Huq’s Pen: All-Star Weekend

I’m about to leave in an hour or so to check out some of the All-Star events.  The Rising Stars teams will be holding practice with media availability ensuing thereafter.

Perhaps I’m proving closer to 67 rather than my actual age of 27, but save for perhaps the real game itself, I’m not really looking too forward to any of this weekend’s events.  While the profit model certainly isn’t flawed, I think that if the NBA wants to reconnect with its older generation of fans–meaning anyone above 13–it needs to rethink its strategy because the layout for All-Star Weekend has grown horrifically stale.

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in columns

So this was interesting, via ESPN:

I’m told a Gordon trade this season is highly unlikely, with one source with knowledge of the situation telling ESPN.com this week that, as things stand, there’s “less than a 10 percent chance” New Orleans would move Gordon before the deadline. Still, the fact that the Hornets made calls around the league implies that they are at least warming up to the idea of moving him at some point.

Word is Dallas, Houston and Golden State are among the teams that have inquired about him. Houston envisions playing him alongside James Harden and Jeremy Lin in its fast-paced system, with Harden at small forward.

Of course, both Houston and Dallas view Gordon as Plan B. Both clubs are saving their max cap room this summer to make a run at the disgruntled one, Dwight Howard. If that falls through, the loser(s) will turn their eyes to Gordon, among others.

Gordon is only one of the many options Houston would consider if it can’t land Howard. Several executives have said the Rockets have interest in Philadelphia’s Andrew Bynum, assuming Bynum returns from his knee injury for a significant chunk of the season’s second half and plays up to his typical All-Star form. That might be a big assumption, though, with Bynum’s recent comments about still suffering pain in his knee.

Whatever the case, the Rockets aren’t expected to be as active next week as they typically are around the deadline because of their desire to save their cap space for the summer. I’m told they’re not in play for Zach Randolph, Danny Granger or Pau Gasol, as has been often rumored.

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in musings

Who is James Harden?

We are now at the halfway mark of the first year of the James Harden era in Houston.  The sample we have is now sufficiently sizable to assess our return on the trade and forecast future expectations.

After 53 games in red, the 23-year-old Harden is now averaging 26.1 points per game (#5 in the league), 5.7 assists per game, and 4.8 rebounds per game, while posting a PER of 23.4.  He’s found a second burst, in February averaging 27.8 points per game on 53% shooting, to go along with 7.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game.  All of this has come in the process of leading his team to a spot where, by Hollinger’s odds, they are a virtual certainty to return to the postseason.

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in essays

“Mid-Season” Reflections

The All-Star break—also known as the regular season’s most significant benchmark—has arrived for the Rockets. What’s that mean? Well, for the fastest team in the league, it’s time to rest. For me? It’s time to reflect on the season’s first 55 games by taking a close look at three important pros and three improvable cons as the Rockets prepare to make their first playoff appearance in four long years. [read more…]






in essays

The Daily Blast – February 14, 2013

“A Match Made In Heaven” – It’s Valentine’s Day, so over at SI.com, Rob Mahoney is getting all mushy-gushy about how great all the Rockets’ players compliment each other on offense:

That aspect of Houston’s approach is often overlooked when we view this team as James and the Hardenaires. The Rockets’ entire offensive enterprise was transformed by Harden’s arrival, but such an approach is only possible because the personnel just so happened to provide a fantastic conceptual fit. Houston has the speed and young legs to get up the court quickly, the positional flexibility to go small and get away with it, the specialists that make the system go and a depth of shooters that space the floor for their bread-and-butter plays. When Harden looks to execute a high pick-and-roll, the attention of fans and opponents alike is fixed on his workings with the ball. He’s earned that focus with deadly drives and accurate shooting. Yet out on the periphery are a crew of complementary parts that make it all possible — spacing the floor, moving without the ball and doggedly adhering to the plan in place.

I mean, when you’re talking about chemistry, I’d put a Harden-Asik pick-and-roll right up there with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in Joe Versus the Volcano.

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in game coverage

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