Matchmaker – J.A. Adande (ESPN) lists a Thunder/Rockets battle in the first round as the top playoff match-up he’d like to see in the West:
What could provide the rarest of matchups — a team facing a key player in the playoffs in the same season it traded him — also would be the easiest to make happen. All it would require would be for the Thunder to retain their current No. 2 seed while the Rockets remain seventh and then it’s on. These instant revenge scenarios are so uncommon because (A) teams rarely trade key players within their own conference and (B) most teams that trade a major player don’t immediately make it to the postseason. It’s to the Thunder’s credit that they still had championship-contender talent after trading James Harden to Houston. But if their old teammate dropped 46 points on them to lead the Rockets to a comeback victory in OKC on Feb. 20, just imagine what he’d do over the course of a full playoff series. I’m thinking something along the lines of “Teen Wolf.”
Most underrated match-up in this series? Chandler Parsons v. Kevin Durant. Here’s how this goes down: Parsons gives Durant all he can handle in game one, and Durant puts up an inefficient 27 points. Pundits start talking about how Parsons is a “Durant stopper.” Game 2, Durant puts up an inefficient 30, and the Rockets steal a game in OKC. Pundits start calling Parsons “The Durantidote” (you read it here first). Game 3, Durant hangs 60 points on “The Durantidote” in front of the home crowd in Houston, OKC cruises on to win the series in 5, and Chandler Parsons cements his place as John Starks to Durant’s Jordan.
Pickers – As soon as I saw the headline for this article on HoopSpeak, I thought of Omer Asik:
During yesterday’s Sunday afternoon matchup between the Mavericks and Lakers, Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Breen got onto the topic of the improved screening of Dwight Howard.
Van Gundy: A screen is just a different form of an assist. We keep track of passes that lead to an assist, but screens are the same thing. It’s giving yourself up to free a teammate or get a teammate a shot.”
Breen: It’s funny, Reggie Evans of Brooklyn, he recently said that. That he thinks there should be a stat for that [screens] because he thinks it’s just as important as an assist.”
It was an interesting exchange on a topic that the coach in me would love to see get more attention. Whether the casual fan appreciates them or not, screens are often at the center of great offensive basketball. Unfortunately, there are few incentives for the most talented players to become expert screeners.
Let’s add this to the list of TrueHoop HoopIdeas: a stat for screeners.
Rewarding bone-rattling bigs is an incredible idea. If such a stat existed last summer, I don’t think the Rockets would have been able to afford Asik. I’d also be willing to bet that Morey has been keeping proprietary stats on screens for years.
After the break: Aaron Brooks has “a skill.”
Practice Wrap – At Tuesday’s practice, McHale described Aaron Brooks as “an insurance policy” and was complimentary of T-Rob’s defense against Dallas, Jeremy Lin said he can’t go out in public in Taiwan, and Aaron Brooks talked to reporters for the first time since his return.
Brooks could not have been any clearer about the fact that he sees himself as a role player at this point in his career. “I have a particular skill, and McHale is a great coach,” Brooks said,”and I’m sure he’ll utilize me where he sees fit.” I’m guessing that the skill Brooks is referring to is his 3-point shooting, since he still holds the team record for threes in a season.
Tweet That – OKC played the Lakers last night, and Daryl Morey fekt just like any other Rockets fan:
Zing – After the trade deadline, HoopSpeak came out with a few one-liners about the deals. Naturally, the Rockets were at the top of the list:
The Rockets-Kings-Suns 3-team deal starring Thomas Robinson
Houston: Taking advantage of broke, desperate owners is fun!
Sacramento: Is it possible to trade the Maloofs for two crash test dummies?
Phoenix: They realized they already had a Morris twin, right?
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