The Rockets Daily – October 2, 2013

Keep BreathingVia CBS Houston, Dwight Howard sat out of practice on Tuesday with a sore foot.

Howard doesn’t think it will be an issue.  After practice Tuesday, Howard told reporters the team just wanted to give the foot some rest.

“Just sore.  They wanted to rest me,” Howard said. “Nothing major just a precaution.”

“I wasn’t really worried about it,” Howard said of getting X-rays on the foot. “It was nothing really serious, wasn’t a worry.”

Yeah, no big. I can’t think of any reasons why Houston’s training staff would go DEFCON 5 trillion over their star center having some foot soreness. Can Yao you?

Rave Reviews – The Rockets ranked no. 4 on USA Today’s Watchability Rankings. Aside from the obvious draw of Howard and Harden, the continuing youth movement gained some attention:

Intriguing youth: With Parsons, Motiejunas, Greg Smith, Terrence Jones and Patrick Beverley, the Rockets have lots of young talent that should prove formidable once given more minutes. Parsons has already firmly established himself as a capable starter and Beverley played solid minutes at point guard last season when Lin was hurt. The two big-man prospects have boundless potential and could make Houston a very exciting team beyond just the superstars.

I’m not sure which two of Smith, Jones and Motiejunas are the two prospects with “boundless potential,” but it’s good to see those guys getting some love.

CowardsMike Kearns at The Dream Shake pretty much called out the rest of the Rockets’ blogging community for our reluctance to ascribe championship potential to this year’s team:

They have two of the top 10 players in the game right now, arguably. They have a general manager that is one of the best I’ve ever seen in rounding out a roster with the right role players. They have a coach that players love to play for and has won at the highest level in his playing career. They’re also young and said general manager has probably the best trade chip out of any contending team at the moment. Other than your own insecurity as a Houston sports fan, why the hell should we not look at this team as a title contender in 2013-14?

Kearns presents a compelling case. My rebuttal is as follows: “LeBron James.”

Actually, you know what? I can’t just leave it there. Kearns is extremely right. All of the teams in the West that are assumed to be better than Houston (which I would consider to be San Antonio, OKC and the Clippers) have serious issues that no one wants to talk about. So lets talk about them.

The Spurs are ancient, but no one wants to write them off because they always seem to supernaturally defy age and injury. But Father Time is undefeated, and the chances of age catching up to Tim Duncan only increase each year. The same goes for 31-year-old Tony Parker.

The Thunder are flat-out worse than they were when they weren’t good enough to win a championship two years ago. And that was before this news broke.

My take on the Clippers will make some people upset: Chris Paul is overrated. That’s not to say he isn’t elite, or even that he isn’t arguably the most productive point guard of all time. I mean that he is regarded on a level with LeBron James and Kevin Durant in terms of guaranteeing wins. He is probably the third best player in the league, but at this point in his career, that is a very distant third. His creaky knees are the other shoe always waiting to drop. Then there’s Blake Griffin, who puts up the numbers of a great big man without the defense to go with them. Griffin and Paul are basically what Harden and Howard would be if Harden was exactly 1.1 WARP better and if Howard played only average defense. I would consider Doc Rivers’ arrival to be a bigger deal if he brought Tom Thibodeau with him.

I’m sure arguments can and will be made for the Warriors and the Grizzlies, but those may have to wait for another day.

I’ve tempered my expectations to not get my hopes up for anything better than a second-round exit, but really I’m just trying to soften the potential blow of disappointment. I wouldn’t take the Rockets over the field as being the best bet to make the Finals, but I wouldn’t take any other team over the field either. I can’t look at any other team in the West and say with confidence that it’s better than what Houston should be. It’s time to accept that Houston is the rational favorite in the West and accept the pressure that comes with it.

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Total comments: 9
  • Sir Thursday says 11 months ago

    I can see where Mike Kerns is coming from, but the Rockets have their question marks too. I very much agree with rocketrick - getting a team to gel together takes time, especially when you have to integrate as disruptive a piece (and I mean that in a good way) as Dwight.

    There are 6 strong teams in the West - Rockets, Thunder, Spurs, Clippers, Warriors and Grizzlies. To maximise your chances of winning the West, you want a top 2 seed so you can avoid a couple of those in the first round. It all comes down to whether the Rockets can keep the win train rolling while getting comfortable with their team balance and finding someone to hold down the PF spot. If they can do that, then I think a #2 seed is possible, but if they don't come out of the gate fast I think they'll have to settle for lower. And I don't like their odds of having to go through three of those 5 contenders to win the West.

    ST

  • rocketrick says 11 months ago

    I'm all for being super enthusiastic about the Rockets this season. However, I believe our enthusiasm must be tempered by the necessity of patience to allow the team time to develop that special chemistry between players including trusting each other to make the right defensive rotations, offensive rotations, etc. on the floor as well as time to develop the most effective rotation. All of the other contenders are eons ahead of us in both facets, in my opinion.


    My last point is a bit fuzzy, what I meant to say is it will take some time for the Rockets to figure out the best bench rotation, who to substitute for how long, etc.
  • miketheodio says 11 months ago

    every year (recently), people underestimate the spurs. now that they are being recognized, i think they will underperform.

  • rocketrick says 11 months ago

    to me the Rockets are the favorite to win both the west and the championship. I think most people look at D-12 from last year and forget how good this guy was in Orlando. D-12 is one of the few centers in the game able to affect the total flow of a game at both ends of the floor. surethere's going to be an adjustment period for this team, but I don't think it will be that long because of the natural fit of Harden's talents with D-12. Morey has assembled the perfect 2 stars IMO. this team still has more room for improvement with the trade chips we still have and I trust a GM like Morey to address any glaring need that arises during the year.
    1. I agree everyone seems to think San Antonio will out run father time, but last year might have been their last opportunity. they may have out run him thus far, but he is still undefeated. sooner or later he will run them down. I think we started to see the cracks in the armor last year with Ginobli.
    2. many still believe OKC to be among the elite in the west.................I DON'T. Yes they will be good, but even elite teams can not keep taking losses in talent level without it coming back to haunt them at some point. say what you will about K-Martin but the man played well for them last year in the six man role. exactly who will cover that for them this year? Lamb? their point guard Jackson will be to busy trying to cover the loss of Westbrook. Durrant will be a one man army. they have even more questions than we do about player rotation.
    3. the Clipper will be on sports center every night. problem is everything that glitters ain't gold. they are all flash and no substance. until D-Jordan and B-Griffin learn the word defense and its meaning they will always come up lacking in the end.


    I'm all for being super enthusiastic about the Rockets this season. However, I believe our enthusiasm must be tempered by the necessity of patience to allow the team time to develop that special chemistry between players including trusting each other to make the right defensive rotations, offensive rotations, etc. on the floor as well as time to develop the most effective rotation. All of the other contenders are eons ahead of us in both facets, in my opinion.
  • Cooper says 11 months ago Durant can be a cavs level lebron player in the regular season and carry them to wins. Ibaka thabo and Jackson are a decent supporting cast. As long as Westbrook and Durant are ready for the playoffs they are a threat in the west, and pretty much the only time Perkins is worth having on a basketball court is against Howard. The added shooters help the clips but not enough for them to be truly elite unless Blake Griffin is improved or Paul plays out of this world, who his hard to do for a whole series. Spurs are still the spurs Father Time caught ginobli it seems but kwahi can make up for most of those points.
  • Alituro says 11 months ago

    to me the Rockets are the favorite to win both the west and the championship. I think most people look at D-12 from last year and forget how good this guy was in Orlando. D-12 is one of the few centers in the game able to affect the total flow of a game at both ends of the floor. surethere's going to be an adjustment period for this team, but I don't think it will be that long because of the natural fit of Harden's talents with D-12. Morey has assembled the perfect 2 stars IMO. this team still has more room for improvement with the trade chips we still have and I trust a GM like Morey to address any glaring need that arises during the year.

    1. I agree everyone seems to think San Antonio will out run father time, but last year might have been their last opportunity. they may have out run him thus far, but he is still undefeated. sooner or later he will run them down. I think we started to see the cracks in the armor last year with Ginobli.

    2. many still believe OKC to be among the elite in the west.................I DON'T. Yes they will be good, but even elite teams can not keep taking losses in talent level without it coming back to haunt them at some point. say what you will about K-Martin but the man played well for them last year in the six man role. exactly who will cover that for them this year? Lamb? their point guard Jackson will be to busy trying to cover the loss of Westbrook. Durrant will be a one man army. they have even more questions than we do about player rotation.

    3. the Clipper will be on sports center every night. problem is everything that glitters ain't gold. they are all flash and no substance. until D-Jordan and B-Griffin learn the word defense and its meaning they will always come up lacking in the end.

    I agree with everything you said.. You pose a good point about Morey assembling around 2 perfect stars in Howard and Harden... besides any duo that includes LeBron, I personally couldn't think of any two I'd rather have more, even Durant/Westbrook... maybe Durant/Howard or CP3/Howard, but it's still close.

    On the Clippers, how many feel there may be some problems with CP3 ceding control to Doc? Vice-Versa? And How coach-able are Griffin and Jordan going to prove to be or not to be? I think they will win their fair share of games in the regular season, probably top 2 in the WC, but don't see them as formidable when playoffs start, when coaching and smart adjustments matter most.

  • It's Dee Way Ferrell says 11 months ago

    In terms of pure talent level yes the Thunder is worse off, but really, the Grizz were worse off last year in the playoffs than they were before that in terms of talent too, and they went further. there is considerable value in continuity in terms of pushing a team to and beyond it's ceiling, most of the team we consider ahead of Rockets at this point have a lot more of it than the Rockets do . (maybe except the Clippers.)

  • rockets best fan says 11 months ago

    to me the Rockets are the favorite to win both the west and the championship. I think most people look at D-12 from last year and forget how good this guy was in Orlando. D-12 is one of the few centers in the game able to affect the total flow of a game at both ends of the floor. surethere's going to be an adjustment period for this team, but I don't think it will be that long because of the natural fit of Harden's talents with D-12. Morey has assembled the perfect 2 stars IMO. this team still has more room for improvement with the trade chips we still have and I trust a GM like Morey to address any glaring need that arises during the year.

    1. I agree everyone seems to think San Antonio will out run father time, but last year might have been their last opportunity. they may have out run him thus far, but he is still undefeated. sooner or later he will run them down. I think we started to see the cracks in the armor last year with Ginobli.

    2. many still believe OKC to be among the elite in the west.................I DON'T. Yes they will be good, but even elite teams can not keep taking losses in talent level without it coming back to haunt them at some point. say what you will about K-Martin but the man played well for them last year in the six man role. exactly who will cover that for them this year? Lamb? their point guard Jackson will be to busy trying to cover the loss of Westbrook. Durrant will be a one man army. they have even more questions than we do about player rotation.

    3. the Clipper will be on sports center every night. problem is everything that glitters ain't gold. they are all flash and no substance. until D-Jordan and B-Griffin learn the word defense and its meaning they will always come up lacking in the end.

  • RollingWave says 11 months ago

    In terms of pure talent level yes the Thunder is worse off, but really, the Grizz were worse off last year in the playoffs than they were before that in terms of talent too, and they went further. there is considerable value in continuity in terms of pushing a team to and beyond it's ceiling, most of the team we consider ahead of Rockets at this point have a lot more of it than the Rockets do . (maybe except the Clippers.)