There’s been a lot of chatter of late about Marcus Morris and his relegation to the D-League. I’m not sure I understand it.
First, there’s the insinuation that because Morris has not yet contributed to the varsity, he’s a certified bust: this is beyond absurd. Morris is just 1/3 of the way into his rookie season on a team with playoff aspirations. NBA rookies rarely see significant time; don’t take the exceptional case of Chandler Parsons as the norm. Both Aaron Brooks and Patrick Patterson saw time in the NBDL before making major contributions to the Rockets. It’s just standard procedure. The Rockets want their freshmen to get reps in the minors, playing in controlled conditions, before they are thrown into the fire. Parsons was a player so polished that there wasn’t much to learn down there anyway.
The All-Star starters have just been announced. The Rockets are currently at 12-10 and would like to gain traction in an increasingly tight Southwest Division race. They are currently tied with the Grizzlies for the ninth seed and a game out of the playoffs behind the Lakers.
The gist: The Rockets suffered a second half meltdown in a 99-91 loss to the Spurs. Houston now plays host to the Suns before embarking on a six-game road swing. Steve Nash had a memorable evening in the Suns’ 120-103 victory over the Hornets. He scored a season-high 30 points and surpassed Kevin Johnson as the franchise’s all-time assists leader.
Key matchup: Samuel Dalembert vs Marcin Gortat
Dalembert did not see action in the closing minutes of the Spurs game. He will be raring to bring down the Suns’ double-double machine, but Gortat will not be boxed out easily. The last time the Polish Hammer had less than 10 rebounds was back in January 8 against the Bucks.
X-factor: Chandler Parsons
Parsons has looked completely out of sync in the past four games. It goes beyond his pedestrian stats. It’s the little things: shot selection, staying in front of his man, making scrappy plays. He looks lost on the basketball court. Against Grant Hill and Jared Dudley, Parsons won’t have any excuses.
Code Red: Nash’s 30-10 night makes him the oldest player to achieve such a feat at 37 (and 11 months). Lowry must not allow another point guard to blitz past him after he was abused by Tony Parker.
A reader, StephenJCyrier, writes:
Say it-“-the CP3 deal would have been an unmitigated disaster for the Rockets.”
On the contrary, with the season having transpired as it has, of one thing I am more sure than ever: had the Gasol trade gone down, the Rockets would now be competing for one of the, if not the top seed in the Western Conference.