On contention

There are about four questions that people ask over the course of the NBA season. “How does he compare to Jordan” is probably number one, asked about seemingly half the league, with “Will this team make the playoffs soon” at a close number two. The last two, in no particular order are “Will this player get traded” and “Is this team a contender.” Well, Houston’s more or less a playoff lock now, nobody on the team is comparable to Jordan, and everyone is always on the trading block, so that leaves the last question to burn in the minds of Rockets fans. But what makes a contender in the first place? What’s the rubric there, and how do we use it to judge Houston?

To jump to the end a bit, the answer is no. The Rockets aren’t a true contender. (They could potentially win it all but it would take a few major things to swing their way. Some people call these teams “sub-contenders.”) They were in the same boat last year, and probably aren’t greatly different in terms of overall team strength. They’ve changed out parts but what they haven’t changed out are the pieces that a team needs to win it all: stars, elite coaching and cohesive, skilled role-players.

Do you want to know my theory of what makes a true contender? Probably you do, or you’d have stopped reading by now. I briefly outlined it in a recent podcast, and it’s worth a longer look. It’s really a simple mathematical equation. You need at least three points. Star level players are worth one point each. An elite coach and an elite supporting cast are each worth one point each. The math is really that simple. The process of getting those three points, of course, is anything but.

The Rockets, as with a number of teams, are stuck at two points. Those two points are James Harden and Dwight Howard. The supporting cast last season was quite good, but not on the same level as the clockwork that was the San Antonio Spurs or the blue collar perfection of the Pacers (when they were good). That cause was also hindered by not having an elite coach. Kevin McHale isn’t elite. In fact, he was so loathe to use his bench depth that he may have pulled the Rockets back from contention a bit.

This explains why the Spurs are always right there: Tony Parker is a legitimate star, even if Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan have slid a bit. Gregg Popovich is a top three NBA coach of all time, and their supporting case is like alien technology so advanced that it seems like magic. Heck, with Tim playing like a star, the Spurs may have achieved the elusive four-star team, which is basically unstoppable. Oh, and look what happened. The Heat, with their three stars initially, bulldozed their way in. It’s largely overlooked, but Erik Spoelstra evolved into an elite coach for that team as Dwyane Wade faded.

The most frightening thing about this metric is that it paints the Dallas Mavericks as potential contenders. Dirk is probably still a star, Rick Carlisle is a top three coach right now, and their supporting cast might be great. If any year has looked like a potential repeat of 2011 for Dallas, it’s this season. It’ll be a roll of the dice, but if Dirk and the role players click particularly well, Houston could have a realistic shot at the conference finals and still end up being the worst team in Texas.

Houston has a similar hope to Dallas, which is that the role players just get it. It’s possible, especially given the number of prospects Houston is bringing in. (And that like Dallas, the coaching won’t be improving… but for different reasons) There are more veterans, too, like Trevor Ariza, who will somehow be a boon to the team, despite some hard feelings from last time he wore Rockets red. General manager Daryl Morey is surely planning a trade this season, and the main question is whether he’ll land that elusive third star or upgrade the supporting cast into an elite squad. Either way, Houston wants that third point this season, and they might just get it. If we’re really lucky, this might be the year we get to see the Rockets lose later than the first round.

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Total comments: 84
  • Steven says 3 weeks ago Rockets win 60 games this season.
  • thejohnnygold says 3 weeks ago

    ...and the hits keep on coming....LINK

    ESPN and their panel of experts (including our very own Rahat Huq and Michael Pina :wub:) have predicted that only the Lakers are more likely to descend into turmoil this season.

    Ahead of such teams as Indiana, Golden State, Miami, or Minnesota!!! (only Indy made the top 5!)

    GSW- fired their player-loved coach after a very good season, dangled players in the Love trade and ultimately did little to improve the roster while bringing in Steve Kerr who single-handedly brought down the Phoenix Suns during Steve Nash's prime as the GM. Lots of potential for "turmoil" here.

    Miami--this one's obvious....moving on.

    Minnesota--also pretty obvious--how does this train wreck not make the top 5?

    Indy--at least they have validity to their turmoil.

    What about Detroit? Van Gundy is not going to tolerate their garbage very long--can he rein in Jennings and Josh Smith? I wish they did a Hard Knocks-type show for basketball and Detroit was the team.

    Meanwhile, the reasoning for Houston scoring that #2 rank is the same old broken record. We lost 3 of our top 7 players and only replaced them with Ariza. Our PG and PF are below average (despite being the same ones from last season which helped get us to 4th place). James Harden says things....blah, blah, blah...

    I really should ignore all these things. At this point, I find it funny.

    EDIT: forgot to ask Rahat and Michael--who did you guys vote for?...if you don't mind sharing.

  • thejohnnygold says 4 weeks ago

    I'd say that if a max playerat his leveldoesn'tthink of themselves as the best player, there's a problem.

    Fake it 'til you make it...I believe is the phrase of choice. It makes sense. I have no problem with Harden saying he is the best--at the same time he acknowledges that until he starts putting up some MVP's and Championships it's only words. I know this tradition goes as far back as Muhammed Ali, and might even stretch back beyond Jessie Owens (who should have said it, but for obvious reasons restrained himself) to Babe Ruth--at least as far as modern competition goes. Did gladiators not practice the same ideal in Rome?

    Every professional athlete these days knows another phrase: "to be the best, you've got to beat the best". I have no doubt James Harden, and the rest of the team, are more aware of their dismal showing against the likes of the Clips and Thunder than any of us. Everyone lauded Lin for how humble he is (although he recently spoke out and corrected his fans stating that his biggest sin is pride--which they turned around to emphasize how humble he is to recognize his own faults :lol: ) and Harden gets slammed for his ego. Yet, would we want it any other way? Irrational Confidence Guy(thanks for the term, Bill Simmons) is always a fan favorite--except Harden for some reason. I can say this: at the end of a game I want the ball in the hands of the guy who believes, to his very core, that he is the best and can do what needs to be done.

    @Marbony81110

    I appreciate your bravery in delving into the pits of ESPN comment sections. :lol:

    One of my favorites is when a poster will cite a figure (that is completely made up) and then, over a very short period of time, that figure becomes a fact because no one actually looks up their own information. There was a guy who said (basically), "It's easy to put up points when you take 50 shots a night". Someone is going to throw that in our faces sooner than later as if it is indisputable fact. Which takes us back to the flow chart....

    @RBF

    Thanks for the kind words--always appreciated. I love this place too. I agree with you about how awful it would be to be in the same shoes as these athletes with the media waiting for any verbal misstep to take to the masses and call you a witch--it has nearly reached a level of McCarthyism where your reputation, career, and possibly more can be destroyed simply through finger pointing. If it were me, I would memorize one phrase and repeat it for every, single question....

    Reporter: "Who is the best player in the NBA?"

    Me: "Thanks for the question. First, I love my team. I love my job and I love the city and people I play for. I'm going to continue working as hard as I can to make us the best we can be. Speaking of that, I've got to get back to work. Have a nice day."

    Reporter: "But you didn't answer the question?!?!"

    Me: "Sorry, gotwork to do ....(as I'm walking away)"

    You can't get away with that Popovich/Belichek stuff until after you win some championships B) I recognize it's not this easy because the league has media requirements that are built into the deal. The fact that people have to be questioned during the emotion and heat of a game makes it that much harder (something I despise). I can say without hesitation that if I were interviewed immediately after a tough loss when I was in my early 20's they would have had to cut off the microphone. People who are highly competitive tend to not take losing very well--those that do are a rare breed--particularly when they are young.

    Harden will learn to speak "media-nese" eventually. It's too bad that he has to. I love hearing athletes speak with candor, but usually they can only do that once their career is over.

  • Red94 says 4 weeks ago

    I'd say that if a max playerat his leveldoesn'tthink of themselves as the best player, there's a problem.

  • marbony81110 says 4 weeks ago

    @JG

    I don't post often, but I had to respond to the interview. I read the interview and the posted comments. Apparently Harden is a volume shooter, the WORST defender in the NBA, and one of the worst SGs in the NBA. There were a couple fact driven comments on there, but the majority were Harden-bashers with no evidence, facts, or details to support their claims. Its like you said, if things go right we can be the best and if things go wrong would could be somewhere in the bottom(highly unlikely). I believe a 4 or 5 seed is realistic. I believe Harden will beeven more effective and efficient on offense with some defensive improvement, mainly to prove people wrong. We all know he can defend it is just his effort at times.

  • rockets best fan says 4 weeks ago

    @JG

    YEAH...........there will be backlash from that. I can see it now........."Harden disc KD and Lebron say he's best player" and the pundit will run with it. the reality is you can ask a dozen or so players in the leaguewho will probably tell you they are the best. it doesn't mean they are, but they have the confidence they are. nobody will pay attention to the parts where he's talking about the need to get better or work hard in the gym. they will pick at the one or two sentencesthat can create headlines. in an age where social media in addition to the main stream media can pick every word, action and damn near thought of these athletes apart the only way to keep from saying something that can't be twisted is to say nothing at all. for example look at D-Mo's recent comments that were twisted so far to the left it became a different story. I hate to say it, but the mass majority of sport fans are lemmings to this process. being told what is good and bad through the eyes of the author. problem is usually only the negative stuff will generate headlines so rarely does the good outweigh the bad. I would hate to live in a bubble where peoples were following me aroundwaiting to broadcast my every misstep, making every mole hill into amountain.

    that's the reason I like it here. I read a lot of Forums, but I'm only a member of one. the members here aren't lemmings to the process. there are other good sites.......problem is each thread eventually turns into a pissing contestthat overpowers the intelligent conversation. here we talk with each other.......not at each other. yeah there's plenty of disagreement, but rarely does it degenerate to thegutter before some intervention takes place. I want to take a second to recognize our mods in their effortsto uphold that standard. you make the reading experience here pleasurable. without your steady hand we could easily slipbelow standards we all agreeare necessary for intelligent conversation. I don't envy what you do. it's a real job handling some of the newbies and rookies until they either bring their thought process up to standard or leave. these last 2years with the influx of Lin fans this task was more than a hand full I know. thanks for your dedication guys. your efforts do not go unnoticed. to the other members here.....you have enriched my basketball experience through having a place I can discuss basketball with others who understand the game also.

  • thejohnnygold says 4 weeks ago

    @TTDN--that's what I was getting at. It's ascratch my back and I'll scratch yourssituation where readers are spoon fed what validates their beliefs and the media reaps the rewards of the almighty dollar. Everybody wins and all it costs is the truth. :unsure:

    ....and then this happened....LINK

    Scoop Jackson interviewed Harden. I can't wait for the backlash from fans. I enjoyed reading about 50 or so of the comments below the article--the majority of which were ignorance fueled hate.

    Here is the transcript:

    (sorry if the formatting is off--I just copy/pasted it. The linked page is probably easier to read.)

    Scoop:Bottom line, you are on this team and a lot of players aren't, but in your mind, who is the best basketball player alive right now?

    Harden:Myself.

    Scoop:That's what I was about to say, "including you." You made that sound like it was an easy answer.

    Harden:It is. Myself.

    nba_g_harden55_cr_300x300.jpg James Harden says it's all about the team, not the individual, for the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

    Scoop:Then here's the question: Are you where you want to be basketball-wise, even if you are the best?

    Harden:Nowhere near close. I've got a long way to go, a lot of learning to do, improvements to make. Um, you know, as long as I'm listening and focused on the right things, I can reach my potential.

    Scoop:So in your mind, you haven't reached [your potential> yet?

    Harden:Not even close.

    Scoop:Then how do you get there? Does that come from work? Is it mental? Does it happen during the NBA season? What?

    Harden:It comes through everything. Work ethic. Being in the gym all of the time. In events like this, learning from the best coaches, Coach K [Mike Krzyzewski>, [Tom> Thibodeau and Monty Williams. Watching film. Watching other people play. I mean, you just, it's a variety of things where I learn and better my game.

    Scoop:When you were a kid, did you ever think about things like this? Like, did you say: "I'm going to start for USA," "I'm going to play on the Olympic team," "I can see myself as being one of the best players alive." I mean, was that where your mind was or was it just about hoopin'?

    Harden:I was just hoopin'. I was just hoopin' and trying to get better every single day, you know. Never would I have thought that I'd be in the position I am now. But now that I am in it, I gotta take full advantage of it. I have to make sure I'm not taking any days off, make sure every day that I'm working hard to compete. Because, you know, there are always people out there working hard.

    Scoop:Yeah, because [I believe if people enjoy> the process that comes with working hard, the end results will take care of themselves.

    Harden:Right, right.

    Scoop:So you can attest to that?

    Harden:Man, I'm focused. Focused on the right things. That's how I got to this point thus far. You know, you focus on the right things, you're doing the right things, and great things will come in the end.

    Scoop:Exactly.

    Harden:And now I'm in the situation that I am now by hard work, my work ethic and focus.

    Scoop:Has your confidence changed from, like, say, coming out of college?

    Harden:Oh yeah, skyrocketed. Definitely. You know in college felt like I was, uh, a pretty good basketball player.

    Scoop:That's what I'm trying to get to! I do know. I didn't mean to cut you off, but I remember you when you were in college and you played and you are still kinda, "I'm a badass. I still will get it in on anybody!"

    Harden:Yeah, I was. But my confidence grows every year. From when I was a little kid to being the sixth man at OKC. Having that confidence, having that swag coming off the bench. And now my role with the Rockets to being on the USA team. You know, my confidence just keeps getting better. But I've always been confident because, as I said, of my work ethic. You put so much work in the gym; you know you've put those reps in with those moves. If you don't do that, you wouldn't have the confidence to go out there and do it at this high level.

    Scoop:Do you come to practice every day with the mentality that, "OK, I need to show them that I'm the best player in here because I'm not going to really get a chance until maybe the Olympics or next year to prove to these guys that I am better than everyone else around me?"

    Harden:No, it's more team. I'm not really focused on me individually. They don't really care about individual talents on this team. They just want to make sure everyone has the same mindset. The one goal to win the world championship. I think that's what's on everyone's minds.

    Scoop:Best time of your life right now?

    Harden:Yeah. Definitely. I'm enjoying this. Still trying to catch guys like LeBron, KD and Kobe. You know, just trying to catch those guys. That's something I get to look forward to every single day to motivate me.

    Scoop:That'syour motivation? Still those guys? Because you know you can still serve them on the court every now and then.

    Harden:Listen [long pause>, until I get rings I can't say anything.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A bit of a fluff piece. I liked some of his comments about being team-oriented and focused on that; although, it does seem like being the "best" is important to him on an individual level.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 4 weeks ago But we are better....

    Mainstream media is not mostly journalism(sorry Rahat). There are some journalists, but most mainstream sports media is narrative driven by what's popular. Many have lamented about ESPN becoming TMZ and they have a point. If you understand that the media will try to sensationalize events/stories and that most of it is facts skewed/slanted to fit the narrative, then you realize the truth. I've also noted that facts that don't fit the narrative are often ignored.

    This process is also seen with political coverage on news networks. As long as Americans are fine with it and it's more successful than actual journalism, it will continue to happen. You just have to view everything you watch/see/ read/listen etc.... through a filter and try to understand what the reporter/company is trying to accomplish by reporting something.
  • thejohnnygold says 4 weeks ago

    I'll go to TDS sometimes, I completly avoid clutch fans though. It's way too chaotic.

    To clarify--I'm not saying there is a right or wrong here nor am I saying that we are betterthan anyone else. Mostly, I'm saying that we represent a minority. When we look at mass media we do not see a reflection of our own vision of reality. Hence, it can seem like the world is against us when in actuality it is we who go against the world.

  • Buckko says 4 weeks ago I'll go to TDS sometimes, I completly avoid clutch fans though. It's way too chaotic.
  • rockets best fan says 4 weeks ago

    @JG

    basketball scientists? I like that :)no doubt this forumhas way more basketball knowledgeable membersthan just about any site I have read. sometimes bigger isn't better. so we give up a little size for quality of membership.........I can live with that.

  • Buckko says 4 weeks ago

    We have 769 members :blink: . Good points JG.

  • thejohnnygold says 4 weeks ago

    If we can allow for our nerdy obsession with basketball (and sports in general) to be labeled as "science"--making us, in a strange way, scientists--this flow chart sums up the situation pretty well.

    Scientists-and-journalists.jpg

    It's a bit of a stretch for sure, but the point is obvious. Most journalists are curious organic machines that transform facts into opinions in exchange for money. Objective journalism just doesn't sell the way sensationalism does; hence, we live in a world where information is sold to us and we gravitate towards which perspective is most agreeable.

    If the masses had their way, imagine what every news source would be like. Does nobody wonder why this Rockets' Forum, despite being directly affiliated to the Mother Ship of Sports, ESPN, has the smallest member community (Clutchfans has 50,000+ members compared to our 769)? Think about that....

    Despite our disagreements and different perspectives we all share in a common desire for wisdom through knowledge and understanding (you know, since experienceas a learning tool is kind of off the table for 99.9% of us who have no chance of playing in the NBA). That, sadly, is far from the norm.

    This is why--when guys like Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Jeff Van Gundy, and even Charles Barkley speak--we listen. Their perspective, agreed with or not, comes from direct experience and has a quality that we, as scientific observers of the game, cannot get directly.

    Until the season ends, none of us know what our future holds. There is a reason journalists do not get hired to run teams (unless you count Hollinger, but I don't, and he would be the exception that proves the rule). This team, as it stands, is good enough to finish in first place if things go well and could wind up missing the playoffs entirely if things go poorly. The odds are it will be somewhere in the middle.

    I like what Morey has done with our roster. The media will keep finding ways to negatively depict this team. Whatever pays the bills--they're like pigeons in a park looking for whoever has the breadcrumbs. The groups with the most bread are the ones the pigeons sing for.

    Aw yissss(NSFW--F-bomb)

  • bernardo says 4 weeks ago

    http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2014/08/13/blogtable-playoff-teams-falling/

    Suprise! Ok, not so much. Basically everyone thinks that we will be the playoff team with the biggest drop-off from last season (they couldn't pick Indiana). I'm starting to feel that we're being underrated by the other media as they seem to believe that we will be much worse than last season. Yes, we lost Parsons, Lin and Asik. They seem to forget that Asik barely played in the regular season, Ariza will be a better fit with us than Parsons, and Lin was too inconsistent. The Rockets, I think, will end up with a similar record as last season and prove to them that we still have a really competitive team.

  • rockets best fan says 4 weeks ago

    @miketheodio

    agreed mike..............I'm less concerned with our averages and more concerned with how we perform against other contenders. we don't have to worry about facing Utah in the playoffs. we have to learn how to beat the Clippers and OKC. both teams disrupted our offensive production, yet we were unable to disrupt theirs. defense will get us in the games, but offensive executions will win them. unless we improve to the level of elite defense our execution is going to have to be much better to beat either of these teams in a 7 games series. I can't remember which game it was exactly, but the one where we put up like 75 points in the first half of a TNT broadcast game and stunk in the 2nd half because OKC shut down the high ranking offense. averages aren't going to win us those games. learning how to adjust our top rank offense to better execute when the pressure mounts will, in addition to a better defensive presence.

  • miketheodio says 1 month ago

    We scored more points per possession than any team in the league last year. We have a championship caliber offense. Our problem last year was our defense.

    looking at the macro info doesn't tell the whole truth all of the time.

  • Buckko says 1 month ago

    Agreed RBF and lots of PnR. I feel comfortable about a couple of bench players in late game situations too.

  • rockets best fan says 1 month ago

    @Buckko

    I expect that too. however fixing our own execution could have won us just as many games. if we are lucky our additions will upgrade the defense as well as the offense. we relied heavily on our starters for scoring last year. giving them more rest may help our last game execution to some degree, but it wouldn't hurt to add a few crunch time plays to our effort.

  • Buckko says 1 month ago

    Well I expect our late game situations to be better due to the improve chemistry of H&H and the defense holding on to leads we would lose last year.

  • rockets best fan says 1 month ago

    @Doug

    I will settle for a little less luck and more gamesmanship. we were good in close games to some degree, but not good in close games against top contenders. it doesn't matter how many times we beat Utah in close games......it matters how many time we beat the Clippers 0/4 OKC 1/3. our offense needs to work against the elite teams. bottom feeders aren't standing in our way. just the opposite. other contenders are. ignoring the problem because we have no problem blowing past average teamsisn't going to win us anything. why do you think we have basically clean the bench off to bring in not only some defensive help, but give more opportunity to our young shooters. it's to not only fine tune the defense, but aid the offense as well. maybe if we get more in the middle game from our bench we won't end up in to many close games. I would have to disagree our offense needs work maybe not on par with the defense, but not that far behind either

  • Doug says 1 month ago

    RBF: Sure. We could have done better in close games late. But it makes little sense to talk about large, systematic changes to our offense (or needing to add a player) merely because we could have done a little better in close and late games. After all, our record in close games wasn't terrible. We won half of all close games, and their doesn't seem to be much consistency, from year to year, in who is great at winning close games.

    We were a really, really good team last year. We will be a really, really good team this year. (In fact, I think we'll be better this year because I think Ariza will be an upgrade over Parsons, and our young players will continue to improve.) We were good enough to win a championship last year, and we'll be good enough to win it this year. Like all contenders, we'll just need a little bit of luck.

  • rockets best fan says 1 month ago

    @Doug

    I both agree and disagree. we did have a problem with defense lastyear....agreed. thinking we didn't have problems on offense by looking at our per game averages can leave you deceived. our late game execution needed and still needsplenty of work.

  • Doug says 1 month ago

    We scored more points per possession than any team in the league last year. We have a championship caliber offense. Our problem last year was our defense.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 1 month ago AI and Westbrook are also both PG/SG combos.
  • timetodienow1234567 says 1 month ago I don't think Harden would like being a true SG on the offense. Jordan and Kobe were both PG/SG hybrids like Harden. True SGs are Allen, Miller, Thompson, Afflalo, Reddick, etc ... Guys that can score off catch and shoots, cuts, screens, runs a little PnR as the secondary playmaker, but that isn't their primary function.
  • rockets best fan says 1 month ago

    we all agree we need another facilitator. the only disagreement is the level of facilitator. I think we need a primary......aka PG

  • timetodienow1234567 says 1 month ago You can get away with it if you have a GREAT post offense man that can navigate a double team enough to generate offense for his teammates. Think Brook Lopez / Marc Gasol / Pau Gasol / etc.... While Dwight is good enough in the post to score efficiently, he's not good enough of a passer to have the offense run through him. He also sometimes cannot force a double team if the team has a legit post defender.

    So I agree we need a secondary and maybe a third ball handler. Maybe Canaan is him?(I highly doubt it from what I've seen so far). I don't think we're done and could get a deal done at the deadline to fix our weaknesses.
  • miketheodio says 1 month ago

    you need a secondary ball handler or else your offense looks like the pacers. always need a second option if the defense is stopping the first.

  • rockets best fan says 1 month ago

    @Willk

    I don't know why Morey hasn't replaced McHale. his weaknesses are so glaring that even the mainstream media has begun joking about his body of work. I don't always agree with Morey and this is an area of disagreement. I still trust Morey, but I feel his trust in McHale is misplaced. there is NOTHING in McHale's past that would indicate future success, so I'm baffled as to why he is still here. McHale must have been doing some serious butt kissing after the season

  • rockets best fan says 1 month ago

    @JG

    totally disagree. McHale is a buffoon. totally lost on how to maximize his rosters potential. "McHale needs a strong right-hand man to be successful. there is nothing wrong with that"...................totally disagree. what good is McHale if we also have to hire someone to hold his hand. we have debated the quality of his work before so I'm sure everyone here knows what I think of Charlie Brown..........he's a block head :lol:I will agree however that the proper right-hand man can improve the outcome, but only marginally. I have been hoping that McHale would learn what he is doing on the fly, but every time I think he may have taken a step he proves me wrong by falling right back into the same hole of mistakes. it has become a vicious circle on mediocrity he seems unable to break free from. I have lost hope that he will be anything approaching an average coach and have started to focus on a plan that is Charlie brown proof.............this is no fairy tale where Lucy, Snoopy or some other peanut comes to the rescue. we have to hope that Charlie Brown figures it out for himself..........and that is a scary thought. as much as I want to feel positive about this situation....there is nothing positive McHale can do except resign

  • thejohnnygold says 1 month ago

    I think there are some stereotypes that keep floating around McHale which are not very accurate.

    I hear people saying McHale needs to not change things every time something goes wrong while another person chides him for being inflexible and refusing to recognize a need for change. The guy can't win. Remember, he has major flaws with this roster he has to try and hide from other coaches who are good enough to exploit them. How do you hide three defensive liabilities while still out-scoring the other team? How do you let players develop while trying to secure a top 4 playoff spot when, more often than not, they are getting destroyed on the court? Put yourself in his shoes and I think things become a little more clear. He is constantly trying to balance multiple things and ends up juggling things throughout the season which, from the outside looking in, can be maddening. I think there is more method to the madness than people give credit for. I'm not saying he is a misunderstood genius--just that he may not be the complete buffoon some perceive.

    McHale doesn't like playing young guys. Well, what coach does? If they had a choice, every coach would prefer veteran guys who know what to do and when to do it and how to be professional. Meanwhile, McHale plays young guys all the time despite everyone saying he doesn't.

    McHale doesn't know how to use the tools in the toolbox....I'm not going to argue this point. This team clearly needs that Phil Jackson/Tex Winter dynamic to really hit on all cylinders. Much like a sports car, it's the parts you don't see that really make it go. I believe that there is a plan and direction in place for this, but I could be wrong. I still don't understand why we have not hired a replacement for Kelvin. Still, I think this complaint misses the point and organization of our team's hierarchy. McHale needs a strong right-hand man to be successful. There is nothing wrong with that and I don't think it warrants criticism.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 1 month ago The spurs had Parker/Ginobli/mills/Belinelli. All are better Creators/playmakers than anyone we have outside of harden.

    But yeah I'm excited about having a guy that can play a Reddick type role for us. Hopefully he's as lethal as JJ.
  • Willk says 1 month ago

    @JG
    I would agree if I thought we had a coach who was good at using the tools we have in the toolbox properly. some of developing chemistry is the coach knowing how to use the parts. also knowing how to read matchup within the game to put his players in the best position for success. since we don't have said coach it may cause some of these players to struggle

    Why hasn't Morey replaced the coach?
  • linonlyfan says 1 month ago

    You know what I'm really excited about? Troy Daniels going into the old "he who shall not be named" 30 mpg 6th man off the bench role. There were times last year when he looked a lot like Ray Allen/Kyle Korver moving off the ball and nailing threes after burning through the defense at max speed. I think this is far more valuable than a "secondary ball handler". How many ball handlers did you see the Spurs have? Daniels is probably our next Parsons.

    Miami had Ray Allen, Boston had Ray Allen, the Spurs had Danny Green, Chicago in Derrick Rose's MVP year had Kyle Korver. A guy who can bend the defense and nail 3's is actually surpremely valuable. I hope Daniels becomes the first off the bench first replacing Jones and turning the lineup into small ball halfcourt style offense which is based on the James Harden primary ballhandling, Dwight as a pnr and post threat and Daniels making sure help defenders cannot cheat with his shooting AND his movement.

    The second unit is gonna be a work in progress all year.

    Mchale remains the biggest concern. I think the role players are actually better this year, because they know they are role players and are better suited to the team. The issue is coaching and experience. Unfortunately both are related as we will need to see Mchale craft a rotation that makes sense and not keep changing it when things go wrong.

    I think the team will take a bit of time to sort out but the 2nd half of the season should be much better than the first half, once the 2nd unit gets some experience and reps. Probably looking at a 4-6 seed. If the team stalls for reasons other than injury then Mchale is potentially gone midseason. I don't think the team is appreciably better or worse than last year, just less recognizable to the wider basketball audience. Guys are definately sleeping on Ariza, the guy is a Champion and does his job.

    On a off note, I watched some videos of Michael Jordan playing defense, good lord he got low to the ground and used his length and footwork to challenge EVERYTHING. My goodness.

    http://grantland.com/features/kyle-korver-nba-atlanta-hawks/

  • Losthief says 1 month ago

    Everyone forgets Morey had Brooks pays his dues in the the Rio Grande, as did P-Pat and every other rookie since Morey took over, with Parsons being the one exception. I don't see Johnson being any different. Mr $4.8M might be an exception but he has experience in the second best league in the world.

    didn't budinger play as a rookie, yeah 20 min a game just looked it up. Granted that was under alderman...and i think mchale doesn't like rookies very much...but its not outside the realm of possibility with morey.

  • rockets best fan says 1 month ago

    @JG

    I would agree if I thought we had a coach who was good at using the tools we have in the toolbox properly. some of developing chemistry is the coach knowing how to use the parts. also knowing how to read matchup within the game to put his players in the best position for success. since we don't have said coach it may cause some of these players to struggle

  • thejohnnygold says 1 month ago

    So, we're looking at a second unit of Canaan, Daniels, Papanikoloau, Motiejunas, and Dorsey? Maybe Ish Smith and Jeff Adrien get in there instead of Canaan/Dorsey.

    I know people will call me a homer, but I really like that line-up. I'm not saying they are world beaters, but stack them up against anyone else's second unit and I feel pretty good. Off the top of my head, a handful of teams have better second units--Denver, San Antonio, maybe Phoenix (depending on how this Bledsoe thing shapes up).

    I think that unit is going to work well together--just a gut feeling--and be far greater than the sum of their parts.

  • Steven says 1 month ago Everyone forgets Morey had Brooks pays his dues in the the Rio Grande, as did P-Pat and every other rookie since Morey took over, with Parsons being the one exception. I don't see Johnson being any different. Mr $4.8M might be an exception but he has experience in the second best league in the world.
  • Buckko says 1 month ago I think Johnson can be a good player, but he isn't going to be the next 2nd pick parsons. Besides the fact parsons was more experience as a 4 year college player, the rockets were a far thinner and less talented team back then, giving parsons the chance to play. Nick will pay his dues for the vipers for the year along with Clint unless injury hits.
  • rockets best fan says 1 month ago

    @Dayak

    watch it................we spent all day trying to get that cat back in the bag :lol:. apparently there is some leftover Lin love still around that didn't get traded within the Laker deal :lol:one would think for a first round pick the Lakers would have absorbed all things Lin. get Kupchak on the phone we been robbed :lol:

  • Dayak says 1 month ago Why you guys keep saying JG hates Lin? Lol. I still remember when RBF said Lin is an under average PG and wish to trade him for a 2nd round pick, JG was one of Lin's supporter and wanted to give Lin 1 more season to prove himself. Now Lin is gone and by what i've seen last season, his play couldn't light up his contract. We should find someone who fits better with this team.

    I laughed a lot when RBF said to trade Lin for a 2nd round pick but now i have to admit he was right :D
  • rockets best fan says 1 month ago

    @Buckko

    I agree there is usually an adjustment period. however this kid seems to have a cockiness/confidence/savvy about him that makes me believe he will be ahead of the curve. yes he will spend some time with RGV, but not that much IMO. the Rockets gave him a fully guaranteed deal so they must see something too.

  • Buckko says 1 month ago

    Agreed JG, many think he'll be a rotation player immediately, but there is always an adjustment period and a few ahead of him in the depth chart.

  • thejohnnygold says 1 month ago

    He's no afterthought. I like him a lot too. It depends on how the roster shapes up, but I think he most likely ends up in RGV--at least until the trade deadline ;)

  • rockets best fan says 1 month ago

    txtdot1411/JG

    to some degree I agree with both of you. however the player I think we will be most surprised by among backcourt players is Nick Johnson. something about this kid I just like. I know he's an undersizedafterthought right now, but I like his game

  • thejohnnygold says 1 month ago

    So back to relevant players that are actually on the team...JG, I really like the idea of Daniels spacing the floor some with Harden. Definitely not a rotation we are going to give an abundance of minutes, but a look we can give 10 mins a game or so. On offense that combo will be deadly. Harden slashing to the rim with Troy just waiting to knock down the 3. There might be some defensive concerns, but the offensive potential is there. I also like the idea of Bev contributing to the second unit as well. He is a level headed PG that takes care of the ball, and makes smart decisions. Definitely something the 2nd unit will need with all the new and young faces. Although I believe Canaan will step it up this year, and become a big bench player for us. I really like players that can get to the rim, and shoot lights out from beyond the 3 point line. Canaan is one of those players, and I am excited to see how he has progressed this next season.

    So, back to the thread. I agree with you. I think McHale will be tinkering with line-ups to see what works and doesn't (obviously) and that Daniels is going to see time with lots of different units. That shooting is just too good to not find a way to use it. Canaan is also going to get plenty of chances to prove he belongs and I think he will prove he does. Defensively, he is going to get burned and probably more often than not--that is partly due to his size and more about his inexperience--he'll figure it out.

    I'm very curious to see what Ish brings to the table for us. I am also curious to see if Ariza is strictly a spot up guy for us or if they have him start driving the ball to the hoop more--I think they will and I think it will be good. By season's end I think people will see Ariza as the steal of this year's free agency much like Millsap was for Atlanta last year.

  • thejohnnygold says 1 month ago

    I really, really can't be bothered to talk about Lin any more because he wasn't and isn't the solution for this team, but seriously... if you think he was worse than JJ Barea, that is irrational hate. You need to think about that because there's really no point in anyone being here for actual BBall talk if people are going to simply ignore actual facts. It's exactly the same as people saying Harden is a waste of space and should be traded. It's just plain wrong and makes everyone annoyed.

    GP MPG FGM-FGA FG% 3PM-3PA 3P% FTM-FTA FT% RPG APG BLKPG STLPG PFPG TOPG PPG
    2013-14 79 18.6 3.2-8.3 .387 0.9-2.9 .316 1.0-1.3 .790 1.9 3.8 0.0 0.3 1.6 1.6 8.4

    Sure wish we'd had that coming off the bench last season. /facepalm

    Not what I said at all--so glad I put the effort into actually looking up the stats for every single player I mentioned, adjusting them to allow for minutes played, and then making the comparison. Your stats are not adjusted. Lin played roughly 50% more than Barea as a reserve (in mpg), but let's not mention that when trying to make our point. Further, all I was saying--which was pretty clear--is that the production, not the player, was on par with those players and, like I said before, on the low end of them. Don't take my word for it--do your own math.

    Irrational hate? Are you being serious? Did you read anything else in that post? You know, all the good stuff I said about Lin and the well-wishing? If anything is irrational here it is me having to answer for someone who is clearly not reading with much comprehension.

    I will presume you just missed some crucial part of my post where I was explicitly clear about what I was saying and that is why you felt compelled to respond in such a manner.

    @JG:

    Honestly my post has less to deal with Lin and more to do with RBF's cavalier attitude throwing around garbage as facts. Lin didn't fit the role the team had put him in. I will most definitely agree with that. I'm just surprised you aren't jumping down his throat about making up statistics, ignoring relevant statistics, then making awful blanket statements. He freaking switched the numerator and the denominator for god's sake....

    Well, if you look further back I edited some of your posts that were below standard and changed them to allow for the fact that he obviously made a mistake. RBF has a long history here and he is not one to make up stats. He acknowledged as much later on. What's the big deal? You guys think I am biased in the way I police posts--I get that. There is a difference between making stuff up and making a mistake. That's it. I suppose I should start banning people for typos as well? :unsure: Perhaps no one noticed when I let one of those who I am so very biased against destroy turnover ratio numbers in this very thread. Does anyone think 14.1 and 12.9 are actual turnover ratios? Don't believe me? Check out post #23 above. Maybe I should have gone ahead and issued the deserved ban for calling people names and insulting their intelligence (you know who you are). Heck, it was directly implied that I lack even half a brain in a different thread quite recently--let that one slide too.

    So, when asking why I let something slide ask yourself this, "Do I want the mods to act with full force for every little thing?" If so, this place is going to become a ghost town real fast.

  • feelingsupersonic says 1 month ago

    @JG:
    Honestly my post has less to deal with Lin and more to do with RBF's cavalier attitude throwing around garbage as facts. Lin didn't fit the role the team had put him in. I will most definitely agree with that. I'm just surprised you aren't jumping down his throat about making up statistics, ignoring relevant statistics, then making awful blanket statements. He freaking switched the numerator and the denominator for god's sake....

    It's not for you decide when we moderate or to comment on moderation. Please refrain from telling moderators when you believe they should "jump down" someone's "throat" or whatever that means which seems a bit insulting since that isn't what moderators do.

    I advise anyone here not continuing with relevant discussion and debate to stop posting in this topic. Thank you to all of you in advance as I am sure you will all do the right thing.
  • txtdo1411 says 1 month ago

    So back to relevant players that are actually on the team...JG, I really like the idea of Daniels spacing the floor some with Harden. Definitely not a rotation we are going to give an abundance of minutes, but a look we can give 10 mins a game or so. On offense that combo will be deadly. Harden slashing to the rim with Troy just waiting to knock down the 3. There might be some defensive concerns, but the offensive potential is there. I also like the idea of Bev contributing to the second unit as well. He is a level headed PG that takes care of the ball, and makes smart decisions. Definitely something the 2nd unit will need with all the new and young faces. Although I believe Canaan will step it up this year, and become a big bench player for us. I really like players that can get to the rim, and shoot lights out from beyond the 3 point line. Canaan is one of those players, and I am excited to see how he has progressed this next season.

  • rockets best fan says 1 month ago

    @bladad

    oh I see. .....................we still got a little Lin love going on here. WOW......hate machine? cavalier attitude? I will take the high road here. you appear to want to discuss something other than basketball. I thought we had gotten rid of the Lin fans, but looks like your still lurking. I made a mistake in quoting a stat and you are bent out of shape over it? and on top of all that you still missed the point...............why so serious....oh that's right I was attacking golden boy :lol:dude get a life

  • bladad says 1 month ago

    Look, obviously you guys don't agree at all. This is going downhill fast. You may see it as irrational hate. The bottom line is Lin was not very good for us as a 6th man. For those who wish to cling to the small sample of games where he excelled and use that to buoy your beliefs that he was abused and held back here and will be an all-star PG moving forward--great. I hope so too. I wish him well.

    @JG:

    Honestly my post has less to deal with Lin and more to do with RBF's cavalier attitude throwing around garbage as facts. Lin didn't fit the role the team had put him in. I will most definitely agree with that. I'm just surprised you aren't jumping down his throat about making up statistics, ignoring relevant statistics, then making awful blanket statements. He freaking switched the numerator and the denominator for god's sake....

  • bladad says 1 month ago

    deleted.

  • Journeymany says 1 month ago

    I really, really can't be bothered to talk about Lin any more because he wasn't and isn't the solution for this team, but seriously... if you think he was worse than JJ Barea, that is irrational hate. You need to think about that because there's really no point in anyone being here for actual BBall talk if people are going to simply ignore actual facts. It's exactly the same as people saying Harden is a waste of space and should be traded. It's just plain wrong and makes everyone annoyed.

    GP MPG FGM-FGA FG% 3PM-3PA 3P% FTM-FTA FT% RPG APG BLKPG STLPG PFPG TOPG PPG
    2013-14 79 18.6 3.2-8.3 .387 0.9-2.9 .316 1.0-1.3 .790 1.9 3.8 0.0 0.3 1.6 1.6 8.4

    Sure wish we'd had that coming off the bench last season. /facepalm

  • rocketrick says 1 month ago

    @bladed/kdo/Journeymany/TTDN
    ok I read the stat backward 3/2. however all of you were so busy trying to correct the stat you miss the point. Lin was garbage. he wasn't getting the job done for us. now which one of you want to go on record disputing that. I'll leave the stats to JG, but I didn't need a look at any stat to know what my eyes were telling me. Lin's production can easily be replaced. it's not like we are trying to replace a player who wasactually good last year. since Lin is gone I have retired the bat I used to bash him, but if you like I will pull his full stats and bash away one more time just for old time sake :lol:


    I'm with you on the Lin bat 100%.

    Let's just put it away once and for all.

    I am quite excited about all the possibilities with numerous players likely to have their opportunity to step forward.

    Who will it be?
  • thejohnnygold says 1 month ago

    Sure thing dude. Baseless criticism and "eye test" opinions. First, you're flat out wrong. Then, you turn into an irrational hate machine. GOOD JOB

    Look, obviously you guys don't agree at all. This is going downhill fast. You may see it as irrational hate. The bottom line is Lin was not very good for us as a 6th man. For those who wish to cling to the small sample of games where he excelled and use that to buoy your beliefs that he was abused and held back here and will be an all-star PG moving forward--great. I hope so too. I wish him well.

    However, in his role here he was on par (after calibrating for minutes played) with the likes of JJ Barea, Jordan Farmar, Rodney Stuckey, Randy Foye, and Reggie Jackson. Unfortunately, he is at the low end of that group. The drop off from Lin is to guys like Nate Wolters, Norris Cole, Brian Roberts, Dennis Schroder, etc. That is not something you look at and think, "man, how are we going to replace that guy?"

    And that's the point. We can find production similar to Lin's in the back up PG position. Worried about who initiates the offense? I'm not. We can play inside out through D-Mo or T-Jones. We can let Isaiah Canaan/Ish Smith attack the paint and surround them with sharpshooters. We don't need to run teams out of the gym with our second unit (although I think we will more often than not). We just need to maintain and let the starters rest. Besides, I have a hunch Beverley is going to be involved with the second unit and Troy Daniels will spend time spacing the floor for Harden.

    We're covered. Lin doesn't matter. He has a chance to redeem himself (and his fans) in LA. They've got some pieces. Jordan Hill can easily replicate Tyson Chandler's role from NYC (and is due to break out...if it is ever going to happen now is the time). Julius Randle should give them lots of hustle and athleticism on the wing. Kobe will be on the bench with Nash by Christmas. Then there is Nick Young, Boozer (another complimentary piece for Lin--he will bail him out all season long), Ed Davis, Wesley Johnson, Ryan Kelly....there are lots of players to like.

    They will wind up scrappy, lovable underdogs and become media darlings. Take that to the bank.

  • bladad says 1 month ago

    @bladed/kdo/Journeymany/TTDN

    ok I read the stat backward 3/2. however all of you were so busy trying to correct the stat you miss the point. Lin was garbage. he wasn't getting the job done for us. now which one of you want to go on record disputing that. I'll leave the stats to JG, but I didn't need a look at any stat to know what my eyes were telling me. Lin's production can easily be replaced. it's not like we are trying to replace a player who wasactually good last year. since Lin is gone I have retired the bat I used to bash him, but if you like I will pull his full stats and bash away one more time just for old time sake :lol:

    Sure thing dude. Baseless criticism and "eye test" opinions. First, you're flat out wrong. Then, you turn into an irrational hate machine. GOOD JOB

  • rockets best fan says 1 month ago

    @bladed/kdo/Journeymany/TTDN

    ok I read the stat backward 3/2. however all of you were so busy trying to correct the stat you miss the point. Lin was garbage. he wasn't getting the job done for us. now which one of you want to go on record disputing that. I'll leave the stats to JG, but I didn't need a look at any stat to know what my eyes were telling me. Lin's production can easily be replaced. it's not like we are trying to replace a player who wasactually good last year. since Lin is gone I have retired the bat I used to bash him, but if you like I will pull his full stats and bash away one more time just for old time sake :lol:

  • Jatman20 says 1 month ago Vegas insider odds from a Bleacher Report out tonight......Rockets are 10:1 odds of winning the Western Conference. Fourth in the a Western Conference behind Thunder,Spurs and Clips. Vegas isn't listening to the media which makes it seem like the Rockets are going to miss the playoffs and finish last in the Southwest division. Rockets are 22:1 to win the Championship. Still early; but anything can happen.
  • YaoMan says 1 month ago

    Great job on calling out misinformation. As JG said, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard than other forums.

    As to contention, Kawhi will be another year older and more experienced and along with Danny will be able to corral Harden. splitter and Diaw will be able to hold Howard to inefficient numbers. I don't see Bev or Ariza getting too many wide open shots. I couldn't pick us to win against them.

    The thunder have a Howard stopper in Perkins.(post defense is all he is good for). Harden will get his without Sef, but I'm not sure about us outscoring them.

    The Clippers are another year older and probably better (with the exception of Paul but he shouldn't drop off too much).

    I don't see us being able to beat those three without injuries and think it will be tough to beat the other 5-6 playoff teams in a series.

    Agreed. But as I said in the other posts, if Harden can put serious effort in D and become effective and the Rockets make a trade/acquisition or Jones/KPan/Clint have surprise super seasons - they can put up a pretty good dog fight.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 1 month ago Great job on calling out misinformation. As JG said, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard than other forums.

    As to contention, Kawhi will be another year older and more experienced and along with Danny will be able to corral Harden. splitter and Diaw will be able to hold Howard to inefficient numbers. I don't see Bev or Ariza getting too many wide open shots. I couldn't pick us to win against them.

    The thunder have a Howard stopper in Perkins.(post defense is all he is good for). Harden will get his without Sef, but I'm not sure about us outscoring them.

    The Clippers are another year older and probably better (with the exception of Paul but he shouldn't drop off too much).

    I don't see us being able to beat those three without injuries and think it will be tough to beat the other 5-6 playoff teams in a series.
  • thenit says 1 month ago

    @Journeymany

    incorrect......I value Lin about as much as a stale bag of chips :lol:I disagree he is hard to replace. Lin got so bad in parts of last year I found myself cringing every time he touch the ball. Lin average 2/3 in assist to T/O ratio last year. that means more T/O than assist. his shooting percentage was also down. so basically he was turning the ball over and when he wasn't doing that he was tossing up enough bricks to build a house. it's not that hard to replace that.

    Not to harp on Lin but every single fact that you put out is just wrong. His assist to turnover rate was 1.7 which was the same as Harden.

    All his shootingnumbers went up. I know you hate the guy but at least don't put out false data. I don't think we will miss him that much but he still contributed to the team.

  • thejohnnygold says 1 month ago

    I pretty much agree with the OP - though I would say the big question re: the Mavs is - is Dirk still able to produce at a 'star' level? If so, they are slightly stronger than us at present because their role players are more NBA-proved than ours. You can talk about how many points / how much defense they'll produce as much as you want, but the simple fact is, right now no-one has any concrete evidence how they'll pan out in the big league. For us to challenge, we would need a really good trade.

    Right now, I see us as a 5-6 seed - basically a bit weaker than where we were last year. @rbf I know you value Lin about as much as a bag of chips, but the fact is his level of production off the bench is actually not that easy to replace when you look around the league. There are not many bench players who can generate their own offence without good offensive schemes around them (let's not get started on coaching..................). There are plenty of players around the league who have been in the league for years and will probably stay in the league, who do (and will continue to do) a significantly worse job than Lin did. I know it's hard for you to accept though ;)On that topic, it's a big shame we couldn't get AB back as he can definitely provide a bench spark, but I doubt he'd want to come back a 4th time or whatever it is. One further point is that Morey's eye for talent is what brought us Casspi, Hamilton and Garcia last season so better hope he's made some upgrades since then :lol:

    I somewhat disagree with this statement. I think many 6th man-type players find themselves in this role for that exact reason. Jamal Crawford, JJ Barea, Manu (I know, he shouldn't count--but he does!), Tyreke Evans (who was brought in as 6th man and ended up as a starter), Taj Gibson, and Randy Foye are all players of this ilk. Reggie Jackson is getting there and Norris Cole....we'll see. JR Smith was always better off the bench. I'm sure I am forgetting a couple of guys.

    It's about depth--good teams have that luxury. You are right that, currently, we have a giant question mark there. On the other hand, I also agree with RBF that Lin was not the answer and losing him doesn't hurt as much as some believe. There is no denying he played some great games for us the past two seasons. I think it is also hard to deny the negative aspects either.

    The odds are this situation resolves itself in one of two ways. One: somebody steps up and plays well--Canaan, Johnson, Smith--whoever. Two: Morey swings a trade for a PG that moves Beverley to the bench as a solid back-up for us. I would be surprised if Morey let's us get to the playoffs with nothing but Beverley and a bunch of scrubs (presuming none of them work out) at PG. That would probably be the most head-scratching thing Morey has ever done....but it's not going to happen so no worries B)

  • Journeymany says 1 month ago

    @rbf

    Not really in the mood for argument as this is pretty similar to the Harden hyperbole in the last thread - what you're saying here is simply hyperbole :D His TS% was 57.2% which puts him certainly in the ballpark of Chris Paul (58.0%) and Lillard (56.8%), and his Assists 4.1 to 2.5 TO, while definitely bad, is quite clearly not more TO than assists. His Turnover Ratio of 14.1 was one of the worst for a PG, though other notable high TO ratio guards also include Chalmers (14.1), and someone a lot of people wanted here - Stephenson (13.8). Worth bearing in mind that someone considered mainly a passing PG - Rubio - has a TO ratio of 12.9. I doubt we would have beaten the Spurs and Mavs during that B2B when Harden was out without him.

    So, it's not hard to replace the fictional Lin that you have in your mind. It's harder, though still very possible, to replace the actual Lin who was playing for us last season ;)But I'm not convinced what we have on the bench replaces him at the moment. It may do, but none of us has any proof either way at the moment....

    @Steven

    Schneiderlin will be probably be sold when Spurs match our valuation of >£20 million. Luckily we can afford to let him rot in the reserves and just fine him his wages for as long as he continues to be a spoilt little b***h who refuses to play B)

  • kdo says 1 month ago

    @Journeymany

    incorrect......I value Lin about as much as a stale bag of chips :lol:I disagree he is hard to replace. Lin got so bad in parts of last year I found myself cringing every time he touch the ball. Lin average 2/3 in assist to T/O ratio last year. that means more T/O than assist. his shooting percentage was also down. so basically he was turning the ball over and when he wasn't doing that he was tossing up enough bricks to build a house. it's not that hard to replace that.

    I really don't care for Lin either way.

    I don't listen to Lin fans, nor Lin haters, as both often have myopic views and unwilling to accept opposing views. I'd probably say this to any player assessment.

    Stats usually take care of any bias, so I'm not sure exactly what you meant when you said:

    "Lin average 2/3 in assist to T/O ratio last year. that means more T/O than assist."

    A quick check pretty much debunks that. He had more assists than TOs, and his PER is greater than many point guards that are perceived as better.

    Now if you said Lin is just not a good fit, and is more detrimental to the team than beneficial despite decent personal stats, then I would agree with you. Still subjective, but a more reasonable subjectivity.

    But when you provide stats in the hopes to support your argument, make sure it's accurate.

  • bladad says 1 month ago

    @Journeymany

    incorrect......I value Lin about as much as a stale bag of chips :lol:I disagree he is hard to replace. Lin got so bad in parts of last year I found myself cringing every time he touch the ball. Lin average 2/3 in assist to T/O ratio last year. that means more T/O than assist. his shooting percentage was also down. so basically he was turning the ball over and when he wasn't doing that he was tossing up enough bricks to build a house. it's not that hard to replace that.

    Um. Don't know where you get your stats from. 294 assists 176 TO. I'm sure you just got them mixed up. His a/to ratio is 1.64. Much better than the .67 you had him down for, but still lacking overall amongst his peers.

  • rockets best fan says 1 month ago

    @Journeymany

    incorrect......I value Lin about as much as a stale bag of chips :lol:I disagree he is hard to replace. Lin got so bad in parts of last year I found myself cringing every time he touch the ball. Lin average 2/3 in assist to T/O ratio last year. that means more T/O than assist. his shooting percentage was also down. so basically he was turning the ball over and when he wasn't doing that he was tossing up enough bricks to build a house. it's not that hard to replace that.

  • Red94 says 1 month ago

    The rest of the league sees Parsons/Ariza as a loss, but I see it as a net gain. The big question will be whether Dorsey/Johnson can replace Asik/Lin, and whether either of the young power forwards make the next big jump.

  • Steven says 1 month ago Journeymany, when your Saints selling that French CM to my Spurs?

    And thanks for Poch as well. ;)
  • Journeymany says 1 month ago

    I pretty much agree with the OP - though I would say the big question re: the Mavs is - is Dirk still able to produce at a 'star' level? If so, they are slightly stronger than us at present because their role players are more NBA-proved than ours. You can talk about how many points / how much defense they'll produce as much as you want, but the simple fact is, right now no-one has any concrete evidence how they'll pan out in the big league. For us to challenge, we would need a really good trade.

    Right now, I see us as a 5-6 seed - basically a bit weaker than where we were last year. @rbf I know you value Lin about as much as a bag of chips, but the fact is his level of production off the bench is actually not that easy to replace when you look around the league. There are not many bench players who can generate their own offence without good offensive schemes around them (let's not get started on coaching..................). There are plenty of players around the league who have been in the league for years and will probably stay in the league, who do (and will continue to do) a significantly worse job than Lin did. I know it's hard for you to accept though ;)On that topic, it's a big shame we couldn't get AB back as he can definitely provide a bench spark, but I doubt he'd want to come back a 4th time or whatever it is. One further point is that Morey's eye for talent is what brought us Casspi, Hamilton and Garcia last season so better hope he's made some upgrades since then :lol:

    Anyway. I'm fairly chill about all this because whatever trades and issues are going on, life is ONE HUNDRED BILLION TIMES better in the NBA than it is for my team in the EPL, Southampton. Last year we had the most exciting young team in English football, players who had grown up with the team, more talent coming through - and that has all been destroyed because the big market teams are able to swoop in, offer salaries 4-5 times what we can afford, and basically tear the heart out of the team. The EPL is a closed shop cartel of a few big teams siphoning up the best players and everyone else is basically a minor-league team swimming like crazy just to stay in the league. When the team that finished 8/20 in the league last year has 1500-1 odds to win it, you know something is rotten.

    So, compared to that, everyone here should be like :wub: :) :lol: :D :wub: . We still have a team that will be genuinely going for the title - not as one of the favorites, but with better than 1500-1 odds. Salary caps are good. Be happy B)

  • rockets best fan says 1 month ago

    @Cooper

    we pretty much see the west stacking up the same way. however since I expect us to improve through trade sometime between now and the trade deadline I'm projecting us higher. I think we can get the3 seed for a couple of reasons. 1. depending on the player we acquire and his ability to impact our play itwill raise us to another level. and 2. some are in panic mode because we lost Lin, Asik and Parsons, however IMO outside of Parsons both Lin and Asik didn't get the job done last year and are easily replaced. Parsons has been nicely replaced by Ariza.

    Lin wasto inconsistent and Asik to full of doo doo :lol:. bottom line was Asik sat out dang near half a season with what I think wasa fake injury. though he did help us when he finally got his head out of his butt his impact is widely overblown because we played most of the year without him. on Linwhat I don't get with some is ( if you find that something's not working how do you get worst from changing it. I doubt Canaan can do a worse job of backup PG than Lin, but even if he does was it wrong to try something other than Lin since we knew that situation wasn't working? we were never going to win consistently depending on Lin's inconsistent abilities. so what did we really lose? Parsons.......that's it IMO. I promise I won't be losing sleep over the departure of Casspi, Hamilton or any of the other castoffs. they weren't getting the job done. it was time to trim the fat. we are a leaner running machine IMO. we have been grooming this cast of youngsters within our system for awhile now to assume the roles we will introduce them to this year. just like I said at the beginning of last year about T-Jones and D-Mo.....we need to know what we have been working on. if we truly believe in our developmental system at what point are we going to start using it? we have invested time money and energy in these recruits. when do we check the return on investment? Morey has shown me he has a keen eye for talent. lets stick them out there and see what happens. my point is we lost little from last years team by trimming the fat. the new recruits can't IMO be any worse than the last ban who fail to produce what we needed. at worse we should be able to match last years bench production because last year we had no bench

  • thejohnnygold says 1 month ago

    Another thing that I am looking forward to seeing is a much more physical team. One of my favorite follows on twitter, Harwood Paroxysm, stated that this off season,"the rockets became bad a**es on the cheap."

    I like the sound of this :)

  • Willk says 1 month ago

    Nice post, Jatman20.

    I mostly agree with your projections for next year's scoring. I think Ariza will wind up 2-3 points lower and Jones might wind up 2-3 points higher.

    If Adrien and Dorsey can clean the glass, play decent D, and finish around the rim--which I believe they can--we'll be solid at the C/PF positions.

    I'm very interested to see if Jones has improved his 3 pt. shooting.

    Another thing that I am looking forward to seeing is a much more physical team. One of my favorite follows on twitter, Harwood Paroxysm, stated that this off season,"the rockets became bad a**es on the cheap."

  • Cooper says 1 month ago

    We're definitely a team that would need to catch a few breaks to be in the finals, hard to imagine missing the playoffs but the difference between 4 and 9 won't be very big similar to last year. I beleive we are a lot better balanced than the mavs or grizz and more likely to be healthy than GS with bogut/lee/curry usually missing significant time. The blazers seem awfully similar to us two stars some decent guys like batum and lopez and unproven talent off the bench. Likely a toss up again for us and them in the 4-5 slot. nuggies, pellies and suns should be fun to watch but probably come up short of the post season.

  • Buckko says 1 month ago Well the rockets are the ones making most of those successful picks in the 2nd round and as long as the player can defend or shoot, they can be effective. The rockets were very unlucky when it came to injury last year, law of averages pan out and they should be healthier.
  • RollingWave says 1 month ago

    Pretty much every team except the top 3 need something to pan out their way to make the playoff, last year the Rockets were relatively lucky in that when their players go down they were still quiet effective. it's not a given that this is the case going forward.

    Essentially, the Rockets need some of their kids panning out to make the playoff, if all of them bombs they're in some serious trouble. To really get to the next level they also need Jones to reach close to his peak and Harden to play D, both could happen , or it could not, I'm fairly confident that Jones will be a good complimentary PF for a contending team when he's 27-28, I'm not confident that he will be at 24.

    Canaan need to be effective here, Lin played 2000 minutes last year, it's not entirely obvious is you can really get 1000 min of effective play from Canaan and Johnson or 2000 min of effective play from both . just consider this little tibit, of the guys drafted in Canaan's class there was only 2 guys who played more than 1000 min of relatively effective ball last year in the second round, in the draft before that, I count maybe 4 second rounder who's had that sort of effectiveness by their 2nd year. in the year before that, only 1 guy has really remained a solid rotation player (Lance, Landry Fields was pretty effective for his first couple year than really bombed.)

    Roughly 2-5 2nd rounder end up being effective rotation player in every draft is about right, so it's not exactly a high probability that you have *2* of them both end up being good in back to back drafts.

  • Buckko says 1 month ago Well what we lost in playmaking, we gain in shooting, defense, rebounding, and better chemistry. I can't see us missing the playoffs. You could argue that might be the blazers since they were extremely lucky with health last year and blake is a downgrade from Moe IMO. Being a team that relied so heavily on their starters, any injury could be a disaster. The suns loss Channing frye who was key to stretching the floor for their guards to work. The grizzlies could be better health permitting, so could the nuggets getting gallinari,McGee back, couple great picks, affalo. The nuggets are by far the deepest team in the league. GSW could be better or worse with the health of that team so unpredictable.
  • RollingWave says 1 month ago

    It's much easier to miss the playoff in the west, someone's gonna be a 48-50 game winning 9th seed this year, and given where the Rockets are at right now it's hard to say that they are surely not going to be that unfortunate team.

    As for Dallas, once you account for coaching a lot of their problem becomes less significant. They have repeatedly made weird lineups work in the past few years, hard to see why they wont' this year. Tyson Chandler and Dirk's health is the only real concern, but hey, it's a contract year. If any year is a good bet for him to be healthy this is it.

  • Buckko says 1 month ago I would say jones at 15 and ariza at 14 with nick Johnson not getting more than few. Daniels and Cannan will give around 15-20 together.
  • thejohnnygold says 1 month ago

    I agree with you Buckko on Dallas....they have a big flaw at two starting spots (C and PG). Knicks couldn't get Felton out of town quick enough; and that's not because of the gun/weapons charge. It's because they refer to him as "fat Felton". Tyson is rarely healthy. Maverick backups are suspect at best. Richard Jefferson, Aminu, and Jameer Nelson are God-aweful. Jameer Nelson reportedly told a player not to play defense on him while they past mid-court in a game two years ago I believe. I can't remember who the player was......was it Beverley or Lillaird?

    Rocket core is still Good. 1) Working out the kinks with the pairing of D12 with the group last year took much of the early months of last season. Experimenting with Asik/D12 in the starting lineup slowed the process. 2) Ariza will have the same role with us that he had with Washington so the transition shouldn't be that extreme. 3) Defense will be the theme this year (defense travels-road games) with D12/TJ/Beverley more comfortable in the system and addition of Ariza with Harden (team USA report Harden is a good defender) taking offense to criticism of his "D" last year; will focus on keeping track of his man!!!! Saw Harden play "King of the Hill" vs Durant and Paul George. I was impressed. Harden DRtg of 107 is good in iso defense and vs post-up. It's ball watching and losing his man that kills his rep.....and some PnR "D". This year that changes.
    Last year all points per game averaged together:D12/Harden/Parsons/TJ/Bev/Lin=95.1 pts/game. This year I project D12 (20)/Harden(25.5)/Ariza (16)/ TJ (16)/ Bev (13)/DMo (8)=98.5......Papanikolaou will get his (7-8 p at least) Nick Johnson will play ave to slightly better than ave "D" and get his 7-8 p Canaan will get his 9 p. Depending on rotation/mins.....anything from Troy/Covington/Dorsey/Capela/Ish/Adrien will be a plus.

    Nice post, Jatman20.

    I mostly agree with your projections for next year's scoring. I think Ariza will wind up 2-3 points lower and Jones might wind up 2-3 points higher.

    If Adrien and Dorsey can clean the glass, play decent D, and finish around the rim--which I believe they can--we'll be solid at the C/PF positions.

    I'm very interested to see if Jones has improved his 3 pt. shooting.

  • Jatman20 says 1 month ago On paper we don't contend for a championship......but The Rockets won't play on paper. Losing Kelvin Sampson did effect the team last year. It's do or die time for coach McHale.
  • Jatman20 says 1 month ago I agree with you Buckko on Dallas....they have a big flaw at two starting spots (C and PG). Knicks couldn't get Felton out of town quick enough; and that's not because of the gun/weapons charge. It's because they refer to him as "fat Felton". Tyson is rarely healthy. Maverick backups are suspect at best. Richard Jefferson, Aminu, and Jameer Nelson are God-aweful. Jameer Nelson reportedly told a player not to play defense on him while they past mid-court in a game two years ago I believe. I can't remember who the player was......was it Beverley or Lillaird?

    Rocket core is still Good. 1) Working out the kinks with the pairing of D12 with the group last year took much of the early months of last season. Experimenting with Asik/D12 in the starting lineup slowed the process. 2) Ariza will have the same role with us that he had with Washington so the transition shouldn't be that extreme. 3) Defense will be the theme this year (defense travels-road games) with D12/TJ/Beverley more comfortable in the system and addition of Ariza with Harden (team USA report Harden is a good defender) taking offense to criticism of his "D" last year; will focus on keeping track of his man!!!! Saw Harden play "King of the Hill" vs Durant and Paul George. I was impressed. Harden DRtg of 107 is good in iso defense and vs post-up. It's ball watching and losing his man that kills his rep.....and some PnR "D". This year that changes.
    Last year all points per game averaged together:D12/Harden/Parsons/TJ/Bev/Lin=95.1 pts/game. This year I project D12 (20)/Harden(25.5)/Ariza (16)/ TJ (16)/ Bev (13)/DMo (8)=98.5......Papanikolaou will get his (7-8 p at least) Nick Johnson will play ave to slightly better than ave "D" and get his 7-8 p Canaan will get his 9 p. Depending on rotation/mins.....anything from Troy/Covington/Dorsey/Capela/Ish/Adrien will be a plus.
  • thenit says 1 month ago

    I think if we add a third star or a 6th man playmaker off the bench we will go from pretender to contender

  • Buckko says 1 month ago The mavs lost key sharpshooting this offseason, along with the fact their defense will be porous at best, and that's with the unlikely fact Tyson remains healthy all season, I don't see them as a top 4 team.
  • rockets best fan says 1 month ago

    @Forrest Walker

    really good write up and I mostly agree. we could win the championship, but things have to break our way. I also agree we are very close to being unstoppable by adding the third point in your math equation. I guess the only real point I disagree with is Dallas is better than us. while I believe they might be in the boat with us, I believe their supporting cast is not yet good enough to compensate for the drop off on Dirk. Dirk still puts up good numbers, but isn't the player he was during their championship run IMO.I am in total agreement on McHale. since most here already know how I feel I won't waste space bashing a hole in his qualifications to lead this group. he's unfit an I'll leave it at that. our hope IMO rest in the acquisition of a third star level player. we have a nice supporting cast for a 3star team, but are just short of the necessary reinforcements for a two star team minus coaching influence.