Should the Rockets trade Jeremy Lin?

Less than six months ago, before he played a single minute, Jeremy Lin was the most popular basketball player Houston had since Yao Ming retired. He was set to be the Rockets “franchise” player—at least for the 2012-13 season—without any real elite skill or All-Star caliber ability.

In this new role, with new responsibilities hanging heavy over his head, Lin would suddenly transform into the nightly focus for opposing defenses, an answer to “who should take the last shot?,” and, most significantly, someone charismatic enough to convince casual fans who can afford it that season tickets might actually be a pretty good idea.

But as Grantland’s Zach Lowe pointed out earlier this week, even before Daryl Morey and Sam Presti blindsided the basketball universe by exchanging some stuff for James Harden and some other stuff, the Rockets didn’t expect to get Lin from the Knicks. They wanted him—and they obviously prepared for what might happen should they get him—but anything other than “delivering an offer sheet will give New York’s front office a major headache!” didn’t qualify as a probable conclusion for Morey or his staff.

Of course the Knicks would match their offer! Right?

A little more than a quarter of the way through this season, after watching Lin struggle and Harden thrive as best he can beside a struggling point guard, we’re now forced to ask ourselves an increasingly pivotal question: is this really Houston’s backcourt of the future?

Being that Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James are the only players in the league who’ve scored more points than Harden this season, that question basically translates to “Should the Rockets trade Jeremy Lin?”

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Preview: Houston Rockets @ New York Knicks

This is a game that many fans in New York will have had circled for a long time. For the only time this year, Linsanity will return to the arena in which it exploded onto the global stage. While the teams have met once this year already, there is no doubt that Madison Square Garden will be a louder and more electric atmosphere than the Toyota Center was. And all the eyes, all the media attention will be focused on Jeremy Lin.

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Toronto Raptors 103, Houston Rockets 96

The last time your Houston Rockets won in Toronto, it was 2007.  Rafer Alston had one of his rare good games and put up 23 points on 9-14 shooting, Kirk Snyder and John Lucas played decent minutes, and even Vassilis Spanoulis  got on the court for 51 seconds.  Since then, playing in Toronto has not been a place to just lose, but a place to lose miserably and without even the slightest shred of good feelings.  In January 2009, Tracy McGrady submitted what has simply been known afterwards as the Toronto game, where he basically quit on Houston and completely changed the direction and relationship between himself and the franchise.  Next December, Trevor Ariza in his frustration swung an elbow at a rookie Demar Derozan’s back in what was a classless move.  Tonight, in fact, was arguably our best loss yet as it marks the first time that the Rockets did not lose by double digits since that 2007 win.

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Preview: Houston Rockets @ Toronto Raptors






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via @Jonathan_Feigen.

Also via Feigen, Marcus Morris becomes the likely starter while rookie Terrence Jones will be recalled from the D-League.

A few thoughts:

  1. Regardless of your opinion on Patterson–and he’s a fairly polarizing figure given his rebounding inadequacies–any time you lose a starter, it’s a pretty big loss.  That effect is compounded by the fact that he’s a ‘big’ and that this is the youngest roster in all of basketball.  ‘Bigs’ have more responsibility (defensively) than other players and young teams inherently struggle with defensive cohesion.
  2. I’m no doctor, but these recurring injuries to Patterson are becoming slightly concerning.
  3. The silver lining is that Terrence Jones will get his shot.  I predict he’ll explode and never look back.  I’m basing this on the fact that the Rockets have had a breakout rookie in (seemingly) every year of Daryl Morey’s tenure with the team.
  4. I do not think this injury holds any consequence in potential trades.  Teams know what Patterson is: a relatively dependable ‘big’ with limited upside.  He probably had little trade value to begin with; this development does nothing to diminish that.






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