The All-Star starters have just been announced. The Rockets are currently at 12-10 and would like to gain traction in an increasingly tight Southwest Division race. They are currently tied with the Grizzlies for the ninth seed and a game out of the playoffs behind the Lakers.
1. Fact or Fiction: Houston will have a winning record this month.
Eric Todd, Red94: Fact. The expectation is that Lowry’s recent slump is the anomaly, not his fast start. February’s schedule should allow the Rockets to keep their heads above water, if just barely.
Favian Pua, Red94: Fiction. The Rockets might be headed to a 7-8 or 6-9 record this month as strength of schedule catches up. They will be traveling to Denver, Memphis, and Portland while playing host to the Thunder and Sixers. It could get ugly.
Michael Pina, Re94: Fact. With five back-to-backs and seven of their 15 games on the road, it won’t be easy. But Houston will catch a break by playing four of the teams twice, which is wonderful for familiarity purposes. Also, the competition isn’t exactly dominant: Phoenix (twice), Golden State, Toronto, Utah (twice), and Minnesota (twice).
2. Fact or Fiction: The Rockets will send an All-Star Game representative to Orlando.
Eric: Fact. Kevin Martin will be Kobe’s back-up at the two, not so much because Martin is having a break-out year, but more-so because the lack of super-star shooting guards in the Western Conference will make him the de-facto choice for most coaches.
Favian: Fiction. Kyle Lowry has slumped ever since his triple-double, and the recency effect psychology will definitely play a significant role when the coaches place their ballots.
Michael: Fact. I know he’s sputtered in the last week or so, but the body of work Kyle Lowry has put together this year can’t be overlooked. When you combine his two-way talent with all the responsibilities the coaching staff has placed on his shoulders, Lowry qualifies as one of those early season MVP candidates with no actual shot at winning the award. He’s been fantastic this year.
Eric: Fact. This rumor has been circulating now for a few weeks, and though the trade would certainly not propel the Rockets into the upper echelon of NBA talent, it would improve the team in the short term without burdening its future salary commitments. All this, of course, assumes that Kaman is in shape enough to actually play.
Favian:Fact. The Hornets could seriously consider what Houston is offering them (Thabeet/Williams/Hill/Flynn) provided that the Rockets include the 2012 first round pick acquired from the Knicks. Does it make the Rockets stronger overall? Yes, but only for half a season. He’s a rental and won’t be around for the long haul.
Michael: Fiction. For all intents and purposes, I don’t see why the Hornets would bite on a Hasheem Thabeet, Jonny Flynn, Terrence Williams pu pu platter, or why the Rockets would include a Knicks draft pick that’s increasing in value by the day. Placing Kaman on the Rockets would make Houston a match-up nightmare come playoff time, but the two sides arriving at a fair deal seems unlikely.