- NBA Rank: 1
Conference Rank: 1
- Houston Rockets
The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.Arnold H. Glasow
The Rockets have been "trapped" on the treadmill of mediocrity since Yao and T-Mac finally fell apart. Much like a wise batter though, Daryl Morey and the Rockets front office picked their spots and hit it out of the park two off-seasons in a row. The Rockets stand poised to lead the West and the NBA this year.
There's a truism in NBA management. If one waits long enough, some other NBA team will mess up and let a good player go. Last season, the Rockets capitalized on just this type of situation, when Oklahoma decided they'd rather save money for a season than pay James Harden and return to the finals. In addition, Daryl Morey took advantage of the fact that he's one of the few who has actually read the new CBA, and picked up Jermey Lin and Omer Asik with some "poisonous" contracts. The result had Houston returning to the playoffs with a young and promising core.
|Carlos Delfino ||1689||31||.059||2.1|
|Patrick Patterson ||1219||24||.084||2.1|
|Marcus Morris ||1154||24||.004||.1|
|Toney Douglas ||913||27||.010||0.19|
|James Anderson ||307||24||.168||1.4|
|Thomas Robinson ||247||22||.010||.2|
|Cole Aldrich ||213||25||.077||.6|
|Daequan Cook ||165||26||-.026||-.1|
|Scott Machado ||21||23||-.186||-.1|
|Tim Ohlbrecht ||12||25||-.568||-.1|
Indicates that the player is no longer with the team.
The Rockets ran the soundest offense in the NBA last season. They were actually better than they looked, being closer to a 50 win team than a 45 win team. With a legitinate superstar, they were only one piece away from being a legitimate contender. Harden is aiming to knock Dwyane Wade off the throne as best shooting guard in the league. What better way than to steal a trick out of Wade's playbook and grab a top center from the Lakers?
|Dwight Howard ||5.0||2779||28||.231||13.4|
|Reggie Williams ||2.5||1134||27||.094||2.2|
|Marcus Camby ||4.8||495||39||.201||2.1|
|Ronnie Brewer ||2.4||264||28||.182||1.0|
|Omri Casspi ||3.0||182||25||.095||.4|
Indicates that the player is new to the team.
If the Rockets did nothing else other than grab Howard, they'd have been fine. They also made sure to shore up the wing positions with decent bench players. The only question I have is: why do the Rockets keep bringing back Aaron Brooks?
Sign good players, stay competitive, and keep your salary cap flexible enough to take a shot when superstars become available. The Rockets nailed this. When the Dwight signing happened, I tweeted that Morey's name should just get etched in for the executive of the year award. It's hard to do much other than gush over the Rockets recent moves. I can say I've questioned some of their moves in the past. That said, like every team in Texas, they seem to have figured it out and will make next season fun to watch.
Second Opinion Patrick's Take
Actually, I don't have a lot to add. The only thing that comes to mind is that I wonder if McHale will buck conventional wisdom enough to do the obvious: play Omer Asik and Dwight Howard together. I think many coaches get too hung up on positional paradigms; given his athleticism, I have to believe that Dwight would make a great power forward. Between Lin, Harden, and Parsons there is also plenty of shooting to spread the floor. I would sincerely love to see the Rockets fart in the general direction of all this small-ball nonsense and crush their opponents under the boot heels of a twin terror front line.