The Red94 Podcast – Episode 23

In today’s episode, I sat down with MoiseKapenda Bower to break down the preseason opener, Dwight Howard’s Houston Rockets debut.  Among other topics discussed were Patrick Beverley’s stifling defense, Terrence Jones’ role on this team, and the West standings.  I hope you’ll enjoy.

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  • Cooper says 10 months ago

    Paying Parsons his 10-12 mil will be a tough decision for Morey.

    Potentially yes, depends on who else would be available and what they want to add to Dwight and Harden duo.
  • rockets best fan says 10 months ago

    Paying Parsons his 10-12 mil will be a tough decision for Morey.

    the Rockets won't have to pay Parsons 10-12 mil per. think about this....................the Rockets have 2 more years of Parsons on a contract that pays him less than1 mil per if they want it. however if they agree to let Parsons start earning mega bucks next year instead of holding him for minimal money next year they can parlay that value into the contract. example..........sign Parsons to a 4 year 8 mil per year 32 mil totalcontract while declining the last year of him making less than 1 mil give Parsons 7 extra mil next year which could lower the three years following and still give Parsons his value............I expect to see Parsons sign and extension before the season starts this year to a contract pretty much like Ilisted above

  • rockets best fan says 10 months ago

    Casspi>Brewer>Williams

    Casspi>Williams>Brewer................Brewer is to offensively deficient to be considered ahead of the other two.

  • timetodienow1234567 says 10 months ago Paying Parsons his 10-12 mil will be a tough decision for Morey.
  • Cooper says 10 months ago Parsons Lin and asik aren't superstars. Asik is probably leaving once his deal is up to start elsewhere but resigning parsons and Lin shouldn't be an issue if both want to come back.
  • 2016Champions says 10 months ago

    Casspi>Brewer>Williams

  • bboley24 says 10 months ago

    myjohnlai, do tell me why we will give up CP. I am intrigued.

  • myjohnlai says 10 months ago

    Lin will not stay in Houston for long. When his contract expires, he must leave. The cap limit only allow 2 superstars. Harden and D12. Asik, Parson, Lin won't be here after their contract expires.

  • rocketrick says 10 months ago

    Finally some action! Couple areas of interest/concern: Yes, Lin looked good, good form but matched his assists with turnovers going 4/4. Not too concerned, just a little, that ratio can only get better, his shot looked good though. However, his competing counterpart, Beverley, went 5 assists with only 1 turnover playing with the second unit, not to mention the stellar D played against Jrue.. D-mo's inability to get the ball into the bucket was a huge mystery to me, he seemed to have it all down pat except for that one minor aspect. His counterpart, Jones, looked good and ready to assume the starting 4 position.

    All in all, we did good and our starting unit, even with the expected miscues, looked ready to take this league by storm this year. Howard looked like a man among boys out there which bodes awesome for us. I hope his humble attitude shown in the lockerroom persists.

    Question still remains at the 4. IMO as both PGs showed marked improvements, but, I feel maybe Beverley made bigger strides than Lin which still could put this position in question. But the sample size is still too small to tell.


    I would expect that in the early stages of the regular season that the key Rockets bench players coming in to rest the starters will be Patrick Beverley, Omer Asik, Terrence Jones and to start the season, likely Francisco Garcia. I would expect to see a lot of energy coming off the bench as everyone battles for playing time. No doubt that as the season progresses our rotation will change due to injury, trade, effectiveness of rotation players, as well as starters, when on the floor, etc.

    Thanks to Mr. Morey, the Rockets are as deep as I can ever recall.
  • rocketrick says 10 months ago

    See, I'm not sure I agree that Williams is a better shooter than Casspi. Their careers are actually very similar - they did two seasons on their first team where they looked promising, and then had a setback when traded to a bad team. Here are their three point shooting percentages throughout their career:

    Casspi:

    09/10: 36.9%
    10/11: 37.2%
    11/12: 31.5%
    12/13: 32.9%

    Williams:

    09/10: 35.9%
    10/11: 42.3%
    11/12: 30.8%
    12/13: 30.6%

    Williams has that one great season in 2010/11, but apart from that Casspi seems to have a slight edge. It does show that both of them are very dependent on team context for their numbers, but I feel as though Casspi can be just as good a shooter as Williams while being better in other areas. As I mentioned above, he's got those extra three inches of height, and like Parsons is capable of making the occasional play off the dribble. The only area I feel Williams has an advantage over Casspi is freethrow shooting, and I don't think that's big enough to sway things in his direction.

    I'm also really not all that high on Brewer*. Yes, he provides something different, but I don't know that it's what the team needs. You saw what happened to Memphis when they played the Spurs in the playoffs - they got burned for their lack of three point shooters. It is clear that shooting from the wing is now a necessity rather than a luxury, and that's something Brewer doesn't have. As such, I don't see him being able to play more than spot minutes. I'd prefer to have someone on the team who may not be so different from the other players at the position but can fit nicely into the team concept - they're much more likely to play minutes. Given the Rockets' solidity at the Centre position, a lockdown defender is less important than someone who can understand and adapt to the team's defensive scheme. Brewer may be a better defender than the other two in one-on-one situations, but I have yet to see the proof that he is a better team defender (hopefully the preseason will provide some evidence on that front).

    ST


    * I forgot to mention, there was one play of Brewer's that made my jaw drop last night. One of the Pelicans had the ball near the basket and pump-faked. As he ducked, Brewer swung his arm above the attacker's head in what appeared to be a random motion - only for the New Orleans player to come up into his shooting motion at just the right time for that swipe to knock the ball away. It was a stupidly instinctive play that you could only make if you had been playing basketball since birth and were supremely in touch with its rhythms.


    In my mind, Brewer's role with the Rockets will be as that lock-down defender when our opponent has a D-Wade, Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant, et al that is shooting lights out. As a change of pace player and probably not at the end of the game unless a stop is necessary. Then substitute an offensive player for him at the end of the defensive stop.
  • bboley24 says 10 months ago

    Did Brewer look a little overweight to anyone else besides me?

  • Sir Thursday says 10 months ago

    Not sure why Coach played Lin relatively less than other starters. Last year he was the first to go to bench. Don't know how to read into this.

    Because the PG position is crowded. McHale had to find some time to get a look at Brooks and Canaan, so he didn't play Lin as much. Suspect we would have seen less of Motie/TJones as well were it not for the dearth of options at backup C due to all the injuries.

    ST

  • Richards says 10 months ago

    Not sure why Coach played Lin relatively less than other starters. Last year he was the first to go to bench. Don't know how to read into this.

  • Sir Thursday says 10 months ago

    Not sure what to make of the last rotation spot right now. I really don't want to put too much weight into Casspi's performance considering that as good as he looked, he looked equally bad in practice. Will wait for a larger sample size.

    Agree that it will take a few more games before a hierarchy establishes itself. At the end of the day the more important question is who gets the minutes rather than who is on the end of the bench. A lot of the minutes distribution for the wings depends on whether or not D-Mo or Jones can establish themselves as effective PFs this season - if not, there'll be a lot more time for the SF types in small-ball lineups. If that's the way things are going, then Garcia and Casspi probably have the edge (and maybe Covington? He's billed as a tweener, right?). On the other hand, I suspect Brewer and Williams will get more of a look in if either of the young PFs makes the leap.

    ST

  • Drew in Abilene says 10 months ago

    Sir Thursday, I really agree with you on Brewer. It would be wonderful to have him playing lock-down defense on some of the other stars in the league, but not at the cost of defenders sagging off of him to ruin our spacing. In the finals, the Spurs sagged off of Wade away from the basket so that they could add more help defenders on LeBron without leaving three-point threats open. Given the choice, I'd rather roll with Casspi or Williams bringing a three point touch that has to be respected, even if that means sacrificing a some defensive strength.

  • Rahat Huq says 10 months ago

    Not sure what to make of the last rotation spot right now. I really don't want to put too much weight into Casspi's performance considering that as good as he looked, he looked equally bad in practice. Will wait for a larger sample size.

  • Sir Thursday says 10 months ago

    The fact is that I still sort of have Casspi last on my wing chart, though it's not clear-cut last like it was before. As I said, the other two wings, Brewer and Williams, have their niches, and niches are important for role players. Casspi to me is more all-around, which you sort of discussed, but I'm still not sure what precisely he does well in general. His shooting was excellent on Friday, but he's gotten steadily worse at that throughout his career, and he's not particularly known for any one thing, which to me is a problem.

    See, I'm not sure I agree that Williams is a better shooter than Casspi. Their careers are actually very similar - they did two seasons on their first team where they looked promising, and then had a setback when traded to a bad team. Here are their three point shooting percentages throughout their career:

    Casspi:

    09/10: 36.9%

    10/11: 37.2%

    11/12: 31.5%

    12/13: 32.9%

    Williams:

    09/10: 35.9%

    10/11: 42.3%

    11/12: 30.8%

    12/13: 30.6%

    Williams has that one great season in 2010/11, but apart from that Casspi seems to have a slight edge. It does show that both of them are very dependent on team context for their numbers, but I feel as though Casspi can be just as good a shooter as Williams while being better in other areas. As I mentioned above, he's got those extra three inches of height, and like Parsons is capable of making the occasional play off the dribble. The only area I feel Williams has an advantage over Casspi is freethrow shooting, and I don't think that's big enough to sway things in his direction.

    I'm also really not all that high on Brewer*. Yes, he provides something different, but I don't know that it's what the team needs. You saw what happened to Memphis when they played the Spurs in the playoffs - they got burned for their lack of three point shooters. It is clear that shooting from the wing is now a necessity rather than a luxury, and that's something Brewer doesn't have. As such, I don't see him being able to play more than spot minutes. I'd prefer to have someone on the team who may not be so different from the other players at the position but can fit nicely into the team concept - they're much more likely to play minutes. Given the Rockets' solidity at the Centre position, a lockdown defender is less important than someone who can understand and adapt to the team's defensive scheme. Brewer may be a better defender than the other two in one-on-one situations, but I have yet to see the proof that he is a better team defender (hopefully the preseason will provide some evidence on that front).

    ST

    * I forgot to mention, there was one play of Brewer's that made my jaw drop last night. One of the Pelicans had the ball near the basket and pump-faked. As he ducked, Brewer swung his arm above the attacker's head in what appeared to be a random motion - only for the New Orleans player to come up into his shooting motion at just the right time for that swipe to knock the ball away. It was a stupidly instinctive play that you could only make if you had been playing basketball since birth and were supremely in touch with its rhythms.

  • Alituro says 10 months ago

    I forgot to mention Casspi, who did look good last night, but for him, I guess the big question throughout his career has been consistency, so we'll see.

  • PKM says 10 months ago

    - Unlike Paul, I had Casspi ahead of Brewer and Williams on my wing depth chart prior to this game, and he has done a good job of cementing that status here. He has enough of a handle to elevate him to be more than just a pure shooter, and he looks to have the size to be able to do short stints at PF if necessary. He seems to be communicating a lot with the rest of the team, which I like - there was plenty of barking going on! Hopefully that's a function of him getting integrated into the team - I think he and Garcia should make a pretty good tandem as backup wings.

    The fact is that I still sort of have Casspi last on my wing chart, though it's not clear-cut last like it was before. As I said, the other two wings, Brewer and Williams, have their niches, and niches are important for role players. Casspi to me is more all-around, which you sort of discussed, but I'm still not sure what precisely he does well in general. His shooting was excellent on Friday, but he's gotten steadily worse at that throughout his career, and he's not particularly known for any one thing, which to me is a problem.

  • Sir Thursday says 10 months ago

    Had a chance to watch the game last night. A few thoughts:

    - D-Mo drew a particularly difficult matchup for his first night out. Anthony Davis looked beastly and seemed to be unveiling facets of his game that were not in evidence last year. I want to see a few more games before I cast judgement on Motiejunas' defense just because this would have been a tough assignment for anyone. T-Jo had an advantage here because of his familiarity with Davis' game (what with them playing together at college and all), and I thought he handled him a little better (though Davis still won out).

    - Apart from his defence, I actually thought D-Mo played OK. Fretting about shots not going in at this stage is silly. He had two elaborate post moves that missed. That is not a large enough sample to come to any judgements about the efficacy of his post game. I felt he did a good job of moving the ball when playing with the starters. He didn't get a chance to impose himself on the game all that much due to the style the team was playing. When he was featured as part of the second unit he was able to get some of that post game working within the flow of the offense, which was nice to see. The end product is something to be evaluated when we've seen a bit more from him.

    - Stylistically the Rockets seemed to be making a conscious effort to make Howard the focal point of the team on offense whenever he was on the court. Unlike Asik, who sets monster screens and holds them, with the roll being more of an afterthought, Howard seems to prefer slipping the screen a bit earlier. He also seems to transition from the initial pick-and-roll into a post-up very quickly. The effect seems to be limiting the frequency that Harden has an opportunity to get into the paint - I don't recall very many scything drives to the basket from him in the game. Perhaps it was just a deliberate choice to feed Howard on debut and the drives will come later, we'll just have to wait and see. Harden was on from behind the three point line, so maybe he didn't feel like he needed to drive all that much. Lin did manage to weave his way to the basket a few times, which was promising.

    - All the ball-handlers are going to have to practice their lobs. There were a couple of openings that were crying out for a nice alley-oop to Howard, but nobody could get the ball to him. It's not a skill I've ever noticed being put to use much by the Rockets in seasons past, so I'm guessing it's something they'll have to pick up from scratch. Should make for some crowd-pleasing highlights if they can get it right though!

    - One of Lin's weaknesses since he has joined the Rockets has been leading the fast-break. He is great at looking up and throwing a pass ahead, but if he actually has to run the break himself he has a tendency to hold onto the ball too long. We saw that again early in the game where he flubbed an easy 2-on-1 with Parsons. Hopefully it's just rust and he'll have sorted it out by the time the season starts proper.

    - Unlike Paul, I had Casspi ahead of Brewer and Williams on my wing depth chart prior to this game, and he has done a good job of cementing that status here. He has enough of a handle to elevate him to be more than just a pure shooter, and he looks to have the size to be able to do short stints at PF if necessary. He seems to be communicating a lot with the rest of the team, which I like - there was plenty of barking going on! Hopefully that's a function of him getting integrated into the team - I think he and Garcia should make a pretty good tandem as backup wings.

    - The team looked at sea defensively when Howard was off the floor, but that's because Jones and Motiejunas were forced into playing Centre. The team has plenty of depth at that position and once any one of Asik, Camby and Smith come back I would hope to see an uptick in that department.

    - On a non-Rockets note, I was really impressed by Anthony Morrow. He put up a game high 26 points (on 8-15 shooting) and looked as though he has expanded his repertoire from just being a three point gunner. I'm not sure he's going to get a huge number of minutes once (if!) Eric Gordon gets healthy, but he definitely looks rejuvenated from his days on those terrible Nets teams.

    ST

  • Alituro says 10 months ago

    Finally some action! Couple areas of interest/concern: Yes, Lin looked good, good form but matched his assists with turnovers going 4/4. Not too concerned, just a little, that ratio can only get better, his shot looked good though. However, his competing counterpart, Beverley, went 5 assists with only 1 turnover playing with the second unit, not to mention the stellar D played against Jrue.. D-mo's inability to get the ball into the bucket was a huge mystery to me, he seemed to have it all down pat except for that one minor aspect. His counterpart, Jones, looked good and ready to assume the starting 4 position.

    All in all, we did good and our starting unit, even with the expected miscues, looked ready to take this league by storm this year. Howard looked like a man among boys out there which bodes awesome for us. I hope his humble attitude shown in the lockerroom persists.

    Question still remains at the 4. IMO as both PGs showed marked improvements, but, I feel maybe Beverley made bigger strides than Lin which still could put this position in question. But the sample size is still too small to tell.

  • 2016Champions says 10 months ago

    That second unit was embarrassing the last 9 minutes. Was great to see our starting line up dominate though.

  • bboley24 says 10 months ago

    The potential is there???

    We are there!!

    After watching dwight grab board after board after board... easily getting to the rack... we have arrived.

    Everyone analyzing the pf position... doesn't matter... stick player A B C D or F in there...

    PG? We have 3 great points.

    Our biggest problem will be interior passing into dwight.

    Our BIGGEST PROBLEM RIGHT NOW... is who to cut.

  • Chichos says 10 months ago

    Brewer looked bad last night. He had a few moments, but was pretty shaky. I would expect more steady play from a "seasoned" vet. Caspi definitely wants to be on this Rockets team, even if his shot is never going to fall like that again this season. Also Brooks is pretty much used up at the NBA level. Not sure what happened to the jets, but he can't create the same space he used to.

    If Brewer doesn't pick up his play I doubt he makes the cut, same for AB.

  • rockets best fan says 10 months ago

    I actually spoke to both of them, off-camera, before last night's game. Jones doesn't really say much. Motiejunas just talked about the work he did over the summer.

    Jones seems like a quite person to me. I didn't think he would do to much talking. he seems content to let the spotlight shine on someone else. as for D-Mo.........I saw a couple of pictures from camp and he looks beefed up top, but not so much in the lower body. is he now starting to work on that aspect more? how do you think he looks in the lower body on a scale of one to ten?

  • Rahat Huq says 10 months ago

    I actually spoke to both of them, off-camera, before last night's game. Jones doesn't really say much. Motiejunas just talked about the work he did over the summer.

  • rockets best fan says 10 months ago

    enjoyed that Rahat. can you get us an interview with T-Jones and D-Mo upon their return to town please :)I am curious how each view their battle for the starting PF position and what each expects from themselves this season.

  • Red94 says 10 months ago New post: The Red94 Podcast - Episode 23
    By: rahat huq

    In today's episode, I sat down with MoiseKapenda Bower to break down the preseason opener, Dwight Howard's Houston Rockets debut.  Among other topics discussed were Patrick Beverley's stifling defense, Terrence Jones' role on this team, and the West standings.  I hope you'll enjoy.

    Download this episode (right click and save)

  • BrentYen says 10 months ago

    Rivers improved the most in the sense that he was probably the worst player in basketball last year.. so hard to not improve on that, he was still blah in a lot of ways but certainly not at least look like he belongs .

    That is really a very good point, but I am still shocked how much better he gets. lol

  • BrentYen says 10 months ago
    in addition I was reading chron.com and the hate flowing from Laker fans is almost comical. I think they are monitoring Rockets sites even more than their own.

    LAL's fans are really....say....positive. They even said Lakers is better at each and every position than Rox....Really?!....com'on

  • rockets best fan says 10 months ago

    Beverley was ridiculous. I don't think I can remember someone picking someone's pocket four times like that. I almost felt bad for Holliday.

    I agree. I thought Holiday was overrated before this game and Beverly proved it to me. he took Holiday completely out of his comfort zone. right now Hinkie is looking pretty good to me in that Holiday deal.I gotta say it (I can't believe I'm saying it :P) Lin looked like a far different player to me last night. if he can play like that I can live with his presence. don't want to read to much into a preseason game, but it was encouraging. T-Jones looks like the player I think he can be......very encouraging. for just the first preseason game I thought the first unit had some pretty good chemistry. they feed off each other very well. our stars played like stars and the supporting cast filled in nicely around them. the one thing that did concern me.............D-Mo. still need much work defensively......... I expected that, but his lack of making shots puzzles me. the foot work looks good and the fakes get him open looks, but he isn't knocking them down. I will be keeping an eye on that. I don't care how pretty the move is......hitting the shot is all that really matters to me. alas the rooks (Canaan, Covington) looked like rooks, but I suppose first game gitters got to them. overall I was pleased with everything but the loss(hate losing even in preseason). in addition I was reading chron.com and the hate flowing from Laker fans is almost comical. I think they are monitoring Rockets sites even more than their own. oh well it's a long season for them so I cut them some slack :lol:I guess the Laker theme this year is......... their 2nd favorite team this year will be whoever the Rockets are playing. however based on what I saw last night........this is going to be a bad year for a Laker fan :angry: all the way around :lol:

  • Stephen says 10 months ago

    I do question NO having Davis in the game deep into 4Q.

    Not the proper place but we all remember the claim Lin was cut the first time around because Flynn had guaranteed money.
    Brewer is only $100,000 guaranteed and Williams only has half his salary guaranteed.
    My guess it's going to be one of the two and Brooks if he's doing the dribble-out-the-clock BS in practice as well.

  • RollingWave says 10 months ago

    Rivers improved the most in the sense that he was probably the worst player in basketball last year.. so hard to not improve on that, he was still blah in a lot of ways but certainly not at least look like he belongs .

  • Johnny Rocket says 10 months ago

    A very encouraging game, at least from reports and the box score (I didn't see it). The continuing improvement of Lin and Beverly is great. Another thing that jumped out to me was that Howard was 7-11 from the line. It will be HUGE if he can keep that up.

  • BrentYen says 10 months ago

    It's hard to make sense of Holiday, he fell off really really hard later in the season last year. if we look at pre all star Jrue that was pretty good.

    Also, Davis is going to be really really good, dang.

    I think Rivers impressed or improved the most. Looks completely different.

  • BrentYen says 10 months ago

    I was really encouraged by the play of both Lin and Beverley. Both worked really hard on defense and did a good job distributing. Lin had some great passes and some good shooting, while Beverley was a monster guarding Holiday. It's clear that both have made significant strides this off-season. I've read that they've been going all out at each other in practice trying to get better, and it showed tonight.

    If they continue to improve, I think Houston's one-two punch at point guard will be a definite strength this season, and one more thing for opponents to worry about when playing the Rockets.

    Before the game, Pelican's coach said his team matches better at PG position. He obliviously meant Lin vs Holiday, but haha we all know what happened. Not just Lin, PB burned Holiday as well.

  • RollingWave says 10 months ago

    It's hard to make sense of Holiday, he fell off really really hard later in the season last year. if we look at pre all star Jrue that was pretty good.

    Also, Davis is going to be really really good, dang.

  • Rahat Huq says 10 months ago

    Beverley was ridiculous. I don't think I can remember someone picking someone's pocket four times like that. I almost felt bad for Holliday.

  • Red94 says 10 months ago New post: [video] Dwight Howard postgame after his debut; Harden speaks
    By: rahat huq

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqG73IqONlg&feature=share&list=UUWqPfqBlTpYShHCBTRi_Jpg

    It felt surreal seeing him in the lockerroom, standing alone, long after we had all moved on with our cameras.  This man had been the object of the team's desire for years.  Now he was here, in the flesh.  He was quiet, unlike how I remembered him during his trips here when with the Lakers.  Perhaps that was due to a newfound maturity and focus; more likelier, he just didn't know any of us that well.  He took a pair of sweatpants and with some scissors, cut them into long shorts before putting them on.  He took his time, standing at his locker, gathering some items into a bag.  I realized that it hadn't yet hit me, until I was hobbling just a few feet in front of him on my crutch, that Dwight Howard was actually a Houston Rocket.  Does this guy realize how much we wrote about him?  Prayed he chose us?  He was here.  The final piece.

    Howard was introduced last in the introductions to the roar of the locals.  Just the mere projection of his face on the screen sent those in attendance into a frenzy.  He finished with 19 points and 9 rebounds, blowing around overmatched Pelicans defenders when in single coverage.  He also added a block, skying above to goal-tend a few others.  It was a successful debut and everyone went home happy.

    The Rockets worked the ball to Howard in the post, early and often, in one time frame visiting him on four consecutive trips.  On one play, he set a pick for Harden and then rolled to the post to catch the Harden pass with his back to the basket; on another, he found Harden in the corner for an open '3'.  Somewhere, Daryl Morey smiled.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2izC7iic0Y

    (my apologies for the poor video quality - the light from the camera in front of me ruined this shot.)

    Harden was as efficient as ever, making things look effortless.  Watching Howard being introduced though, made me think back fondly to Harden's home debut.  The first time is always the best.  He wanted to come here when we had nothing.  That should not be forgotten.

  • Drew in Abilene says 10 months ago

    I was really encouraged by the play of both Lin and Beverley. Both worked really hard on defense and did a good job distributing. Lin had some great passes and some good shooting, while Beverley was a monster guarding Holiday. It's clear that both have made significant strides this off-season. I've read that they've been going all out at each other in practice trying to get better, and it showed tonight.

    If they continue to improve, I think Houston's one-two punch at point guard will be a definite strength this season, and one more thing for opponents to worry about when playing the Rockets.

  • Buckko says 10 months ago

    That's why I love us keeping asik.