Huq’s Weekend Pen: All-Star Edition, 2012

You heard it here first: Chase Budinger will win the Slam Dunk competition.  I have a very good feeling about this.

Many have written in to suggest that he incorporate some stunt from his volleyball background.  I personally don’t think that’s a good idea.  Volleyball just doesn’t have the ‘coolness’ factor needed to win over a predominantly male crowd.  Now I do like the direction they were going in the promo teaser, with Chase appearing to jump over a cutout of Yao Ming.

Maybe Chase could have Chandler take a jumpshot and miss it so badly that Chase himself could fly in for the tip-jam?  No?  Bud at least wouldn’t need to worry about the odd chance of the shot accidentally going in.

Speaking of Parsons, I can’t remember a stranger predicament than the NBA’s selection of the rookie for a shooting competition.  My guess?  They probably wanted a Rockets representative, and veterans like Martin and Lee turned down the offer.  The question becomes “how many will Chandler make?”  Having never watched the Haier Shooting Stars Competition, always having better things to do over the years during that time slot–like watering my lawn–I’m not even clear on the format.  I’m also not curious enough to look in, so we’ll just wait.

The greater issue is that, via SBNation, in 55 isolation possessions, opponents are shooting 15.9% against the second rounder.  This statistic also does not include results where Parsons either prevented his man from receiving the ball, forced a turnover, or forced his man to pass off.  It’s a small sample size but it’s eye-popping.

Michael Pina believes that Parsons will ultimately be exposed in the playoffs by some of the more elite wings of the West, once they’ve familiarized themselves with his tendencies.  I’m not sure I completely agree.  Guys like Durant and Gay will certainly get theirs, but I don’t think the output will be to an extent in excess of how they normally fare against other ‘stoppers.’

After we return from the break,  focus will turn upon the impending deadline.  At this point, the Rockets will undoubtedly be buyers, having accumulated an impressive 20-14 record to date.  Last season required a delicate balancing act with management trading off free-agents-to-be Shane Battier and Aaron Brooks but holding on to Chuck Hayes.  This season, they’ll have similar decisions with Goran Dragic and Courtney Lee though one would be shocked if either were just given away for future considerations.

Speaking of Dragic: a web site earlier this week purported to claim that the Rockets had made an offer to foreign point guard Sergio Llull, of whose rights the team owns, an interesting development which, if corroborated, would hold much weight over the team’s decisions.  It was not believed to this point that Llull would be claimed–if ever–before 2013.  If management is now looking to bring the guard over, perhaps they’d be more willing to deal Dragic, if necessary, in a blockbuster.

Ultimately, the big rumor still revolves around Pau Gasol, the Lakers star center whom the Rockets had tried to acquire just this winter.  Assuming for a moment that an offer of Luis Scola, Kevin Martin, and Goran Dragic sufficed for a deal, the team would still, with some maneuvering, have the cash left over this summer to pursue Magic center Dwight Howard.  A lineup of Lowry, Lee, Parsons, Gasol, and Howard, with notables such as Patterson and Budinger off the bench would contend for the West.  But how to go about convincing Dwight?

In my piece on ‘The Psychology of Superstardom’, to which I can’t seem to find a link, I discussed some of the possible thoughts that go through an elite player’s mind when facing a relocation decision.  Would a playoff run be enough to sufficiently raise Lowry’s value in the eyes of his peers as was the case for several Memphis Grizzlies?  How much sway would Courtney Lee hold, especially if he now/then had the starting spot?  How close are they anyways?  How great a deterrent is Gasol’s age for a guy as young as Dwight?  Howard could sign with the Nets, but is joining Deron Williams more attractive than joining a ‘team’?  All questions to ponder.

A Gasol-Howard two-step is certainly the Rockets’ hope, especially with the Knicks’ pick no longer an option for franchise salvation.  But getting Gasol would be the first necessary step and it remains to be seen whether that can be done.

This entry was posted in notebook. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  • All-time Keepers

    A collection of our best from over the years.
  • Archives

    • 2012 (398)
    • 2011 (428)
    • 2010 (461)
    • 2009 (49)
  • Categories