Steve Kerr States The Houston Rockets Are Not Championship Contenders


May 20, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; TNT broadcaster Steve Kerr during game four of the Western Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets are off to a hot start, but the national media isn’t necessarily sold on the team just yet. TNT’s Steve Kerr, who will call the Rockets’ game Thursday night against the Los Angeles Lakers with Marv Albert, spoke about the outlook of the team.

The Dwight Howard/Omer Asik Combination

It seems like the center tandem is something that Kerr focuses on mainly when talking about the Rockets. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he addresses this throughout the game:

“This sequence has made (coach Kevin McHale’s) job difficult. They didn’t expect to get Howard when they signed Asik. Now you’ve got both, and you have to make the best of it. It’s not an ideal fit, but I think it makes sense to start Asik and buy some minutes for him at the beginning of the game. He’s not a guy you can play 10 to 12 minutes a game. He’s an elite defender. If you want to trade him, you have to showcase him. You can’t just bring him in for Dwight. You have to find a few minutes on the floor with them together. When one of them goes out, the game totally changes and opens up for them offensively. It’s tricky, but Kevin is handling it pretty well.”

The Patrick Beverley/Jeremy Lin Duo

Kerr likes the idea of starting Patrick Beverley at point guard and bringing in Jeremy Lin off the bench.

“(Beverley) may be the toughest guy on the team. He makes the gritty hustle plays and has a ton of heart. (James) Harden and Howard will score, but they need guys around to give the team more grit. Beverley does that.”

The Rockets as Championship Contenders

While Kerr likes what the Rockets have at the moment, he strongly claims that they are not a finished product to become a legitimate championship contender.

“(Rockets) are lacking. It’s strange in the NBA when you can’t get your five best players on the floor together because they don’t quite fit. It won’t show up in the regular season, but it will show up for the playoffs. I don’t think Houston is a finished product. I think they are very good and are going to win a lot of games, but I don’t think this is a roster that is going to win a championship. Championship teams defend at an elite level every night, and that is something you have to establish over a year and it takes time. It’s too early to tell if Houston has that aspect. Personnel-wise they can tweak things, and they might. But the effort defensively and the commitment and toughness, that has to come from Harden and Howard and their leadership rubbing off on everyone. These guys are new to each other, and you have to give him time to see how they do.”