But today is Black Friday, baby! It’s the annual celebration of greed and black-hearted avarice that helps fuel the engine of this great capitalist machine we call America. In keeping with this great tradition (and because few of the above listed Thanksgiving columns listed anything about Houston), here’s my Black Friday wish list for the Houston Rockets:
- I want Omer Asik to accept his role as a backup. Before the emergence of Terrence Jones, I would have said to trade Asik for a starting power forward. Unless Houston is getting back LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Bosh or Kevin Love, it’s going to be hard to find someone more valuable than the great Defensive Insurance Policy sitting on the bench.
- I want Chandler Parsons to think of himself as a stopper again. There’s almost no way Houston is trading him this year, but they need a stopper. This isn’t hard to figure out.
- I want James Harden’s feet to get better.
- I want James Harden to be a jerk. When the Beard focuses on locking down his man instead of watching the ball and hiding in the lane for steals, he plays decent defense. If he went into each game with the mindset of completely humiliating the opposing shooting guard on both ends of the floor, we might see fewer games in which J.J. Redick goes off.
- I want Dwight Howard and Terrence Jones to become best friends. I want these guys to play together, and love playing together. The Howard-Jones defensive pairing is the defensive equivalent of a five-for-eternity slap bet. Anyone who drives the lane against the Rockets never knows which freaky-freak athlete is going to come from nowhere and humiliate him. As Ted Mosby says, “The constant fear of knowing that any moment you could be slapped in the face would drive you crazy.”
- I want James Harden to start hitting threes. He’s hitting just 30.9 percent. It’s unlikely that that continues.
- I want Jeremy Lin to keep hitting threes. He’s hitting 39.0 percent. It’s unlikely that that continues.
- I want the Harden-Howard pick-and-roll to start working. Has anyone else noticed that Houston really hasn’t done much this year with what should be the most dangerous play in the league?
- I want Bill Worrell to start calling Terrence Jones “The Katana.” You think I’m going to let this go. Nope.
Silver Linings Playbook – David Vertsberger at Hickory-High.com has an interesting take on the silver lining of injuries: they are a window of opportunity for many players. He points out that Linsanity was made possible by an injury to Baron Davis.
Reflecting on this Rockets’ season, injuries to Lin and Harden have revealed just how much Aaron Brooks can offer if he’s needed because of injuries again later in the season. Yao Ming’s injuries eventually opened the door for Dwight Howard to come to Houston. While not an injury, per se, Omer Asik’s inability to play for a few games opened the door for Terrence Jones to break out.
Mr. Consistency – Also from Hickory-High, this article and chart examines the variance of scorers over the past ten seasons. What we find when we filter for both Dwight Howard and James Harden is that their standard deviation for points per game his been below the league average over the past two seasons. In other words, while neither one of them is less likely to explode for 50 points like a Carmelo Anthony, they are more likely to give you a consistent rate of scoring each night.
Contributor Needed – I’m still taking applications for someone to replace me as news editor, which mostly involves writing the Daily. I’ll be writing less starting around Christmas. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested.