Words by Phlip
Funny thing happened down in Houston, and it is VERY similar to what happened in Brooklyn.
They brought in pieces in attempts to make themselves more attractive to the guy who will assuredly be murdering the Orlando Magic, and for their troubles have a team that is built to quite possibly be decent even without him.
- * Omer Asik is reasonable trade bait on one hand, or a serviceable backup center if no one takes him.
* Having Jeremy Lin back on the team leaves them ready to harness his growth if he has any as a player and is considerable marketability if he has not.
* Kevin Martin is still Kevin Martin, and that is to say that he can still score in bunches.
* Shaun Livingston continues to beat the odds created by a knee injury that should have ended his career, and could conspire to give some serviceable minutes.
* Using Amnesty on Luis Scola left the team with more money to spend in another big-name signing or blockbuster trade, of which everyone on the team whose middle name is not “Shu-How” should be a candidate for.
Don’t make any silly mistakes, the Houston Rockets as constructed are not making the playoffs yet, and it does not seem that they necessarily feel the urgent need to. I say that to say that the oldest person on the team will be 29 years old when the season starts. We’re not exactly expecting coach Kevin McHale to move mountains with his lineup, so much as getting the unit he does have the minutes and experience they will need, thus making them either more attractive in the trade market or experienced enough to build around with the forthcoming drafts.
At the end of the day, Houston’s most egregious sin is that they do not have a primetime superstar on their roster yet unless you count Jeremy Lin as that. I don’t hate the kid, but at this point he is still a lot of hype with some basketball sensibilities sprinkled in. Until he gets a sense of sophistication to his game (he was easily figured out last season) and learns to go left with the ball, I will not consider him as having arrived to that no matter how many all-star starts he is given by fans voting for reasons other than basketball ones. Luckily, however, he should be fully instilled with an “I ain’t going back to jail” mentality given his path to the NBA and has already earned a starting spot on a team of Houston’s ilk – which is simply meant to say that they can grow together.
“Likely will not make the playoffs” is not a kiss of death when considering that we’re speaking of a team who was only two slots (roughly a backswing of 2 games in the loss column) from actually MAKING the playoffs this past season. The problem will largely be that none of the teams above them have gotten THAT much worse, except of course for Dallas. Consideration(s) should be given to the fact(s) that the Timberwolves will – or should – have experienced some very necessary growth and that Phoenix is not exactly dead without Nash.
But there again, this is my opinion and we will see that put to the test in about 3 months here.