Exploring Omer Asik’s offensive limitations

A couple mornings ago I awoke from a dream that took place in a world where Omer Asik was a dependable offensive player. The Rockets would dribble up the floor, run some dummy weak side action to clear one side of the court, then toss the ball down low and wait for Asik to embarrass some anonymous unlucky giant who happened to be guarding him. Waking up, I forced a chuckle, knowing the likelihood of this scenario was about as probable as that time I eluded two great white sharks chasing me around a Starbucks.

Then I thought about it for a second. Is it really inconceivable for an athletic 26-year-old, who’s never been asked to score before, to incorporate a new function into his job description? In the case of Asik, maybe? Now that his minutes will more than double as a starter, the increase in possessions he’ll take part in could open up some interesting opportunities. Either that or Asik will find himself ostracized whenever his team has the ball. Only time will tell. [read more…]






in essays
{ 22 comments }

The role of backup point guard is quite vital in today’s NBA, not only to the Houston Rockets (although, it’s especially vital to them), but the entire league. It’s a player who comes into games that already have their own flow, runs the second unit, fills in for a starter in the unfortunate case he gets injured, and, being that he’ll have the ball when they’re on the floor more times than not, exist as a dependable scoring option.

An 82 game season can be painfully long, making depth chart changes uncomfortably fluid for struggling teams that treat lineup alterations as some sort of combination lock keeping them from opening up a treasure chest full of success. The Rockets will likely fall under that category this season, and during training camp they’ll have three guys battling for the right to give Jeremy Lin a breather: Toney Douglas, Scott Machado, and Shaun Livingston. All are newcomers to the organization, with Douglas and Livingston acquired as filler in separate trades during the summer.

In typical Rockets fashion, all are playing on salvageable deals that could easily be the last of their careers. Livingston and Douglas have experience, displaying blips of exciting play in their careers, but it’s more than possible only one of the three makes the opening day roster. [read more…]






in essays
{ 0 comments }

Jeremy Lin’s summer of 2012, one which should have been a validation of his journey and landed him a contract deserving of one of the NBA’s most recognizable stars, became one of the sports world’s most visible debacles, a seemingly interminable tale of manipulation, betrayal and lots of other things that Shakespeare wrote about. For Lin, the insults came from everywhere, be that the New York Knicks organization that allowed him to be courted by any team rather than locking up its star point guard at the beginning of the summer, the owner of that team that personally (and publicly) passed on both Lin the contract and the person, or the myriad sportswriters convinced that the Rockets had been a little too geeked up in their pursuit of this supposed fly-by-night sensation.

But at least he wasn’t insulted by the leader of the free world this summer. No, that happened last winter (via Jodi Kantor of The New York Times):

No matter what moves Mr. Romney made, the president said, he and his team were going to cut him off and block him at every turn. “We’re the Miami Heat, and he’s Jeremy Lin,” Mr. Obama said, according to the aide.

Ouch. Perhaps for politicians or major world figures, a censure from the President of the United States can be brushed aside as nothing more than political rhetoric for the sake of rhetoric. But when Barack Obama’s taking potshots at you, 24-year-old athlete and fellow alumnus of said commander-in-chief’s alma mater… well, I’m guess that it meant a little more than anything that Chris Broussard or I might have to say.

In fairness to the president, the conversation being quoted occurred in February; Obama, ever the basketball junkie, had likely seen the Heat’s nationally-televised ending to Linsanity in which Lin, admittedly, was shut down in every possible way, posting a line of eight points, three assists and eight turnovers on 1-11 shooting. You know, the kind of game that you hope the president of the country you call home isn’t watching.

Still, Rockets fans can’t help but see some silver lining here; I mean, people talk about players hooping with chips on their shoulders after messy breakups with former squads, but to be dismissed by President Obama so roundly? One has to think Lin will eventually come around to the thought of the president eating his words at some point in this upcoming season while Obama watches a Rockets game in the White House. Or in Chicago as a private citizen, since most national polls still have the president polling at a statistical tie with Mitt Romney. Topicality!






in musings

I like Royce White a lot, and not just because of that gnarly neckbeard he’s got that easily eclipses the scruff and scraggle that will cover the rest of the Rockets’ league-youngest locker room. No, I like him because he’s one of those guys, those “future of the NBA guys”, the ones with the skill sets that seem to have no real limitation (but almsot invariably involve a big man with the ability to pass/dribble/both), the ones that teams waste first-round picks on to take a stab at being the one organization that can fix him and render him less “the next big thing” and more “the thing”. When I look at this new Rockets team, and my God, since the last time I wrote an article is this a new team, I see a litany of paradigm-shifters and positional-revolutionaries, from Motiejūnas’ aggressive Dirkness to Jones’ wiry rebounding prowess. What anyone else looking on sees,though, is a damn mess, and that’s perfectly fine because if there were ever a time in this league to batten down the hatches and pretend to exist in one’s own summer league for a year or two, this might be that moment.
[read more…]






in essays
{ 0 comments }

I’ve done season previews for the past three years.  Loyalists are well familiar with my MO.  The goal is to win a championship.  To that end, arbitrary win totals or thresholds such as “making the postseason” are (were) not of direct relevance and only serve to blur the issue.  The question to be asked each year is “did this team get closer to positioning itself to win a championship?”

[read more…]






in musings