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.