Roleplay – From the L.A. Daily News, Mike D’Antoni is questioning Dwight Howard’s fit in Houston. Specifically, he talked about Howard’s resistance to playing the pick and roll, which McHale ran ad nauseum last year:
“The thing that cracks me up is Houston, they do the exact same thing,” D’Antoni said, laughing. “And so (Howard) is gonna go to Houston? OK, so did they talk about change there? Don’t tell me that it’s that different.”
D’Antoni wishes Howard well, but does think he needs to accept what makes him a special player rather than envision himself as something he isn’t yet and may never be.
“He’s a force and he can be really, really good and dominate the league,” D’Antoni said. “But it’s in an area that he’s not loving right now. He wants to dominate a different way, in the low post and all that. But he needs to get better there, and he will. But his greatness is in defense and being a physical force. I think he’d be better served if he embraces that.”
The Mustache is super right, but also slightly wrong. Kurt Helin at ProBasketball Talk explains why D’Antoni is right:
Kevin McHale went into detail with Howard when they met on how he wanted to use Howard in the offense, and the free agent center bought in and decided to take his talents to the Houston. They are apparently on the same page, at least right now. But in interviews since the signing McHale has talked about the value of Howard in the pick-and-roll with James Harden and Jeremy Lin and how he wants to use him that way. Look at it this way, in the past three seasons Howard has never shot better than a little over 50 percent on post isolations, but never lower than 74 percent as the roll man (via Synergy Sports). McHale’s smart enough to see what works.
What D’Antoni overlooks is that McHale ran the pick-and-roll to death last year because of personnel, not because of preference. Outside of Motiejunas, who is a complete liability on defense, no Rocket had any sort of reliable post game. Contrast that to L.A., where Pau, Dwight and Kobe were all skilled post-players, yet still had to try to cram their skillsets into D’Antoni’s offense. Houston is a far better prospect for Dwight to improve his post game under the tutelage of McHale and Olajuwon, and gradually incorporate it more into the team’s offense.
Miller Time? – From the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen:
W/ Marcus Camby bought out, Mike Miller waived Rockets have interest in both, source said. Part of strategy shift from prospects to win now.
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) July 17, 2013
Miller would be an absolutely perfect fit next to Howard as a veteran wing who nails threes, plays under control, rebounds well and has the size to play the 4. He also brings veteran championship experience, of which this team is completely devoid.
Gellin’ – About half of the team’s roster insat UCLA this week getting a head start on training camp by practicing together. Chandler Parsons told Jason Friedman all about it. In the middle of it all is Dwight Howard:
“He’s all for it,” said Parsons. “That’s a huge reason he chose to come to Houston. He loves our style of play, he loves the personnel. He looks forward to playing with me and James and Jeremy. I think it reminds him of Orlando where they had him and Gortat, and now it will be him and Omer. You have me as the Turkoglu kind of player. And no offense to Courtney Lee, but James is one of the best if not the best two-guards in the NBA. Their offense was really good when they could space the floor, have him roll out of the pick-and-roll, find shooters and play inside-out. I think our offense is very similar to the offense that he had a lot of success with in Orlando, but ours has even more freedom, it’s more up-tempo, and the more he runs, ducks in and the harder he rolls on those pick-and-rolls, it’s just going to open up our offense even more.”
Yes, Chandler Parsons just compared himself to Hedo Turkoglu, which is awesome and terrifying all at the same time. Also, Friedman drops some great numbers about what the team expects to see out of their Dwight-and-four-shooters lineups next season:
According to the Rockets’ Basketball Operations department, when Howard has played with a spacing four-man (similar to what the Rockets can trot out with either Terrence Jones or Donatas Motiejunas, or when they go small with Parsons or Omri Casspi manning the position) and a playmaking wing over the course of his nine-year career, those lineups have combined to produce an offensive efficiency rating of 109.0 (a number that would have earned top-3 status this past season) and a defensive mark of 100.8 (a top-10 figure in 2012-13). Furthermore, the differential (8.2) between those two numbers would have ranked third only behind Miami and Oklahoma City last season.
Tweet That – Chandler Parsons is pure Hollywood.
— Chandler Parsons (@ChandlerParsons) July 17, 2013
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