The Rockets Daily – October 9, 2013

Lowe ExpectationsGrantland’s Zach Lowe has written his 2013-2014 NBA season preview. He puts the Rockets in the second tier of contenders along with the Pacers, Grizz, Clips and Nets, but below the top tier of the Heat, Spurs, Thunder and Bulls. He writes:

The potential for a championship roster is there, but there are too many questions to get Houston, flush with two of the league’s 15 best players, into the top tier. The Rox need to either feed Howard all the delicious post-ups he wants or trick him into feeling like a centerpiece while really leaning on the Harden/Howard pick-and-roll that should be their foundation. Houston will also slow down some after playing at the league’s fastest pace last season, and the coaching staff has been blunt in detailing how Harden, Jeremy Lin, and Chandler Parsons must improve their defensive fundamentals and/or effort.

Lion Face/Lemon Face - I’m going to steal Hardwood Paroxysm’s excellent format for today’s news on the Rockets trip to the Philippines.

Lion Face: Jeremy Lin is loving it:

“I’m glad to see and feel the warmth they showed to me in person when I got the chance to walk in the mall last night. Everyone was polite, respectful and I was really blown away,” he said.

He said he was thankful for a chance “to inspire people, especially my fellow Asians.”

Lemon Face: Traveling to the far side of the globe isn’t a great way to prepare for the season, according to Chandler Parsons:

So, yeah, it’s a little bit inconvenient to make a trip like this at a time when we need every day to build some chemistry and try to come together to challenge for a championship.

So You’re Saying There’s a ChanceBovada has released the Vegas odds on who will win the NBA Championship this year, and the Rockets’ changes are decent: 10-1. They fall behind Miami (2-1), Chicago (8-1), Oklahoma City (8-1) and the Clippers (9-1), and they’re tied with Brooklyn and Indiana. I feel compelled to remind you that gambling is never a responsible financial decision, unless you’re really drunk.

Karl Malone, Mentor? - SI.com’s Rob Mahoney paired up three NBA stars with hypothetical mentors in a recent column. He picked Karl Malone for Dwight Howard. His rationale is that The Mailman could help Superman reach his full potential as a roll man:

A more committed screen would free up Howard’s ball-handling teammate more, further stretching the attention and resources of opposing defenses. Everyone would benefit. Howard could see clearer lanes to the rim (or segues into post-up opportunities) as the defense rotates to the ball, Houston’s shooters could get more open looks due to the defensive urgency of stopping dribble penetration, and the ball-handler in question would generate momentum en route to a good look at the basket if not defended fully. All it would take is a little patience (and a bit more contact) in Howard’s screen-setting. Who better to learn that timing from than Karl Malone, who served as the finishing half of arguably the best pick-and-roll duo of all time?

This has plenty of merit from a technical skill-development perspective, but let’s be real; the last thing Howard needs is to be following in the footsteps of a big man who is known for wilting in huge moments and never winning a championship.

It’s a Business – A few weeks ago I was surprised to see that I was being followed on Twitter by “the world’s 4th largest mobile handset manufacturer,” ZTE. I was skeptical, having never heard of the company, but a quick Google search revealed that they are huge in Asia, but still didn’t quite understand what any of that had to do with me.

Now I know. Take it away, Forbes:

The Houston Rockets have teamed up with the fourth largest mobile phone vendor in the world, naming ZTE  their official smartphone for the 2013-14 NBA season. Marking ZTE’s first major promotional breakthrough in the United States, this partnership capitalizes on the promising future of both organizations.

According to Forbes, Chandler Parsons will play a key role in endorsing the product.

While this is not the first partnership between the Rockets and a Chinese brand, this one seems to have particular significance. The Rockets have been selected by a global company to be a major beachhead for expansion in the United States. It’s an almost unnerving reminder that more is riding on the success of the team than just the emotions of the fans. The NBA is a huge marketing enterprise, and economic bridges between the two most powerful countries in the world–the U.S. and China–are being built on its back.

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Total comments: 11
  • rockets best fan says 10 months ago

    It's also kind of interesting how respected analysts and informed fans all unanimously cite Howard's need to commit to the pick and roll and roll harder etc. as the most important thing whereas the more mainstream fluff opinion is to focus on his training with Hakeem and results posting up.

    totally agree. everyone seems to be obsessed with his pick and roll game. while it will be part of his responsibilities, I also expect to see a much improved post game. He's not doing all this work with Dream to learn how to run the P&R you know! in the preseason game I watched I saw a couple of dream-lite moves displayed by D-12. he will be a much improved post player this year. many will be surprised by that fact, but not me. if he can just get 2 or 3 of dreams moves down he'll be unstoppable. also that free throw line from the other night was impressive for him......very encouraging :)

  • rockets best fan says 10 months ago

    dat a boy Chandler..........WOOF WOOF :lol:

  • Stephen says 10 months ago

    Re Parsons,
    Looks like he found something else that was justa tad more important than team chemistry :)
    "HOUSTON Rockets rising star Chandler Parsons admitted he went out on a dinner date with Philippine actress KC Concepcion on Tuesday night, months after a Twitter exchange that caught the attention of showbiz and sports fans alike"
    http://www.spin.ph/sports/basketball/news/rockets-rising-star-parsons-confirms-dinner-date-with-actress-kc-concepcion-v02

  • rocketrick says 10 months ago

    Asik's commitment and timing on his screens is impeccable, with, quite often, visually pleasing, bone rattling results. Howard doesn't have to look far if he needs a screen mentor. I think it's all about the center's expected return off the screen. Asik doesn't expect to get the ball on the roll and wants his guard to get the most off his screen, while Howard is going to demand the ball often, so all he's thinking about is his foray to the rim. I think it is an adjustment Howard will need to make, as, for once in his career, he has guards that stand equal chance to score off of his pick as he does off of his roll.


    For sure Asik is absolutely one of my most favorite Rocket Players.

    Unfortunately for him, his hands are apparently made of stone. Asik certainly sets great screens but is pretty much useless in catching the vast majority of passes while rolling for an easy (Asik Exception) dunk or lay-in that consistently ends up as a busted play.

    Still, I continue to root for him and his necessary improvement to become one of the NBA's most effective post players.

    Alas, I may have to continue rooting for him (exception of playing the Rockets) as a future opponent unless he can prove the majority of us wrong.
  • Rahat Huq says 10 months ago

    It's also kind of interesting how respected analysts and informed fans all unanimously cite Howard's need to commit to the pick and roll and roll harder etc. as the most important thing whereas the more mainstream fluff opinion is to focus on his training with Hakeem and results posting up.

  • Rahat Huq says 10 months ago

    It's easy to forget how good the Bulls were at full health because of the lack of star power and flash. From a previous Lowe article:

    But this team is loaded — if Rose can be something like Rose again. The Bulls finished with the league’s best record in two seasons with a healthy Rose and Tom Thibodeau bellowing on the sidelines. They fell to Miami in five games in the conference finals in 2011, but those games were insanely competitive; the Heat needed overtime to secure Game 4 and an improbable streak of crazy jump-shooting from LeBron James to clinch Game 5. Carlos Boozer was dealing with turf toe, and Chicago lost Omer Asik to a broken leg late in the series. And it returned better than ever in 2011-12, with the league’s no. 5 offense and (by far) the best point differential.

    Creating shots without Rose was arduous, five-man work for the Bulls last season. Thibodeau and his staff crafted motion-heavy sets involving Luol Deng and Butler popping off near-simultaneous screens (but notexactlysimultaneous screens) on opposite sides of the floor, clever interior passing from Joakim Noah and Boozer at the elbows, and expert cutting. But it was a slog, it was predictable, and it involved lots of moving and screening and dribbling that soaked up a ton of the shot clock. The Bulls finished 24th in points per possession. You can’t win a title that way; you can’t really even sniff one.
    But all that heavy lifting will come in handy this season. Chicago knows how to play when Rose hits the bench, and it can toss in more wrinkles when Rose is on the floor. Rose adds the dose of speed and unpredictability Chicago needs to wade through a loaded top half of the Eastern Conference. The Bulls can run again, selectively. They can lean on simple high pick-and-rolls, letting Rose make choices on the fly, to ease the collective mental and physical burden on some possessions.
  • Alituro says 10 months ago

    Asik's commitment and timing on his screens is impeccable, with, quite often, visually pleasing, bone rattling results. Howard doesn't have to look far if he needs a screen mentor. I think it's all about the center's expected return off the screen. Asik doesn't expect to get the ball on the roll and wants his guard to get the most off his screen, while Howard is going to demand the ball often, so all he's thinking about is his foray to the rim. I think it is an adjustment Howard will need to make, as, for once in his career, he has guards that stand equal chance to score off of his pick as he does off of his roll.

  • Jeby says 10 months ago

    Honestly, that title was just a play on Lowe's name. I think his ranking was pretty fair.

  • Sir Thursday says 10 months ago

    Is Lowe a Bulls fan?? Maybe I'm biased, but I don't see how the Bulls are ranked a tier above the Rockets.

    The return of Rose plus much better wing depth this year (Dunleavy > Belinelli, 2013 Butler > 2012 Butler) makes a pretty huge difference. You have to remember that a very similar team was tearing it up on the way to the league's best record a couple of seasons back. I can understand why he's expecting big things.

    ST

  • RollingWave says 10 months ago

    they been closer than the Rockets have been in a long time I guess

    There is a point to some extend that this team hasn't played a regular season game together yet, there are some assumption we should probably hold in check until we do, of course, the same question hardly prevented everyone from going overboard on the Lakers....

  • 2016Champions says 10 months ago

    Is Lowe a Bulls fan?? Maybe I'm biased, but I don't see how the Bulls are ranked a tier above the Rockets.