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Texans, Martin, McHale…

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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Total comments: 17
  • Rahat Huq says 2 YEARs ago I agree that Camby was basically perfect. Also Oakley and Kevin Willis in the Vince Carter-Tracy McGrady days in Toronto.
  • Sir Thursday says 2 YEARs ago I agree that Martin is not ideally suited for this kind of role, based on what I've seen of him (and I imagine since you've been to a few workouts/into the lockerroom a few times you're better placed to make this assessment than me). However, he is all we have. And as I say above, I don't think there are going to be too many veterans interested in coming here to babysit when they could be competing. Basically what we need is someone else like Camby who makes their offseason home in Houston or nearby and is not particularly ambitious at the current stage in their career. I mean, if you can find someone who fits the bill and we could reasonably get our hands on, suggest away.

    I guess you could argue that Delfino was signed to fill that sort of role. He is, after all, a veteran pro. Maybe we should ask someone from Milwaukee whether he showed he could be a good influence on their younger players?

    ST
  • Rahat Huq says 2 YEARs ago Sir Thursday:

    Like Blake said, my point was that K-Mart isn't really a teacher in that sense you're describing. He pretty much bailed on the team after his injury last year. I don't see him as a guy who will provide any tutelage.

    I do agree, conceptually, that young teams need veteran leaders who can show the young guys the ropes. But I think these roles are best filled by guys who aren't also still thinking about their own interests like a 28 year old Kevin Martin. Ideally, you want someone in his mid to late 30's who has already accomplished everything he thinks he can individually.
  • blakecouey says 2 YEARs ago I see your point on that, but the point was brought up earlier that Kevin Martin isn't really a leader/educator. When he went down with injury last year he bailed, not even attending games. That was back when it would've been really nice to have a guy with veteran experience there to help calm guys during the collapse and get them focused again. We had some last year, with Camby and Dalembert but I don't think you'd see Ray Allen(could be a good coach after playing IMO) ditching his team when he could help from a suit on the end of the bench.

    In my opinion the leading/teaching roles are much more important coming from the coaching staff. Sure it'd help if the guy could be on court with you, but it all starts with practice and scrimmage.
  • Sir Thursday says 2 YEARs ago

    Rahat Huq, on 30 September 2012 - 21:21 PM said:


    I guess my point with Martin is, I don't care if he can produce....what's the point of getting production if he's not part of the long term plan?


    Because for all the talk of royal jelly, you can't throw out a lineup of first and second year players and expect it to work. Imagine starting work in a new job which neither you nor any of your co-workers have ever done before. You will certainly learn a lot, but you could learn more if you had one or two people around you could look to as an example and get advice from. For this to work, Houston need one or two more experience guys around to be able to be role models and provide and idea of what it takes to succeed in the league. There is nobody on the Houston roster right now who can remotely fit that sort of description except for Kevin Martin.

    If we could get other veterans in to coach up the youngsters, then there would probably be people more suited to the role. But let's be honest, there aren't going to be many veterans who want to spend the twilight of their career teaching a bunch of kids - I'm sure they'd prefer to be chasing rings. Unless that changes, then Kevin Martin is what we have to work with, so Kevin Martin it will have to be.

    ST
  • rockets best fan says 2 YEARs ago sorry kinda got carried away there :rolleyes:
  • rockets best fan says 2 YEARs ago

    Stephen, on 01 October 2012 - 02:40 AM said:


    Rahat,
    I tend to agree with you,but I can see why the team might want to keep him around this season.

    Just as Motie will have to beat out Patterson,Lamb will have to compete for minutes.
    In the long run having to earn minutes may prove far more beneficial than a rookie feeling he's entitled to them.

    Having a productive Martin will keep the Rockets in games. As disheartening a bunch of close losses will be,that's nothing compared to constantly being blown out.

    The more productive Kevin is,the more attractive a FA he will be. That will boost the slim chances the Rockets have of doing a sign-n-trade.
    I agree with most of your statment, however if martin returns to the 20 ppg player I think he he capable of it only increases his value. I don't believe the rockets intend to ride martin's contract out. he is toast at the trade deadline even if he is having a bounce back year. his real value to the rockets is how much can you trade him for. a lot of teams threw money around during the summer. as the season unfolds some of those teams will be looking to shed salary. this is the last year of grace from the new rules in the cba with increases in luxury tax payments. as some teams realize their expectations will not be met the fire sale will start. at this point the rocket must pounce. martin's contract will be over half paid out for the year, but the team that aquires him can eliminate almost 13 mil from next year's salary cap. so if he plays good or bad that contract will be a prize. now lets say he is having a good year, it increases what a team might be willing to give up. so I believe the rockets will try to help martin return to form not because they want him but because it could increase the take at the end game. as for lamb fighting for mintues i'm with you. when a player has to fight for minutes you find out some things about him quickly that would take much longer than if things are handed to him. that's one reason I am so excited about the power forward position.
  • Stephen says 2 YEARs ago Rahat,
    I tend to agree with you,but I can see why the team might want to keep him around this season.

    Just as Motie will have to beat out Patterson,Lamb will have to compete for minutes.
    In the long run having to earn minutes may prove far more beneficial than a rookie feeling he's entitled to them.

    Having a productive Martin will keep the Rockets in games. As disheartening a bunch of close losses will be,that's nothing compared to constantly being blown out.

    The more productive Kevin is,the more attractive a FA he will be. That will boost the slim chances the Rockets have of doing a sign-n-trade.
  • Rahat Huq says 2 YEARs ago I guess my point with Martin is, I don't care if he can produce....what's the point of getting production if he's not part of the long term plan?
  • Stephen says 2 YEARs ago Re McHale and Martin.
    Remember McHale went into last season a big fan of Adelman's corner sets and wanted to run them.
    Unfortunately he quickly discovered w/out Hayes and Miller passing out of the hi-post the corner sets fell apart and they had to retool the offense on the fly.

    The team went w/heavy pick-n-roll action as that is something players can do in their sleep,so in a season w/little practice time that became the standard offense.
    Then Kevin hurt his shoulder,which is painful enough,but it killed any desire he had to rub defenders off screens. Kevin shoulder wasn't up to coming hard off screens,taking the contact that rubs off a defender. He'd loop around them,rendering them useless. He pretty much ended up standing at the 3pt line hoping his defender would ignore him and he'd get the ball.

    Eventually the coaches devised a 3 man weave running off high screens. Not Martins' game-he's just not a good enough ball handler,combined w/his bad shoulder,left him out of the offense.

    This year will likely be very different for Kevin-assuming he's not been traded.
    Royce White was probably drafted to fill the Hayes/Miller role in the corner sets.
    Last season Martin had a stretch of 10 of 11 games he scored 25 or more points-just as the Rockets went to a heavy pick-n-roll offense. So I'd expect him to be successful w/a pick-n-roll PG like Lin. I'd also expect him to see steady minutes w/the second unit and White.
    McHale has gone on record worrying about scoring out of half-court sets. Which happens to be Martin's strength,so I expect Martin to get plenty of screens set and to get a ton of touches.

    Last season the coaching staff thought they inherited a functional offense and spent what little time they had working on the defense.
    Unfortunately they were missing key cogs and the inherited offense collapsed. They retooled on the fly and ended up w/a pretty good offense.
    This year they have a full camp,an idea of what the returning players can do and a couple of bigs in White and Jones who can pass the ball.
    The default offense will be the fats break,then a top of circle motion offense w/numerous high screens set by bigs who then roll or pop out,and an end of shot-clock default of give Lin the ball.
  • Sir Thursday says 2 YEARs ago

    Quote:

    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.


    I disagree with this to an extent - Lamb is the natural replacement for Martin, and I'm sure there are things that he could pass on. Whether he will...I guess only time will tell.

    As logggur points out, the blueprint for getting the most out of Lin established in New York was 3-point shooter + good roll man. Now, of the two I think the roll man was a far more critical component - Chandler was probably the best centre at finishing the pick and roll last year (IIRC he had one of the top 10 FG% of all time last season. I don't have access to synergy but from the Knick's games I saw that principally came off put-backs and P&R), plus he set bone-crunching screens that made life a lot easier for Lin. Whether Asik can replicate Chandler's impact is a different question. But Novak was important too. In the offseason we've lost our two best corner-3 guys from last year (Budinger and Lee), so it's going to have to be Parsons, Martin and Lamb doing Novak's job.

    Martin can be a deadly shooter if used right. I feel like McHale didn't really implement enough sets for him - he should be used more like Boston have used Ray Allen in previous years - tons of off-ball screens to get him open and free of his man. Hopefully with a full offseason and training camp (as well as a season to think about it), McHale will have come up with a few plays with that kind of action in. But if he does, I'm hopeful that we could see a Novakian resurgence for him this season.

    ST
  • amacbrooks12 says 2 YEARs ago I know Mchale is partially responsible for the "big callapse" that happened last season , but you guys need to give the man credit . At the all star break , we were the 5th seed with just a game behind the 4th seed . Even after the all star break where we had that 4-0 road trip , Mchale had the Rockets close to the playoffs when we were without our two best players in Kevin Martin and Kyle Lowry . So you guys should give him some credit and look deeper into what he actually did because I believe he is the man for the job .
  • rockets best fan says 2 YEARs ago

    Rahat Huq, on 28 September 2012 - 00:51 AM said:


    Logggur - I think the question there though pertains to building a championship team. It reminds me of the Steve Francis situation. You know he can thrive with the ball in his hands but then your team isn't going to be elite. A) Can a team be elite if the ball is in Lin's hands the majority of the time and B) if it's not in his hands the majority of the time, can he still produce?
    (IMO) lin is is nothing like francis. he is closer to a nash type player. he doesn't need 24 seconds to figure out what he wants to do with the ball and he shoots better outside than francis ever could. this team needs lin to have the ball to be effective. if lin turns out to be the player we think he is an elite team can be built with the ball in his hands.
    as for the texans I believe we are superbowl bound.........GO TEXANS!

    as for mc hale I believe his time here is limited. he simply doesn't have the know how to lead a team to elite status. some people believe with a full season he will be better.......I don't. I saw things last year that proved to me he is not the man for the job.
  • Rahat Huq says 2 YEARs ago Logggur - I think the question there though pertains to building a championship team. It reminds me of the Steve Francis situation. You know he can thrive with the ball in his hands but then your team isn't going to be elite. A) Can a team be elite if the ball is in Lin's hands the majority of the time and B) if it's not in his hands the majority of the time, can he still produce?
  • logggur says 2 YEARs ago Lin's best games were played with an elite 3-point shooter in Novak and a great rim-protecting center in Chandler. Novak was off the charts in 3pt%, Chandler was top 5 for fg%, and Lin was obviously throwing up a serious stat line every night. Just to give you an idea of how awesome the Knicks roster was at that point, the starters for the LA game were Lin/Fields/Bill Walker/Jared Jeffries/Tyson Chandler (oddly enough, Bill Walker had the best +/-). Also in that crazy stretch, Lin either led the team in scoring or was in second place (except against the Kings because in that game he turned into an assist machine).

    The point is, Lin appears to succeed when he is the focal point of the offense. The dream appeared over when Carmelo and Amare returned and there was conflict over who should have the ball. In Houston, he'll almost certainly be the primary option, depending on the development of the apparent offensive weapons in Lamb and Montiejunas.

    Anyway, here's my point: A reasonable facsimile of that successful Knicks lineup is Lin/Martin/Asik. We've all seen that Martin functions best when he isn't the primary scoring option, and rather plays off the ball. Asik is a great defender, hopefully he'll learn to dunk/make layups. Neither of those guys need an incredible amount of time with the ball in their hands to be very effective. Don't be surprised if Kevin Martin hangs around a little longer than we all anticipated.

    That being said I think everyone including him knows that Kevin is not part of the long term plan. Obviously he's not getting a good return on his value in terms of trades or he'd be gone right now, same as any of the Rockets. Showcasing his talents alongside a very suitable lineup in Lin/Asik/Parsons/etc to convince some contender they need him makes way more sense than panic trading him because the Howard thing fell through.
  • Rahat Huq says 2 YEARs ago That's a good point about Martin potentially getting hurt. I didn't consider that.
  • blakecouey says 2 YEARs ago I don't see the value added to Martin by playing him worth stunting or slowing the development of Lamb. Martin's value is as an expiring contract, and that only increases. He's been around long enough that all the GM's should know what he is capable of, and that a bad season isn't anything to worry about. If anything would hurt us is if K Mart was to be played and got hurt AGAIN, that would severely limit the suitors for him, ruling out the contenders as they aren't going to commit to a guy to ride the pine in a suit.

    As for the Texans. I love how we're playing right now, fast paced, shove it down their throat football. JJ Watt is making a real name for himself, and if he keeps it up all season he could make waves as a potential MVP candidate(although MVPs are usually only won by Offensive guys, so I won't go that far). Also, I'm excited about all the national attention we're getting. Still not as much as the Pats/Giants/Packers/Saints/Steelers etc get when they're "on top" but it's much more than previous years(or Rockets/Astros lol). I do believe it will allow the Rockets to go relatively unnoticed(by semi-fans) during the lull we're about to begin. All that said, I'm extremely thankful for DVR so I don't have to miss any of either of our teams games.

    I definitely think McHale is most at stake, if he tries to hold back playing the young guys he can't be tolerated. I understand he would be a helpful tool for certain aspects of development, but he can't hold them out of games like he did to MM last year or it's useless. It will be very annoying if Lamb is sitting behind Martin for long, same with the forwards. I don't see who McHale could possibly clash with this year, aside from K Mart. The young guys need to listen and learn, and if they have such egos(which I don't think is the case-except maybe D-Mo) at this early a stage in their career they need to be held in check.

    Anyways, Im excited for the start of the season(and pre-season).

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