Remember this point last summer, when you and I and everyone we know (shoutout to Miranda July) couldn’t help themselves but to piss and moan about the Melodrama and the Decision, wondering when we’d get a chance to ever get to talk about real, American-made professional basketball again? When all actual hoop talk appeared obfuscated amid a flurry of transactions, when John Salmons’s free-agent-status ruled headlines over summer baseball? It’s almost embarrassing to think of how much I wished I were hearing about LeBron throwing cold fries back at cafeteria chefs as explanation for his move to Miami rather than the tired, miserable groans from the NBA lockout. With all respect due to Larry Coon, the drudgery of collective bargaining agreement logistics has finally crushed my will and limited the vast majority of my basketball intake to that of my own experiences at the playground. Of course, as I’m sure it has for most of us roundball fiends, this tragedy has pushed me to the hobbies I had so obliviously neglected through last season, and by indulging in them, I, as I’m sure the rest of you have, realized exactly how badly I need there to be an NBA season.
As the doggedly hot days of this Texas summer try to turn our t-shirts into swimming pools/wet mops, the NBA lockout continues to encourage us, like a worried parent, to find other hobbies. In lieu of taking up shuffleboard or Starcraft, I’ve decided to help pass the time by breaking down the Rockets’ roster.
I’ve chosen to separate the players by position, though I realize that in this post-modern NBA doing so is a somewhat dubious and often generally pointless exercise. For the purposes of this column and my hopes of not drastically straying off topic, position will serve a purely functional distinction.
As I began last week with point guards (the easiest to define), we’ll stay in the backcourt this time around and discuss Shooting Guards.
What to expect from the Rockets’ upcoming season (if there is one): A breakdown of the point guard position
This NBA off-season is the first in recent memory in which Rockets’ fans aren’t gnawing their collective fingernails to the quick in nervous anticipation. This year, for once, we won’t be mining quotes from team doctors, picking them apart like historians attacking hieroglyphs, digging for subtle clues as to when or how our hopes might return. There can no longer be any hope that a superstar savior (7’6” or otherwise) will return from injury and lead the team into contention. The roster is what it is. There can no longer be any doubt that the process of rebuilding has begun.
Of the 17 men currently listed as Houston Rockets (counting Marcus Cousin and Marqus Blakely), only three are older than 25, and only one, Scola, is older than 28. The roster is nearly three deep at every position, teeming with young players with something to prove and a limited number of available minutes in which to prove it. With the coaching staff overhauled to a presumably more Morey-ball friendly bunch, we’ll most likely see long, shifting rotations that will look to experiment with player combinations rather than cleanly divide the starters from the bench.
If this holds true, most everyone on the roster will more than likely at some point have a shot to make his mark. But who will distinguish himself and who will get lost in the fray?
Over the next few weeks, I’ll attempt to make sense of this madness, one position at a time.
First up: Point Guard