Every Friday all season long I’ll be ranking every active player (who sees the floor) on the Houston Rockets based on his performance from the previous week. If you missed last week’s installment, here you go.
I had the good fortune of attending Friday night’s contest in Oakland, my first time in the Oracle, and the last time I’ll ever see Dwight Howard sink a corner three. Many of this week’s observations will be taken from that experience.
Also, semi-related: this week was another hectic travel period for me (hopefully my last of 2013?), so PPR won’t be as in-depth as I’d like it to be. Thanks for understanding, and hope all Red94’s readers enjoy a Happy Holiday!
12) Ronnie Brewer (Last week: 11)
Two nights ago against the Chicago Bulls, Ronnie Brewer converted a nifty reverse layup against his former team. It made Jeff Van Gundy say nice things about Houston’s depth. Go Ronnie Go!
11) Donatas Motiejunas (Last week: 10)
He isn’t getting better on the defensive end, and he isn’t getting minutes. Why not let him get some burn in the D-League? Seriously, send him down there, let him ball, let him improve Someone explain why that’s a problematic idea? [read more…]
Get Omer It – The news that Omer Asik wouldn’t be traded after all, came as no surprise at all to Kevin McHale, who has basically been going about his business as if the trade was never going to happen. McHale’s take on the situation–as a coach and former GM–after Thursday’s practice was unique:
“I’ve never believed you can say, ‘Well, we’re going to trade this guy,’ and a trade magically appears. So yeah, I thought he was going to be here the whole time. His knee is bothering him. He’s seeing another doctor today, but I think we’re going to get over the hump on that, and then we’ll get him back in the rotation and playing.
McHale went on to talk about how he still believes Asik will be a key part of the team’s success, not just backing Howard up, but playing alongside him. If McHale still thinks the Howard-Asik pairing is going to work night-in and night-out, then I disagree with him. If he’s trying to get them to the point where they can work together to kick the stuffing out of mismatches here and there, then I support him 100 percent.
Sadness – Apparently, Asik isn’t the only one bummed about the trade talks being called off. According to Jake Fischer at Liberty Ballers, Thaddeus Young was champing at the bit to be traded to the Rockets:
When Tanner [Young’s agent] informed Young that the Rockets had called about the tweener forward, Young grew excited about the opportunity to leave the Sixers, though he’s loved his time here. The chance to play for a contender with legitimate championship aspirations is too enticing.
If only Asik were as jazzed up about playing for a contender as Young, then we wouldn’t have to worry about this whole soap opera to begin with. [read more…]
During the recent game against the Chicago Bulls, Aaron Brooks came off the bench for a few minutes. Jeff Van Gundy remarked, “If Aaron Brooks were on the Bulls he would be their best offensive player. He’s the third string point guard on the Rockets. That’s how deep this team is.”
JVG is right. The Houston Rockets are incredibly deep. Coming off the bench regularly are a scorer (Lin), two 3-and-D wings (Garcia, Casspi), a big (Asik… yeah, I know), and a grinder (Smith). Seeing spot duty or injury fill-in duty are a microwave man (Brooks) and a stretch 4 (D-Mo). Those are very useful roles to be filled by young, talented players. Just ask the Pacers or the Bulls (when Rose was whole) how valuable a productive bench can be.
Here’s how the Houston Rockets bench ranks league-wide, according to NBA.com:
- 3rd in points per possession
- 4th in TS%
- 5th in net points per possession
- 8th in +/- per game
But here’s the most important stat about the Houston Rockets bench: