I’ve been writing about Rockets wing options at Forbes for the past couple of weeks. In all, I looked at Courtney Lee, Kent Bazemore, James Johnson, Tyler Johnson, and Nic Batum. Aside from Tyler Johnson, there’s a case to be made for any of them. Bazemore is probably the safest acquisition, but then again, I don’t like the idea of needing to part with future assets, if possible to avoid. Even in ‘win-now’ mode, a team needs a pipeline of cheap assets under club control, particularly when facing the prospect of cap hell. I also think rookie De’Anthony Melton has a chance to be a good player in this league eventually.
Bazemore is the best shooter of the group, and an elite defender. But he’s only 6’5. That’s not ideal in an anticipated rematch against Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors. Meanwhile the 6’8 James Johnson can slide between both forward positions. And it was brought to my attention today by a reader that he’s shot 41% from the right corner over the past two seasons. Add in the fact that he probably costs you less than Bazemore in the way of assets, and I’m sold. Johnson is my top choice.
I honestly think if you swing a trade for Johnson or Bazemore, and platoon that player with James Ennis and P.J. Tucker, with Melo being a huge upgrade over Ryan Anderson, and expected improvement from Capela, you’re an even better team than you were last year. But I was told the Rockets window has closed.