Houston Rockets vs. San Antonio Spurs

Well, we’re here.  After months of anticipation, the 2011-2012 NBA season is about to get underway.  Will the Rockets’ offense drop off under Kevin McHale?  Can the team make up for the loss of veteran Chuck Hayes?  Those are some of the many questions for which we’ll be in search of answers.

  • Who gets the nod at center with Hayes departing?  Is it Patterson or Hill?  Regardless of who starts, Patterson will probably see the lion’s share of the minutes.  Can he fill the void left by his mentor?
  • Will the team feature the same offense they ran under Adelman?  Considering their success–first in efficiency for a strech–one would hope so, at least to some degree.
  • Will Kevin Martin be the same?  Many feel he’ll be affected by the new rule changes.  He also didn’t seem too pleased about being dealt.  Will he mail it in?
  • Will Terrence Williams get a chance?  Under Rick Adelman, the forward rarely got off the pine, angering management.  Will it be different under Kevin McHale?  After giving up a draft pick to get him, I hope he gets all the minutes he can handle.  During the scrimmage in practice, T-Will seemed to have been handed the keys.  It’s anyone’s guess if he’ll have that same freedom after tip-off.
  • Is Johnny Flynn really as bad as he’s looked thus far into his young career?  I predicted that Flynn would break out but he looked downright awful in the scrimmage.  Perhaps it wasn’t the triangle but rather a lack of ability?  We’ll see.  He might just not belong.
  • Has Jordan Hill progressed?  Reports have coach Kevin McHale raving about the young forward as the most improved player at camp.  That seems to jibe with what we had heard of his years in college.  He has the ideal size and physical attributes.  Will he take the next step after regressing last season?
  • How about Hasheem Thabeet.  My personal wish would be to start him for all 82 games and see what we have.  You can’t teach 7’3.  If he sinks, no loss.  If he swims, you’re gold.  Remember: Thabeet never has really even learned the game.  He at least should get a chance.
  • The guy I’m most excited to see is forward Marcus Morris.  They want to play him at the ‘3’ but I’m skeptical.  Does he have the handles for that spot?  If he can adapt, the team has found a major weapon.  Few wings will be able to match up with his size.  My bold prediction for 2012: in one of the most underwhelming draft classes in years, on a team where he should get all the minutes he can handle, I think Morris places himself in the Rookie of the Year debate.  He has the hunger and confidence.  Now we’ll see if he has the ability.  I think he’ll majorly surprise.  Think Billy Beane here: the Rockets see Morris as an undervalued gem.  He fell to 14th because other teams viewed him as a ‘4’.  The Rockets view him as a ‘3’ and found him worth taking.

I’ll be at Toyota Center again for tonight’s game.  If you have any questions, for either the Spurs or our Rockets, post them in the forums.  I’ll check the thread after the game and try to ask what I can.

About the author: Rahat Huq is a lawyer in real life and the founder and editor-in-chief of Red94.net.

in game coverage
  • RedNation

    I agree about Thabeet. What do we have to lose by starting him. Have him grow via trial-by-fire. With his size, he’s bound to be a factor defensively and on the boards.

  • rahathuq

    Looks like Jordan hill is starting at center tonight

  • Stephen

    My impressions.

    Hill looked like an NBA Center. Not an All-Star type,but a serviceable C.

    T-Will too hyper to start,had strong second half,but he wasn’t making any passes.

    Thabeet…looked decent when SA had no C out there,but overall,the more minutes the worse he looked.( Rahat,you start Thabeet if you want to tank,and you’re not being subtle about it.)

    Flynn was gunning at every opportunity. Me,I want my PGs pass first,not shoot first.

    Dragic looked ahead in back-up PG fight,but that may be because he and T-Will effectively shared PG duties.

    K-Mart looked in blase vet mode,not really involved in the game.

    Scola could have gone for 40 against the Duncan-less Spurs.

    Lowry was Lowry 🙂

    Morris was a non-factor. Hope it was rookie nerves,otherwise he’s going to spend a lot of time in RGV.

    Really early,but I think we’re looking at a 3-man rotation of Hill,Scola and Patterson w/Thabeet spot minutes and in case Hill gets in foul trouble.

    Would not be surprised if Morris goes to RGV and Parsons is the 3 on a Williams/Dragic unit. Not because Parsons is a better player,but a better fit to a harassing,running second unit.

  • SirThursday

    One thing I noticed about Thabeet when watching the video of that big-man workout was that although his moves leading up to the shot were raw, all the shots he took went in. Seemed to happen in the game as well – IIRC he was 2 for 2. So while the rest of his game is nowhere near up to scratch, it does seem like he knows how to put it in the hole if you give him the ball near the basket.

    Unfortunately that’s not what we need him for, and on the defensive end he still looks clueless. He seems to bite on every fake – there was one play in particular where he basically jumped onto the guy who’d sold him one. At 7’3″ he doesn’t need to jump for those!

    It was encouraging to see when his confidence was up – he fought for a scrappy rebound, fed JHill the ball for an assist. You could see the adrenaline kick in as he then ran back and swatted a shot at the other end. Just got to figure out how to keep him going like that for a full game.

    Hill looked good tonight, but I’d want to see him against an actual centre before jumping to any conclusions. Hopefully the Spurs will play Duncan a bit in the return fixture and we’ll get to see how he matches up.

  • RedNation

    I was very impressed with what I saw with the Rockets. The offense looked fluid, as we all expected. That’s what you get when a group of good offensive players are so familiar with each other. If you are looking for a positive from the vetoed trade, the Rockets get to keep the continuity within their lineup, which goes a long way. It was actually the defense that was quite the surprise. The guys looked alert and active. Their awareness was on high. They crashed the paint on drives, they switched cleanly and closed out on everything. It was apparent that McHale spent 80% of all practices focusing on the defensive end.

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