A Holiday Wish List for the Houston Rockets

In keeping with the holiday spirit, I have compiled a wish list for the Houston Rockets. Some of these wishes are more easily granted than others; but isn’t that usually the case with wish lists?

  1. A textbook jump shot for Jeremy Lin
    • Per Hoopdata, Lin is still shooting atrociously on jump shots: 25% on shots from 10-15 feet, 28% on shots from 16-23 feet, and 30% on threes.
    • As I’ve harped on in the past, Lin’s release is fundamentally awkward (although that doesn’t necessarily preclude effectiveness: see Kevin Martin or Shawn Marion) and his inability to make opponents respect his jump shot cramps the Rockets’ otherwise admirable floor spacing.
  2. Better hands/finishing ability for Omer Asik
    • While he is an excellent screen-setter, Asik has pretty poor hands for a big man— he turns it over three times per game and shoots only 56% at the rim. According to 82games.com, 18% of his close-range shots that aren’t dunks are blocked.
    • In recent games, he seems more willing to just go up and dunk the ball. As Clyde so eagerly reminds him during nearly every broadcast, Asik does have the athleticism to attempt this more often. At worst, he should earn a trip to the line, where he’s shooting a career-best 58%.
  3. More playing time for Greg Smith
    • As I’ve outlined previously, Smith has been phenomenal offensively and deserves more playing time. It is understandably difficult to take Asik off the floor given his defense and rebounding, and playing Smith and Asik together would kill the Rockets’ spacing. Still, I’d like to see Smith given a bit more of a run.
  4. A built-in “heat check” for Carlos Delfino
    • Per Basketball Reference, Delfino is jacking up an unconscionable nine three’s per 36 minutes while shooting 34% from deep (below the league average of 36%).
    • Too often, Delfino takes the first three pointer that comes his way (open or not) to the detriment of the Rockets’ ability to run their offense and find a better shot.
  5. An All-Star berth for James Harden
    • Given Harden’s play, a spot on the All-Star team is virtually guaranteed. The more interesting question is whether Harden has a chance of being an All-Star starter.
    • Unfortunately, this probably won’t happen for two reasons:
      • The starters are determined by fan voting: Harden hasn’t yet achieved the super-star status and popularity of players like Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant.
      • Harden hasn’t earned it: Harden’s play this season has been phenomenal but it will be hard to justify putting him in over Kobe (3rd in the West in PER, leading the league in scoring, and having his most efficient offensive season in terms of TS% ever) or Chris Paul (2nd in the West in PER with a typically brilliant campaign).
    • If it were up to me, the Western Conference All-Star starting line-up would be: CP3, Kobe, Durant, Blake Griffin, and Tim Duncan. Harden is probably the next best guard, followed closely by Westbrook.
    • As an aside, I really hope Lin doesn’t end up as an All-Star starter (as of 12/27, Lin is only 46,000 votes behind Chris Paul and has nearly double the votes that Harden has). That would truly be a joke, and it would be that much easier to ridicule Lin, who’s already received his fair share of criticism this season (not least from these quarters). On the other hand, Lin starting for the West may finally convince the NBA to scrap fan voting altogether, which would probably be a positive development.
  6. A return to the retro jerseys: even if it’s only for a few games, I’d love to see Lin and Harden sporting the old red and gold.
  7. A new mascot
    • I know Clutch has his admirers but it truly baffles me why a team called the “Rockets” is represented by an overweight grey bear of indeterminate species. Clutch is neither directly related to our team name, nor is he likely to strike fear into the hearts of our opponents. I’m open to suggestions but if all else fails, we can always bring back Turbo.

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Total comments: 7
  • DaDakota says 1 YEAR ago I hate the all star game, it is a complete waste of time.

    I would rather Lin get some rest for the rest of the season.

    DD
  • Rahat Huq says 1 YEAR ago ^valid points.
  • Linsane47 says 1 YEAR ago As a Lin and Eockets fan, I enjoy your site, even when some of your writers do not believe in Lin, they are generally making a basketball assessment. However, I take issue with the way Min Wang and Rahat Huk approach the issue of Lin getting in the All Stars game, namely, saying that they would not like to see it because it would invite "a ton of ridicule and racism." I think it's fair to say Lin has not performed as well as many other PGs this season and may not deserve it from a Basketball point of view. However, the All Stars are not set up to simply to showcase the best talent: if that was the sole criteria, then there would not no fan voting, it would be based solely on performance stats. The All Star game is by definition a popularity contest, at least for the starters who are chosen by fan votes; even the bench is chosen by coaches vote, not by individual stats.

    At this point, Lin is third in voting for Guards. If Lin wins a slot, then the fans want to see him play. Its not clear Lin will get a starter slot at this point, but I hope Lin's play continues to improve so maybe he will get the votes to win a starter slot and he can put on a show for the fans. Regardless of his relative talent compared to other NBA guards---Lin may not be the top guard in the league or even on his own team based purely on production--- fans love to watch him play. Let the fans speak and have their say.

    So what if a vocal minority of racists and haters want to complain about it? We should not be held hostage by a small group of vocal racists. Same goes for haters. We should not be holding back our votes or hoping Lin fails to make the cut just to avoid racist comments--- if we do, we let the racists win. As Lin has shown, he can stay true to himself amid criticism, racist or otherwise.

    That said, I would agree that Lin's performance early in the season was not great, but he is improving and seems to be getting back to Linsanity or near-Linsanity form. I hope he continues that trend so he can show he deserves to be a showcase talent. The All star game is a player showcase for the fans. Let the fans speak and enjoy the fruits of our votes for one weekend of fun basketball, racists be damned. If Harden becomes a coaches pick, as some believe, it would be great for the hosting city to be able to show off their backcourt duo (Lin/Harden), who were just ranked 2nd in the league for wins produced!

    We don't normally get to say this (except in Chicago many years ago), but Vote now, vote often! I try to vote daily for all 4 of the Rockets on the ballot. Go Röckets!
  • NorEastern says 1 YEAR ago My holiday present would be for D-Mo to finish finding an NBA game. When I think about the perfect power forward for the Rockets offensive sets, I think of D-Mo's game. Of course that is after I spend a few moments fantasizing about Kevin Love.
  • tombrokeoff says 1 YEAR ago BRING BACK TURBO!!! I back that!
  • Forrest Walker says 1 YEAR ago Finding all of those under the red and yellow tree would be fantastic (1/4/5 especially). I agree about the jerseys, with the note that the ketchup and mustard alts they've had recently are great, and I'd love to see them become the mains. Or at least I'd love to see them at all this year.
  • Rahat Huq says 1 YEAR ago I'm with you on the Lin All-Star part. I like the guy as a person a lot. An All-Star berth would invite a ton of ridicule and racism. I'm really hoping it doesn't happen and we don't have to see it.