Faithless – Jeremy Lin’s comment about his coaches losing faith in him had some legs yesterday. As a result, Brian Windhorst offered up his take on ESPN:
As is pretty much always the case with Jeremy Lin, I’m sure we’re all just overreacting.
Overreacting – If you want to throw more fuel on the let’s-debate-the-point-guard-position fire, here’s a great interview with Isaiah Canaan on rockets.com. It sounds like he’s already hitting a groove playing with James Harden:
JCF: Have you had a chance to play alongside James much?
IC: Oh yeah, we played together a lot when we were out there together in LA. I’m a release valve for him; when he gets in trouble, he knows I can make the shots so he likes kicking it to me. We’re going to try to build upon that throughout the season. Even with Dwight, when he gets doubled – or anybody else for that matter – I can be a release valve for him because I shoot the ball so well. That’s what the Rockets love: they love good shooters and I feel like I fit in real well because that’s definitely one of my strengths.
Canaan comes across as very confident, polished and aware of his role in this piece. But seriously, let’s not start talking about him as if he could take Lin or Beverly’s spot in the rotation. That would be overreacting. It’ll be everything he can do to leapfrog Aaron Brooks, who has already proven he can cut it in the pros. The Rio Grande Valley Vipers will have an excellent point guard this year, and the Rockets will have another backup available for when Lin goes down with his annual playoff injury. What? Too soon?
It’s On – Is it just me, or is Dubs-Rox shaping up to be the biggest rivalry in the West next year? It seems like the confluence of young talent, big free agent additions, and memorable personalities has built a few emotional games from last season into something more. NBA.com held a blogtable discussion yesterday debating which team would come out on top, and the writers split evenly between the two teams. Steve Aschburner made what I thought was the most compelling case for Houston:
Golden State won two more games than Houston last season but one team added Andre Iguodala and the other added Dwight Howard. I like the Warriors’ talent and what they did with it, but that was with Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry as key rotation players. They’re gone now. Daryl Morey‘s not done with that roster yet, and the Rockets are hungry. Also, I think Howard has a big year in him, bottled up through the nonsense of his last two seasons and uncorked through his new partnership with Hall of Fame big men Kevin McHale and Hakeem Olajuwon.
It’s easy to forget after GSW’s impressive playoff run that they were only two games ahead of Houston. How different would the perception of these teams be if Golden State had run into the OKC buzzsaw in the first round instead of upsetting a gimmicky Nuggets team? Also, the loss of Jarrett Jack (one of the top candidates for 6th Man of the Year) and Carl Landry is far, far more painful than the loss of Carlos Delfino and Thomas Robinson, considering Robinson had fallen out of the rotation, and Francisco Garcia showed great promise in filling Delfino’s role.
As far as the comparisons between the additions of Iguodala and Dwight Howard, let’s try to put this to sleep right now. Even if we throw out the fact that Dwight Howard is in another stratosphere in terms of career accomplishments and look solely at last season, here’s how it shakes out:
PER: Andre Iguodala – 15.2; Dwight Howard – 19.4
Offensive Rating (points produced per 100 possessions) – AI – 105; D12 – 105
Defensive Rating (points allowed per 100 possessions) – AI – 105; D12 – 100
Offensive Win Shares – AI – 2.4; D12 – 2.8
Defensive Win Shares – AI – 3.2; D12 – 4.8
Turnover Percentage – AI – 17.1; D12 – 16.6
True Shooting Percentage – AI – 52%; D12 – 57.3%
Win Shares per 48 Minutes – AI – .097; D12 – .134
If Andre Iguodala has a bigger impact on Golden State than Dwight Howard has on Houston, it will be for reasons other than for his ability to play the game of basketball. Golden State gave up their key 6th man for AI, while Houston gave up virtually nothing to get D12. If that’s not enough for Houston to close a two-game gap, I don’t know what is.