More on Motiejunas

I’ve had almost three days now to digest the news of Houston’s trade of forward Donatas Motiejunas, and while some of the emotion has worn off, from an analytical standpoint, questions still remain.  To wit, it is not outside the realm of possibility that I/we are overrating him.  The description “25 year old, defensively capable, stretch-4 7 footer with post moves” while entirely accurate, conveys the impression of a future Hall of Famer, and most likely carries more semantic value than Motiejunas’ overall on-court impact to this point.  But still, should all uncertain commodities simply be cast aside?

Daryl Morey came out and said after the trade that the team would be in position this summer to offer two full max contracts.  I recognize and appreciate the business acumen in not emotionally attaching oneself to the Titanic and having the prescience to get out while one still can.  But at what point does the star-chasing end?  To try and maximize one’s chances in the biggest free agent bonanza in ages is not an unpardonable offense.  But the odds are, and due to no fault of the Rockets, they will most likely strike out yet again.

What about just building a team?  I’ve come to think recently, that in some sort of reactional snobbery, the basketball commentariat of today has begun to overrate draft picks, in remembrance of a day when former-athlete GM’s tossed them around like undiminishable resources.  It was sound and a product of shrewd bartering that Morey was able to fetch a pick for a future free agent.  That feat should certainly be celebrated.  But what is the macro effect on a team when having a revolving door of players, pushing out the old, in favor of a new stream of cheaper labor?  This might be unfair, but I think you see the effects in front of you.

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in musings

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If this was the only Houston Rockets game you’ve watched all season, you might think they were picking up where they left off last season. The defense was solid, the passes were crisp, the final score was favorable and Ty Lawson didn’t appear to be on the team. Once the Rockets learned how to put the ball in the hole, it was smooth sailing for a Rockets team clearly looking to re-establish themselves in the second half of the season. They showed that on at least one night, they can put away a team they should absolutely be able to put away. Now they just have to show themselves that this isn’t a one-time deal.

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in game coverage

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If you didn’t read my reactions today on Twitter, then why aren’t you following me?  Universally, the sentiment from other parts is that the Rockets made out like bandits today, or, at the very least, did very handsomely in securing a possible late lottery pick in exchange for a free-agent-to-be with back concerns.  But if you’re not a fan of this team, it might be hard to understand the disappointment I and many others are feeling at this moment.

It’s not that we don’t recognize that a top-8 protected pick from a fringe playoff team isn’t supreme value for a possible rental.  We do.  And it’s not even that we overrate Motiejunas, as I have seen being charged, and as is usually charged upon fan negativity following the trade of a popular player.  No one here has any misconceptions about what D-Mo is or who he can become.  And most everyone recognizes that the logic behind this deal was sound, and that the Rockets may possibly know more about the severity of D-Mo’s injury than is publicly available.  We’re just simply…disappointed.  It doesn’t always have to be rational.

After the magic of last season, I personally thought we finally had a core built to last, and more specifically, that Motiejunas could be penciled in as the starting four for the next whatever years.  I thought we were finally done with the draft picks and the cap space and the “value”.  But here we are again.  The pick we got back was great “value”.  Well, great.  We’ve had value for years.  I thought we finally had a team.

We’ll see what Donatas Motiejunas goes on to become.  A hard working, defensively sound stretch 4 7-footer, with some of the best post moves in the league.  If he’s healthy, he won’t have anything less than a fine career.  But that story has yet to be written.  For now, he’s just another player the Rockets developed who has now gone off to sea.  They’ll draft someone else this summer and shuffle the cards yet again.

 






in musings

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Red94 is a Houston Rockets site, read by Houston Rockets fans. And so, there are truths which Rockets fans know about their team which other NBA fans and analysts do not.

But as we possibly look at the end of the Dwight Howard era in Houston, there is one pernicious myth that has consistently endured, and just accepted as a matter of fact by those who do not follow the Houston Rockets. It is that Dwight Howard somehow, someway, is a chemistry-killer.

And nothing could be further from the truth. In his three seasons with the Rockets, Dwight Howard has been a consummate professional, willing to do whatever is needed to help Houston win. He has arguably been Houston’s best player during this disaster of a season, being the only one willing to contribute anything towards defense. There is a reason that while Howard is more likely to be traded, Rockets fans seem to be more interested in discussing the possibility of trading Harden.

So, it is time to set the record straight, look back on Howard’s past three seasons, and show that he is not the player – no, the man – that everyone seems to think he is.

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in columns

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I wrote last week, in essence, that the Rockets shouldn’t think about the ‘ideal’ in building a team, because that would just be a path to wasting a lot of time in passing up a lot of potentially available players.  Mine can be considered a defeatist opinion, I know.  So then what would the ideal team around Harden look like?  The question holds relevance not just due to the rumors indicating a potential breakup of the team, but against the backdrop of murmurs in some respected circles as to whether the team should trade Harden himself.

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in musings

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