On the surface the Houston Rockets boasts one of the deepest rosters poised to enter the 2015 – 16 NBA season. The Rockets have solidified itself as a legitimate title contender through the master mind of general manager Daryl Morey.
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Acquiring offensive juggernaut and party animal Ty Lawson by giving up a big bag of nothing, the Rockets were able to super size a big mac offense by forming perhaps the greatest back court duo (and beer pong team) in Houston history.
By adding a speedy play maker to a roster that features a plethora of athletic freaks and re-signing veterans that played a key role in Houston’s deep post season run Morey has propelled the make up of this roster into the talks of championship contention.
Putting together the pieces that fit the blue print gives the Rockets an edge among the competition, maintaining that edge by establishing a business plan and executing it is vital to a organization’s success. To stay among the NBA noble Houston must do these 3 things:
Manage Dwight Howard’s Playing Time
Apr 12, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) warms up before the game against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
When healthy, Dwight Howard is without a doubt the most disruptive force in the NBA as he has shown in the past 2 post seasons. Although Dwight missed half the season last year, the Rockets didn’t miss a beat thanks to the production from improved post man Donatas Motiejunas and youngster Clint Capela.
Houston’s talent and depth in the front court allows head coach Kevin McHale to have the option of resting Dwight Howard for a few games or splitting his minutes in half without suffering any loss of rim protection – which many would say is the most valued part of Dwight’s skill set.
Diversify The Offense
Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
As evidence in last year’s Finals series being able to defend at multiple positions is vital, but more importantly devising additional ways to score the ball is what separates the good teams from the great teams. It’s no secret what the Houston Rockets wanted to do on offense last season: put the ball in James Harden’s hands and let him create. Yet in a league where defensive schemes are more complex than ever simply putting the ball in your best player’s hands is not enough.
Houston has the ability to go small by inserting Trevor Ariza at the 4 to stretch the floor or defend against other stretch 4’s. Imagine how fun a line up of Lawson, Harden, Corey Brewer, Ariza and Howard would be!
With such a deep roster that wields many interchangeable assets, coach McHale has to experiment throughout the season with different lineups to build continuity among the units and to keep opposing defenses on their heels.
Use The Depth
May 23, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets bench reacts during the game against the Golden State Warriors in game three of the Western Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Seriously, this roster is deep and talented. The young guys on this team are oozing with potential! Sam Dekker has Chandler Parsons potential, Montrezl Harrell is a high motor player who showcased his capabilities in the summer league, K.J McDaniels by the numbers was an elite defender during his stint in Philadelphia and Clint Capela shocked the world with his production in the post season.
For Houston to have a serious shot at the trophy, Harden can’t average more than 33 minutes per game. We see this year in and year out, guys like Lebron James, Kevin Durant and Jimmy Butler average near 38 minutes per game and come post season fatigue hits, then their body breaks down.
The 2013-14 Spurs and 2014-2015 Warriors both won the title and not 1 starter averaged over 33 minutes per game. The NBA 82-game schedule is a tough and rigorous one that takes a toll on the body. To prolong careers and prevent injuries from occurring rest is needed.
By deepening the rotation McHale not only takes stress off his player’s bodies but also gives the young guys a chance to develop into their projected potential making this Houston Rockets team much more dangerous.