ve taken the trade. I’m interested to see if Royce White overcomes his fear of flying soon. Seems to me the Rockets would pay for a therapist to expedite this.

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