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@  slick shoes : (11 May 2016 - 02:36 AM) dwight and kenny smith on TNT tonight showing love for each other.
@  slick shoes : (09 May 2016 - 08:13 PM) ...and we've got the great Kenny Smith coming in tomorrow.....
@  DenverRocket : (09 May 2016 - 05:50 PM) Apparently Blatt is interviewing today. Joerger close to signing up with Kings
@  majik19 : (07 May 2016 - 05:43 PM) um.. Dave Joerger anyone?
@  majik19 : (05 May 2016 - 04:25 PM) I was just about to ask about Vogel. But can he take us to the next level?
@  slick shoes : (05 May 2016 - 03:04 PM) Vogel is available. We need to snatch him up asap.
@  majik19 : (05 May 2016 - 02:59 PM) I also find it funny that McHale said "no thanks" to the Kings job.
@  slick shoes : (04 May 2016 - 03:07 PM) I'm really enjoying the fact that we have only interviewed one coaching prospect and he would rather coach the 2nd worst team in the NBA than us.
@  thenit : (28 April 2016 - 06:27 PM) Harden is the best offensive player but the best overall was Klay last night
@  majik19 : (28 April 2016 - 04:25 AM) klay thompson is the best player on the floor. hard to win when Harden isn't the best.
@  majik19 : (28 April 2016 - 04:19 AM) GS is better at hitting bad/covered shots than anyone on our team is at hitting open shots.
@  majik19 : (28 April 2016 - 04:16 AM) that was embarassing. 4 offensive rebounds. 2 missed 3s by Ariza and 2 missed 3s by Beverley.
@  Cooper : (28 April 2016 - 03:24 AM) this team is depressing
@  majik19 : (28 April 2016 - 03:01 AM) Ariza is a complete negative on the floor. he can't hit a shot or fight through/around a screen to save his life
@  majik19 : (28 April 2016 - 02:54 AM) everyone but james harden is terrible right now
@  thejohnnygold : (27 April 2016 - 08:49 PM) I think Walton is going to be a solid hire for somebody. I wouldn't mind if it were for us.
@  slick shoes : (27 April 2016 - 06:15 PM) I'd like to see them take it full circle and hire Walton. I don't know if he's the right buy for their young core currently, but maybe 2-3 years from now.
@  thejohnnygold : (27 April 2016 - 05:24 PM) Knowing LA, they will do something that leaves us all scratching our heads.
@  slick shoes : (27 April 2016 - 04:56 PM) While I do favor JVG, I hope that we also kick the tires on a few other guys as well.
@  thejohnnygold : (27 April 2016 - 01:34 PM) If you mean JVG--no, I'm not worried. :)

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Pairing Asik with Howard should be top priority


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#1 Red94

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    Posted 05 September 2013 - 03:24 AM

    New post: Pairing Asik with Howard should be top priority
    By: rahat huq

    In the aftermath of The Signing, as rosters became finalized upon smaller deals and maneuvers, season predictions and forecasts have come out as they customarily do around this time of the year.  Some of these, upon the basis of advanced data, have had the Rockets amassing lofty win totals, some even projecting victory levels into the mid-60's, if predicated upon the premise of an Orlando Dwight.  While I don't think the team is ready to reach those heights, it's astonishing to consider that the sentiment doesn't seem so far-fetched.  The Rockets managed to add the game's second most dominant player of the last half-decade while essentially losing nothing.  And it could be argued that the sole sacrificial lamb, Carlos Delfino, was actually replaced by a player of greater value in Francisco Garcia.  (Recall that Garcia hadn't broken into the rotation until Delfino became injured, essentially replacing him.  Until the playoffs, they hadn't played together regularly.)

    But where I think the greatest potential lies, aside from full health for Howard, is in the issue of Omer Asik, both for now and in the long-term.  In my opinion, the team's greatest peak--greater than even the impact of any trade--would come in the form of finding a way to keep Dwight Howard and Omer Asik together on the floor for a sizable chunk during the game.  Why?  Because that would allow the team justification to hold onto Asik.

    My contention, with which I think most people would agree, is that unless he can be given close to 30 minutes per game, Asik either probably should be or will be dealt.  This is because it is difficult envisioning the Turk sticking around past the expiration of his current contract to retain a limited role - Morey would likely deal him preemptively to realize his value.

    What makes Asik so valuable?  Because, with Howard, he allows the team to field a top 10 defense on court, at all times, for the full 48.  This point has been beaten to death.  But it is my contention that maintaining this 48 minute top 10 defense would be far more impactful than the marginal benefits realized from upgrading the power forward position (via a trade of Asik).  Already having a top offense, it is my belief that the Rockets have reached a diminished returns threshold on that end of the court whereby, yes, they have room to improve, but costs invested towards that improvement would be grossly asymmetrical to the end output.  To put it simply, when you have the league's 6th best offense, but also have other weaknesses, you get the most bang for your buck addressing the weaknesses instead.

    One nonconventional idea popularized by the advanced stats movement is the belief that no time frame during a game holds inherently superior value than any other.  (This, starkly in contrast to the mainstream fetishization of "clutch time" performance.)  Indeed, Daryl Morey once famously said that "good teams don't win close ballgames - they avoid them."  To that end, while a 'spread 4' would help, it can be argued that of greater import is the the fifteen or so minutes that Dwight Howard is not on the floor.

    Many have clamored for Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge.  While Aldridge has his strengths, I'm almost certain that the Rockets would not pay max dollars, on this team, for a player who takes the most inefficient shots in the entire league (and only shoots 41% from that distance while doing it.)  The spacing Aldridge would provide would be a boon, but the team could find cheaper options to replicate much of the same effect.  Asik's defense during the 'Dwightless-15' is of greater value.

    Finding a solution to Howard-Asik coexistence isn't about the merits of that time spent together.  It's about making that shared court experience palatable enough for the offense to where its use can be continued; because that shared court time is the key to a justification of keeping Asik.

    How might Kevin McHale make it work?  Writing in Grantland, Brett Koremenos discussed possibilities, drawing analogy from Greg Smith's time at power forward.  As Koremenos outlines, there will be extreme challenges, namely Howard's willingness to do what is needed.  But it should at least be explored.

    In the end, I do think Asik will eventually be dealt as the challenges of pairing the two 7 footers will prove too much to overcome.  That's a shame.  But in the coming weeks, during camp, figuring out how to make it work should be one of Kevin McHale's greatest priorities.  Having 48 minutes of top 10 defense would likely do more for this team in the standings than any other factor.


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    #2 Buckko

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      Posted 05 September 2013 - 03:36 AM

      <br /><br /><p>Agreed, but I think the may draw to asik staying is being on a contender and finally someone agrees that LMA would be terrible for this team.</p>
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      #3 RollingWave

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        Posted 05 September 2013 - 05:02 AM

        I should generally point out that most championship teams made seemingly bad fits work, Miami with the big 3 and no center, Dallas staring both Barrea and Kidd, Lakers with the triangle etc...  if anything, we could argue that it might actually be harder to win with the conventional . that most real championship teams are bizzaro in some way.

         

        In short, you never win by being the same as everyone else.


        Edited by RollingWave, 05 September 2013 - 05:09 AM.

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        #4 rockets best fan

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        Posted 05 September 2013 - 05:04 AM

        I totally disagree.............Asik and Howard can not be on the floor for long stretches. I also think to much pub is being given to this 48 minutes of top 10 defense thing. all teams go through some form of change when their stars take a break. Asik rested last year and we still manage to compensate for his absence. Asik will not be happy for long sitting on the bench behind Howard. to believe we can survive with them both is unrealistic. sure the defense is better, but the opposing teams defense will be better too because they can pack the paint on us and dare the others to hit outside shots. we don't want to close the paint off.........we want to open it up by forcing the opposing team to guard us all over the floor. the combination of Asik and Howard defeats that purpose. Yes having Asik for the 15 minutes Howard is resting would be great, but 8.3 mil is to much to pay for 15 minutes a night. Camby should be able to cover that at far less money. I know some think Camby is washed up...........I don't. he had a nice year for us the last time he was here, was hurt in NY for most of last year and has finally gotten healthy. 15 minutes a game is not that much. I think he is capable of handling that. that's why he was brought here......not to sit on the pine and mold others(even though that's a side benefit of him being here).


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        My new years resolution.....drink that special bottle of wine, take your son on that fishing trip, live each day as if it were my last because everyday of LIFE is special B)


        #5 Buckko

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          Posted 05 September 2013 - 06:33 AM

          Camby's health is extremely debatable, especially on a guy about to be pushing 40 and is not a guy who can do 15 min a night. Asik and Howard won't be on the court most of the time but a few minutes of rotation to get asik his minutes. RBF don't you underrate that 15 min of drop off when Howard is not on the court. With asik we will have a top 5 defense with a top 5 offense.
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          #6 RollingWave

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            Posted 05 September 2013 - 07:01 AM

            You lose about 6 pts per 100 play between Asik to normal backup C , for 15 min , that's probably about 1.5 pts a game in real terms, which is still very significant for 1 player.


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            #7 rockets best fan

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            Posted 05 September 2013 - 07:48 AM

            Camby's health is extremely debatable, especially on a guy about to be pushing 40 and is not a guy who can do 15 min a night. Asik and Howard won't be on the court most of the time but a few minutes of rotation to get asik his minutes. RBF don't you underrate that 15 min of drop off when Howard is not on the court. With asik we will have a top 5 defense with a top 5 offense.

            do you think the Rockets signed a player in Camby who they thought would be hurt all year and could offer them nothing? think about that for a moment. we can't be worried about getting a player his minutes....we must be worried about winning. no player is bigger than the TEAM. 15 minutes of drop off means little in the grand scheme. most NBA games are won in the fourth quarter. I doubt Howard will be resting during that time period. what we need to be worried about is having the firepower to put teams away in the 4th quarter and we more than have that base covered. this is the point where to much stat watching can lead to the wrong conclusion. most NBA games are close during the 4th period no matter how much of a difference there is in talent between the two teams


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            My new years resolution.....drink that special bottle of wine, take your son on that fishing trip, live each day as if it were my last because everyday of LIFE is special B)


            #8 RollingWave

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              Posted 05 September 2013 - 07:59 AM

              If your logic holds, no one would give Andrew Bynum or Greg Oden any money at all, 

               

              Different sports, but I give you an example

               

              Mark Prior was a stud pitcher in the early 2000s for the Cubs. he was probably one of the best pitcher in the world in the 2003 season (the infamous one where a fan catch ruined the Cub's playoff run.) 

               

              After that year though, he started to get hurt, and never really recovered. 

               

              10 years later, he's still in baseball, but hasn't seen the major league in  7+ seasons 5 different clubs have signed him since he was released by the Cubs, he never made it back on a major league roster, but they keep giving him chances. he was just released again by the Reds late June this year.

               

              So no, clubs don't ALWAYS sign people expecting them to be able to play, at all.


              Edited by RollingWave, 05 September 2013 - 08:07 AM.

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              #9 rockets best fan

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              Posted 05 September 2013 - 08:06 AM

              If your logic holds, no one would give Andrew Bynum or Greg Oden any money at all, 

              it may turn out to be wasted money on both. as a matter of fact that's the most likely scenario


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              My new years resolution.....drink that special bottle of wine, take your son on that fishing trip, live each day as if it were my last because everyday of LIFE is special B)


              #10 Buckko

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                Posted 05 September 2013 - 08:14 AM

                You do realize if we dominate the entire 3 quarters and 36 mins, than we don't have to worry about closing games out in the last 12. You're not making any sense -_-
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                #11 RollingWave

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                  Posted 05 September 2013 - 08:23 AM

                  If the Rockets could cut Shaun Livingston and Jonny Flynn , then there's a good chance they could cut Marcus Camby.


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                  #12 NorEastern

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                    Posted 05 September 2013 - 11:35 AM



                    Thank you for the article Rahat. That is exactly the opinion I have been espousing for the last two months. The Rockets defense last season was the 7th best in the NBA when Asik was on the floor, and 27th when Asik sat. It is not much of a leap in logic to say that the Rockets should have a top 5 defense next season because either Howard or Asik will always be on the floor. If the Rockets traded Asik and next season Howard gets hurt, then the Rockets would be in a world of hurt. With Asik available the Rockets would still field a competitive squad.

                    In addition it should be possible to play Howard and Asik 6 minutes or more together over the course of the season. Up 10 with 8 minutes to go and wanting to slow the pace down, play them together. There are many other situations where they could co-exist on the court. That would push Asik up to 22-24 minutes a game.

                    The Rockets do not need much from their power forward. The ideal player in that position would shoot 35% from behind the 3 point line, get paid on the rookie scale, and play average defense. There are realistically few shots to allocate to that position.


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                    #13 Richards

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                      Posted 05 September 2013 - 12:02 PM

                      I do not agree at all on pairing Asik and Howard. Here is why:

                       

                      - Neither is natural PF and Asik would be terrible at PF. We sold Howard on "Legacy of Centers" and he is better at C than PF. Why should he sacrifice? Dealing with new system and gelling with new teammates are tough enough, adding position change would be very very bad.

                      - Asik off the bench is great weapon but under-utilizing and wasting potential of a good player. And that make Smith absolute surplus.

                       

                      Priority should be trading Asik to get better role players with either good defense or 3pt shooting. We signed some good shooters and defenders but none of them is clutch. 


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                      #14 Rahat Huq

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                        Posted 05 September 2013 - 12:04 PM

                        I should generally point out that most championship teams made seemingly bad fits work, Miami with the big 3 and no center, Dallas staring both Barrea and Kidd, Lakers with the triangle etc...  if anything, we could argue that it might actually be harder to win with the conventional . that most real championship teams are bizzaro in some way.

                         

                        In short, you never win by being the same as everyone else.

                        By bad fit, are you referring to Howard with Asik or Howard with Aldridge?  


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                        #15 Rahat Huq

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                          Posted 05 September 2013 - 12:07 PM

                          I do not agree at all on pairing Asik and Howard. Here is why:

                           

                          - Neither is natural PF and Asik would be terrible at PF. We sold Howard on "Legacy of Centers" and he is better at C than PF. Why should he sacrifice? Dealing with new system and gelling with new teammates are tough enough, adding position change would be very very bad.

                          - Asik off the bench is great weapon but under-utilizing and wasting potential of a good player. And that make Smith absolute surplus.

                           

                          Priority should be trading Asik to get better role players with either good defense or 3pt shooting. We signed some good shooters and defenders but none of them is clutch. 

                          -It's definitely a concern, I agree.  That's why I think it probably won't work.  But as to why he should sacrifice, I'd argue because that's what it usually takes to win a title ie: D Wade.  He can also prolong his career by keeping Asik happy.  I suspect he might realize this given his rumored comments about wanting to play with Asik.  But we'll see whether that was all just talk.  


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                          #16 Richards

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                            Posted 05 September 2013 - 12:43 PM

                            -It's definitely a concern, I agree.  That's why I think it probably won't work.  But as to why he should sacrifice, I'd argue because that's what it usually takes to win a title ie: D Wade.  He can also prolong his career by keeping Asik happy.  I suspect he might realize this given his rumored comments about wanting to play with Asik.  But we'll see whether that was all just talk.  

                            I understand your Miami logic and LBJ, Wade, and Bosh earned my highest respect. They sacrificed money, fame, and ego to win championship. Fortunately for them, everything is easier since they all took less. For Howard case, he already took less by choosing Rockets while player like Harden reaping the maximum. I wish, like you suggested, Howard sacrifices more. But we all are human beings and loaded with egos. None of us are Jesus nor Buddha. 


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                            #17 Alituro

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                              Posted 05 September 2013 - 01:19 PM

                              Great Article... Pretty much sums up my feelings about the situation. I actually think it could work, playing them together for short stretches. Let's say Howard is the "starting C" logging 30 mins per night, solo. That gives Asik 18 mins of solo C play per game. If McHale can find 5-10 opportune minutes per night to play them in Tandem, then Asik bumps to 23-28 mins per night on the floor (worth it). And, Howard keeps his minutes sub-40, hopefully contributing to his season long preservation.. This is the most important aspect of this situation... keeping Howard healthy all season long. In blowouts, I don't see Howard playing any more than half the game.

                               

                              When they do share the floor, as far as naming which position they take on, there is no point. As with the wing positions, when pairing two 7 footers in the post, their named positions makes no difference. The only real difference it makes is their defensive assignments, and many times it will be, "OK, you take Splitter, and you, Duncan" (Jordan, Griffin) (Gasol, Randolph) etc, etc., neither should shy away from any assignment. It's by no means a diminished role to guard a (big) PF if you are a natural center. Stretch 4s could present a problem, however.

                               

                              As far as last season, compensating for when Asik rested (RBF), is absolutely not true. Sometimes we did, barely, and many times we didn't. I'd say we could have enjoyed, easily 6-10 more wins had we had Asik's caliber of play for 48 minutes. I've seen so many leads get erased by halftime and never fully recovered.


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                              #18 Mason Khamvilay

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                              Posted 05 September 2013 - 02:00 PM

                              Whenever Asik and Dwight are on the court together, I foresee a decrease in penetration from our guards, and a decrease in the effectiveness of the pick and roll. 


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                              #19 Richards

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                                Posted 05 September 2013 - 02:07 PM

                                Whenever Asik and Dwight are on the court together, I foresee a decrease in penetration from our guards, and a decrease in the effectiveness of the pick and roll. 

                                Proponents of Asik + Howard pairing truly pointed out great potential on defensive side. But, you are right that pairing won't be better for offense.


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                                #20 Cooper

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                                  Posted 05 September 2013 - 02:34 PM

                                  I understand your Miami logic and LBJ, Wade, and Bosh earned my highest respect. They sacrificed money, fame, and ego to win championship. Fortunately for them, everything is easier since they all took less. For Howard case, he already took less by choosing Rockets while player like Harden reaping the maximum. I wish, like you suggested, Howard sacrifices more. But we all are human beings and loaded with egos. None of us are Jesus nor Buddha.

                                  Howard makes significantly more than harden.
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