The report came out just earlier this week that the Rockets would be honoring Donatas Motiejunas’ request for a trade by attempting to explore options. My hunch is that this was simply a leak to appease the 7-footer and his agent in sort of a “I swear, we’re trying to move you, but we just can’t find any takers!” kind of way. With teams clutching to first round picks these days like rare antiques, the best the Rockets could possibly hope to get for Motiejunas would be a second round pick…and for a player of his abilities, age, and size, that’s just not even close to being worth it; while Motiejunas has struggled to get things together, you couldn’t hope to find a prospect anywhere near as intriguing in the second round.
This will no doubt come as an unpopular, minority opinion, and will certainly evoke a “do you bloggers just complain about everything?” response from some, but I’m not particularly pleased with how Kevin McHale has handled the Motiejunas situation. I understand completely why things have been handled as they have, but I’m not happy. Michael Pina wrote recently of the eye-opening effect Omri Casspi has had on the team’s offense/defense when on the floor and to wit, that impact cannot be understated. Casspi has been a revelation.
Every Friday, I rank every active Rocket (who sees the floor) based on his performance from the previous week. If you missed the most recent installment, here you go.
12) Isaiah Canaan (Last week: 10)
The rookie logged a little over 90 seconds of action this week. Aaaaand just about nothing transpired.
11) Donatas Motiejunas (Last week: 9)
That D-Mo D-League stint I pined for in this space finally happened. Now there’s a very legitimate chance he’s traded sooner than later. What value does Motiejunas have on the market? He’s young, cheap, and offensively skilled. This deserves a deeper look. Read More
This is why we watch - After last night’s action on TNT, Chandler Parsons made a guest appearance on Inside the NBA and we were rewarded with six minutes of what makes that show the Emmy-winning, must-see television that it is. I was unable to embed the actual video into the Daily, but the link is definitely worth sitting through yet another Blake Griffin commercial.
No studio show in my lifetime has the balance, camaraderie and back-and-forth of Kenny, Chuck and EJ (and yes, even Shaq sometimes). Taking that format and dropping one of the league’s most unique and charming personalities into that setting is a recipe for success. Some of the highlights: Read More
The Houston Rockets are undefeated in 2014. The New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers may not be much to write home about this season, but two wins were exactly what a stumbling Rockets team needed. Now, they have a chance to kick off a road trip with another win in Atlanta over a Hawks team that has its own share of injuries as well. With star-caliber big man Al Horford on the bench with a pectoral injury, the Hawks have dropped three of their last four games. Despite being only two games above .500 versus Houston’s ten, the Hawks occupy the third spot in the wasteland known as the Eastern Conference. A win over a third seed, even a weak one, would be a nice third win in a row for a Rockets team looking to gel in the new year.
Stop me if you’re heard this before: the Eastern Conference is terrible. Read any NBA blog for a couple posts, and you’ll be well aware of this fact. The east has alternated between two and three winning teams all season long, with the Toronto Raptors joining the Atlanta Hawks in a dance back and forth across the .500 line. With Al Horford most likely shut down for the year, it’s hard to see the Hawks maintaining their level of play, such as it was. On the other hand, with the competition out east, it’s also hard to see them falling off significantly. One was or another, Atlanta is a playoff team, and beating playoff teams is mission critical for these Rockets.
You know the incredible feeling you sometimes get after throwing on a pair of no-longer-blue jeans that were hanging in your closet for months? You stretch down to fold your wallet into your back pocket and something’s already there. You reach back and it feels like paper. A movie stub? To large. A receipt? Too grainy. You drag it out then swing it past your eyes. Dear lord in heaven, please, yes, thank you. It’s $20.
That moment right there is how some people would describe how it felt to watch Omri Casspi play basketball in November. He was incredible, a nightly pleasure twice as enjoyable because nobody expected it. He made 42.9% of his threes that month, and posted a 59.9 True Shooting percentage, good enough to tie Kevin Love for 18th overall right now.
Casspi was so much more than a shooter; almost everything he did was unconsciously brilliant. He passed, ran, dribbled, shot, rebounded, and competed. Houston’s offense scorched the Earth in his 341 minutes of action. But the numbers said something totally insane about the other end of the floor: Houston had the second best defense in the league whenever Casspi the Great played. When he sat the Rockets played down to a Brooklyn Nets/New York Knicks level of atrociousness.