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This is really, really fun

Note that this was written prior to the Rockets-Lakers Sunday night affair.  The events of that game had no bearing on the author’s assertions. – Ed.

By the time this is published, the Rockets will probably be 4-6.  They’ll likely trudge along near .500 for the entire season.  And at this rate, there’s a safe chance they land at the 14th pick once again.  But you know what?  For the first time in years, I won’t mind.

This is the first time in years that I’ve really been intrigued by some of the thematic storylines.  Remember that report a few weeks back after a tough home loss of Lin and Parsons taking practice threes after the game?  I dug that.  Some of the current on-court problems with regard to spacing…?  I’m interested in that.  Why?  Because for the first time since 2009, the Rockets have a set core.  Let me explain.

These past few years, the Rockets weren’t really a team.  They were just a collection of assets.  Now I know that that phrase was used pejoratively by critics of Daryl Morey’s management of the team, but I don’t mean that negatively – I agree with how he did things and with the Harden trade, we see it all paid off.  But that’s what this was: a house to incubate asset growth until realizing an expected payoff.  As I said all the time, in those years, it didn’t matter if the team got out-rebounded on consecutive nights or if other troubling trends materialized.  It was irrelevant.  ”Group” issues weren’t of any concern.  Those guys weren’t going to be around when it mattered.  Their only purpose was for use in trade to land the actual cornerstone.  And we saw that that’s how things played out.  None of last year’s team’s issues are of any significance this year.

But now, things are different.  We have our core.  Jeremy Lin, James Harden, Chandler Parsons, Omer Asik, Marcus Morris, and Terrence Jones are all young and locked in for the long term.  Almost all of them will remain with this team for the next few years.  Sure, there will likely be another big trade at some point, but most of these guys will be staying.  And that’s fun.  Now, for once, team growth matters.  I care about the trends and what I’m seeing on the court.  I care about the players as a unit.

If the Rockets go on to land the 14th pick again this year, I’m fine with that.  Why?  Because that means they clawed their way to a near postseason berth with the youngest roster in the league.  A roster that will stay in place and has a foundation.  If they make the postseason and get blown out in four games in the first round, I’ll be thrilled.  Why?  Because they’ll learn from that and grow and come back better next year.

Remember my irritated rants last year when Matt Bullard would talk on the broadcast about how much experience the team was gaining from those close games down the stretch?  The premise was absurd because we all knew most of those guys weren’t coming back.  Team experience as a whole meant nothing and did far less than a high draft pick would have. But this year, and going forward, it’s different.  These guys are all sticking around.

I want to know what the coaching staff can do to get Lin and Harden to mesh.  I want to know if they can find another shooting threat for when Delfino moves on.  I want to know if Marcus Morris continues his jump and starts being featured in the post.  I want to know what happens with Jones and Patterson.  I want to know if the offense continues falling apart when Jeremy Lin sits.

Some nights, this has been beyond ugly.  But this has been a blast.  For the first time in a long time, I know that what I’m watching are the growing pains of later fruit.

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Total comments: 5
  • Ostrow says 1 YEAR ago I loved the Asik signing when it happened, but I thought it would take a year. Hopefully he keeps playing like he is. I love what he does on the defensive end and on the boards. While I don't think he can ever be a star I think he can be a starter on a very very good team. He does the dirty work, and has actually been better offensively than I thought.
    I think Lin is trying to hard to prove that he is worth his contract and he is doing to much. He needs to stay within himself and he'll be much better.
  • blakecouey says 1 YEAR ago I'm thrilled. This has been fun to watch(at least he home games that I've actually gotten to be at), can't say much for the others due to not having CSN. I watch the box score/gamecast for the games I cannot watch, and as little information as can be gathered that way I am excited. I wasn't a fan of the Asik signing when it came to fruition, but I will concede that it was brilliant. 5 double-doubles so far? Several other games that were close, too. This was a guy that was brought in for defensive purposes only, and yet he's getting some points too(far above and beyond what is expected). As far as Lin, I hope he can work through his issues and definitely think he can do a better job than he has so far.
    In regards to Jones/Patterson, I think we keep Jones and find a home for Patt. A rotation of Morris/Jones could be solid. Greg Smith has been a big surprise as well, I've enjoyed his development. I believe we should shop Patterson(or Motie if we're hell bent on keeping Patt) to find a back up PG or shooter, which seem to be big needs at this time. There isn't any rush to making a move, because we aren't going to contend this year, so I expect Morey to find the right deal.
  • feelingsupersonic says 1 YEAR ago Agreed, I am also really excited about the Rockets direction right now. I hope that the seeds for a defense first culture are being planted more than anything else right now. Also, I thought the Asik signing was a very good move and it would appear that Asik is exceeding expectations and I am glad to see that move paying off so early on. Thanks for the article.
  • goRockets says 1 YEAR ago Thanks for such a hopeful and uplifting article about the Rockets future, glad to be reminded that this team is going in the right direction and they have the right cornerstone pieces. Fans need to be patient with their development, it took even Lebron, Wade and Bosh (who are already veterans) a year or two before they made things work in Miami, so we've got to be realistic and patient about the Rockets' young core's development. Hopefully by next year and the one after they will be at a place where they are serious contenders for the NBA Finals if not Western Conference Finals. I know they have 6 losses this year already, but most were winnable games, even the Lakers game they were still competitive for a good chunk of the game, had the defense been better, I think they could have given the Lakers a good fight. And I mean the Lakers team is literally an all-star team. I hope they continue to gain conference the more games they play, and not be intimidated by veteran teams like Miami and Lakers, I think they can hang with any team. I'm not so worried about Lin's shot, he'll come around to finding his rhythm again, season still early, at least his assists has been going up and very consistent. If you look at his stats and compare to Nash's stats in his 3rd year, Jeremy Lin's are actually better. Lets not compare him to elite PGs so much now, it took those folks quite a few years to get to that level too. As much as I'd like to see him do really well, score a lot of points, I'd rather see him keep developing, than peaking now and no more room to improve. Just hope the coaches will be more creative with plays that utilizes Lin and Harden's strengths.
  • Forrest Walker says 1 YEAR ago Agreed. The prospect of an actual future for this team that leads from the present makes the bad losses easier to swallow. I've certainly seen a big dropoff in my "I'm incredibly sour" period after a brutal loss this year. It's like fifteen minutes, now. Last year it was like a day.

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