With Ty Lawson Addition Are Houston Rockets Deepest Team in West? Part 1

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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Point It This Way

Entering the off season the most glaring area the Rockets needed to fill was the point guard position. They’d managed to make it all the way to the Western Conference finals on the backs of a 37 and 38 year old point guard tandem. Or course, we’ll all spend the rest of the summer wondering … what if Patrick Beverley was healthy, what if Daryl Morey had grabbed a point guard at the trade deadline..

Then we wondered if Morey would grab one of the many point guards in the draft with their first selection or perhaps he would go after someone as soon as free agency hit, but both these events came and passed with nary a sign of a point guard headed in Houston’s direction.

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Finally the Rockets offered Patrick Beverley a deal to bring his defensive prowess back to Clutch City and we momentarily exhaled all thinking well at least we retained a solid defensive specialist.

Yet, no sooner were we enjoying the inking of his deal when those old feelings began to eat away at us. What if Beverley got injured again? And, perhaps more importantly was Beverley really the answer to the problem of finding a ball distributor that could assist James Harden.

Recently the Rockets added some depth via the free agency signing of “Lil Buckets” sharp shooter Marcus Thornton. His signing bolsters the reserve unit as he offers back up PG requirements but again we were left wondering does he really answer the ball distribution needs?

Then Sunday night the Rockets finally scratched the itch most of us have been using a fork to reach all summer with the acquisition of Ty Lawson from the Denver Nuggets in what feels like Morey just robbed Tim Connnelly. Granted there is the issue of Lawson’s recent D.U.I. charge (his second in six months) and rumors he’s a locker room cancer, but didn’t we just deal with the same questions regarding Josh Smith?

Notably Lawson and Harden are extremely good pals so this reeks of deja vu of the Smith situation. Lawson dished out 9.6 assists per game in 2014-15 and that was with a team without much talent and good enough for third most assists in the Association. He’s also more than capable of pushing the speed like Houston likes and hitting shots especially of the 3-point variety.

Sure he had an off season last year registering his lowest output of 34.1%, however he’s not that far removed from his days of 40+% from behind the arc. Examining how much Josh Smith and Corey Brewer’s 3-point percentage went up based on the increased talent level around them it boggles the mind to imagine how high Lawson’s numbers could swell given the number of open opportunities he’s sure to get playing beside Harden.

Harden wanted someone to help manage ball handling and distribution, well Lawson ranked third overall in assists per game and fourth in assist percentage last season on a team who ranked 21st in offense and had no where near the amount of talent Houston has.

In fact, I’ll throw it out there right now with this back court pairing aren’t Harden and Lawson serious candidates to enter that argument for top 5 back court tandems?

More impressively is the versatility the Rockets can now offer at the point between the bull dog scrappiness of Beverley, the scoring possibilities of Thornton (and streak shooting potential) and bonafide dimer Lawson.

It’s a smorgasbord of point guard versatility! McHale  can play them individually or pair them into duos as they all call be swapped into the shooting guard role and if teams go ultra small Harden can move up to the small forward to utilize 2 of the three point guards.

Actually, I’m betting these 3 will all benefit from each others talents, be able to share minutes allowing for fresher legs and I won’t be surprised to see every single one of them improve their 3-point percentage this season.

Next: Shooting Guard