Media day is this Monday. So we’re basically one month away from the official start of things if you don’t count preseason. Though we should count preseason because nothing this season will really even be official – it will be all about watching the new guys play and develop.
Does the Texans’ expected dominance add or relieve pressure from the Rockets? Currently sitting at 3-0 (and ranked atop ESPN’s weekly Power Rankings) many are expecting the local team to make a run to the Super Bowl. So let’s say come December, the Texans’ record is something gaudy like 11-1. How will that affect the Rockets? Well, for one, no one will even be watching the Rockets. So they’ll get to fly under the radar and develop their youth without any expectations. How tragic would it be if they were still clinging onto the ‘rebuild while contending’ model when no one in the city even cared? Thank God for Jeremy Lin!
I’m looking at the media day lineup right now and Kevin Martin is one of three Rockets who will be available to speak. While that makes sense…pretty awkward. I’m still taking bids on the shooting guard’s departure date. The thing about Martin is that there isn’t even any ‘veteran value’ to keeping him around. He’s not a guy who will set a good example in the lockerroom and help mentor the rookies – he wasn’t even around last season after his injury.
The question is, like I wrote about earlier, do you gain more from playing him (in resuscitating his trade value) than you lose (stunting Lamb’s development, winning games)..? You can’t just throw Jeremy Lamb straight into the fire – I understand that. But if he’s not the starter by, say, February, there is a problem.
Which Rocket has the most at stake this year? (Other than Marcus Morris.) I’ll say Kevin McHale. While he didn’t do a bad job last season, he was largely responsible for the collapse down the stretch and is unarguably the worst coach the team has had since before Rudy Tomjanovich. Another year of clashing with key players and questionable rotations and McHale will be on his way out.
Finally, is anyone in the league facing more pressure to perform than Jeremy Lin? Lebron won his title. I don’t think Kevin Durant will be crucified if OKC doesn’t get through. Dwight Howard is a candidate, perhaps, but it’s understood that he’s just a cog in a machine of many parts with the Lakers. Most around the league still consider Jeremy Lin’s stretch with the Knicks last year to have been a fluke. Can he repeat the performance in Houston and silence the critics? He will have the ball in his hands in a pick and roll heavy system. There’s really no reason to expect much of a dropoff.
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