Huq’s Pen: Wrapping things up
- I’m not concerned at all about the loss last night as the Rockets were facing a competent team without three of their starters. They managed to hang tough and that’s really all you can ask for when playing under such circumstances.
- Omer Asik had one of the best games of his career last night, controlling the boards in Dwight Howard’s absence. His performance led me to note my continued disbelief over the lack of interest he garnered on the open trade market though after giving it more thought, I take back that stance. I think. In a vacuum, my first inclination is to say that yes, elite rim protection and rebounding presence is worth $15million (and the associated acquiescence of assets needed for acquisition). But when that comes at a price of horrendous offense in a world where surprisingly, most teams already have competent options at the ’5′, maybe it’s not worth it.
- With nine games remaining, and a three game cushion over the fifth seeded Blazers, my inclination is to suggest that we simply sit our starters for the duration. It’s just not worth risking future injuries. I know that opinion may not be characterized by the bravado a typical sports fan would like to see espoused but the Howard and Beverley injuries really put a scare in my heart. At the least, if Howard’s out, I don’t see the point in playing Harden against good teams, like last night, when it’s a likely loss anyway. You’d hate to see a sprained ankle or something else similar suffered in these last few weeks. I’d suit him up against the bad teams to try and nab the low-hanging fruit.
- The news on Beverley was unequivocally the best I’ve heard since receiving my bar results last November, but I’m naturally concerned about his level of play upon return. There is a difference between being “healthy enough to play” and “being fine tuned enough to chase Steph Curry.”
- I am trying to push it to the back of my mind but this Dwight Howard situation is extremely concerning.
- I read Zach Lowe’s fantastic piece on Anthony Davis from yesterday, leading me to some thoughts: At the year’s beginning, I asked how many years you all thought would lapse until Davis surpassed Dwight Howard. Most responded that it would be at least a few more years. Glancing at the numbers, I think we can all agree now that Davis has unequivocally already passed Howard. And that’s not meant as an indictment on Howard as Davis might already be a top-5 player in this league, as Lowe suggests, but its a depressing proposition when taking into consideration the fact that a) Howard has already peaked and is on the decline and b) Howard already is more likely to not contribute in big games than he is to dominate.
- I know I sound incredibly ungrateful right now and so I want to clarify: I’m extremely grateful to have Howard. But a part of me feels extreme bitterness regarding the realities of the NBA in that a team like the Pelicans, which has pretty much bumbled its way through every major personnel decision its made, can fall ass backwards into a generational superstar, just on the sheer dumb luck of a few bounces of a lucky ping pong ball. Meanwhile, we endured years of mediocrity leading up the eventual heist of James Harden, a transcendent talent in his own right, but not one reaching the level to which Davis will eventually ascend. Only in basketball does one player matter so much.
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