For the first time the Houston Rockets slogan #anewage finally makes sense. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has done what many considered impossible and has the Rockets roster primed for a long-awaited return to the NBA Finals. Some would argue that my prediction of the Rockets landing in the Finals is a bold, and biased one, but James Harden and Dwight Howard on the same team makes for a convincing argument. Not only do the Rockets have the best shooting guard in the NBA according to NBA general managers, and ESPN, but they also have the best center. The last time the best shooting guard (Kobe Bryant) and center (Shaquille O’Neal) played on the same team they just happened to win three NBA championships in a row.
The Rockets would be a challenge each night with just those two players on the roster, but Daryl Morey has surrounded them with an extremely deep roster. The point guard position consists of Jeremy Lin, Patrick Beverley, Aaron Brooks, and rookie Isaiah Canaan. Throughout the pre-season Beverley got the start, and his tenacious defense quickly became an annoyance for opposing point guards. Beverley was responsible for four consecutive steals on All-Star Jrue Holiday in the first game of the pre-season. During the pre-season both Lin and Aaron Brooks have shown what they are capable of, and in many ways could easily start for other teams. Lin and Beverley will share a bulk load of the minutes, while rookie Canaan will presumably head down to the Rio Grande Valley and join the Rockets D-League team the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
The small forward, and shooting guard positions are occupied by James Harden and Chandler Parsons. Harden will have plenty of time on the court, based on him being the only shooting guard on the roster. Last season Harden averaged 25.9 points per game, and there is no doubt he could add to that total this season. Chandler Parsons is in a contract year, and players in contract years have a tendency to leave nothing for chance in pursuit of lucrative contracts. Chandler bulked up and has been quoted saying he plans on guarding the opposing teams best player. Something he may regret saying once this is put into action. Backing up Parsons at the small forward is Ronnie Brewer and Robert Covington. Brewer is the player that really wants to hold the opposing teams best player. During the pre-season we got small snippets of Brewer, but his value comes during the season when an extra dose of defense is required. Covington may be joining Canaan in the Rio Grande Valley.
By far the most interesting aspect of the Rockets is the power forward position. The Rockets lack of a traditional power forward has led to a multi-headed assortment of players. Here are the Rockets Power Forwards:. *(Dwight Howard has started at power forward in the last three pre-season games with Omer Asik playing center.)
- Donatas Motiejunas
- Terrence Jones
- Omri Casspi
- Francisco Garcia
- Greg Smith
Each of the above player brings a different dynamic to the court. Donatas, better known as D-MO is the quintessential euro big. He has range, can attack the basket, and has a high basketball iq. The same can be said for both Omri Casspi, and Francisco Garcia who played amazingly drink the pre-season.
Terrence Jones is the most athletic of the five, and will have opportunities to prove he needs minutes, while Greg Smith who has battled injury in the pre-season will see his minutes decrease slightly.
At center the Rockets are set. The New Age Twin Tower duo of Omer Asik and Dwight Howard, is the sort of dynamic that confuses and frustrates opposing teams. Howard led the league in rebounding last season, while Asik was third. The amount of defense these two can muster will be a direct correlation to the Rockets record and how far they make it in the Postseason.
The Houston Rockets fans are fortunate to not only have a shrewd general manager in Daryl Morey but an owner in Les Alexander that wants to win, and a Hall-of Fame coach in Kevin McHale that can speak, and relate to Dwight Howard in ways no coach has yet to do. For the first time since the Hakeem championship years, Houstonians, and Rockets fans around the globe will have something of quality to cheer for, and hopefully will not be let down in the process.
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