Feb 4, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale talks with forward Donatas Motiejunas (20) on the sidelines during a Chicago Bulls timeout in the first half at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Over the past few weeks we’ve been running segments taken from our Space City Scoop writers Round Table on the Houston Rockets. The initial session focused on the draft and off season which was followed by the session on training camp and preseason. The third installment moved on to the regular season and the final session wrapped up the round table with SCS staff prediction on this season’s awards, who the Western Conference playoff seeds will be (some of us even ranked them) and culminated with what each of us is looking forward to most from the 2015-16 season.
Contributing to the series:
- Andre Cantalogo @dededeco
- Anthony Nguyen @SCS_antnguyen
- Coty Davis @Mr_Thriller83
- Eric Spyropoulos @ericspyros
- James Chung @HardwoodAce
- John Bauer @The__Junkies
- Joshua Van Horn @joshuaofhorn
- NT Maddox @ntmaddox
- Trey Oursler @SportsUpdatesTO
- Tamberlyn Richardson @TTOTambz
In case you missed one of the segments they’ve been compiled here at the end of this post, so you can see them in their entirety.
Each segment offered some interesting and varying takes (though in fairness there were some areas the writers all seem to think alike) on what is expected to occur this season. Ultimately the answers provides broad strokes on each area of the roster as well as what Clutch City fans should be watching for this season.
Whether you participate in a fantasy basketball league, just want to be prepared for the regular season or want to compare your own opinions with the SCS team our answers will address your needs.
Next: The Off Season
Oct 17, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets point guard Ty Lawson (3) during player introductions before the game against the Miami Heat at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
In this segment the SCS writers provided their thoughts on:
- In terms of returning Rocket free agents Patrick Beverley was shown a ton of love, however there were others who a few of the writers felt were equally if not more important.
- The selection of Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell. Overall the staff felt these two prospects were worthy ahead of others on the board, though again a few writers thought Daryl Morey may have missed the opportunity to add a different prospect.
- Most of the writers felt the Ty Lawson trade was a huge win since the players Houston sent the other way weren’t going to get minutes and the fact only Nick Johnson remains in Denver sort of speaks for how big a steal Morey pulled off via this trade.
- Moreover the majority of the staff felt Lawson was the best possible move to shore up the starting point guard position though some still feel he would be a better fit with the reserves.
- Almost unanimously the SCS team was surprised by Josh Smith electing to sign with the Clippers over Houston and there was some very interesting opinions dished on whether this move will prove to be a mistake for Smith
In this segment the SCS scribes opined on:
- Marcus Thornton was viewed unanimously as a great addition to the Rockets roster and one writer felt it was the most under rated move of the summer
- James Hardens shoe deal and surrounding antics seemed to draw the most attention of our staff though there were some other interesting takes on the players off season activities.
- In terms of which free agent(s) Daryl Morey should have signed or missed out on our team had a lot of ideas and suggestions. Guess that’s why none of us make the GM’s salary, but hey he ought to listen to us more … right?
- Also unanimous was the groups feeling Alan Williams may well have been a player Morey let slip away too easily, especially since he could have been developed with the Rockets D-League affiliate. Williams showed a strong work ethic based on his arrival in Vegas slimmed down only weeks after being told by franchises that was why he didn’t get drafted.
- Morey got strong marks across the board in the GM Grades handed out
Next: Training Camp and Preseason
Oct 7, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Sam Dekker (7) warms up before playing the Dallas Mavericks at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Training Camp and Preseason:
In this segment the team provided their perspective on a range of topics. Here’s some of the highlights:
- Terrence Jones, K.J. McDaniels and Patrick Beverley all received love from the team in terms of who the team felt grew the most in the summer.
- Ty Lawson and the rookies were the players the team was most intrigued to see of the new Rockets and specifically how they melded into the roster.
- Many of us were extremely excited to see how much McDaniels and Beverley developed over the summer
- The team debated the merits of keeping the 15th roster spot open and unanimously agreed if they did sign one of the invitees it would be a player to fill a front court role
- Recognizing preseason games are more about implementing new schemes and gauging growth along with team chemistry the team debates which opponent they were anxious to see the Rockets meet in preseason.
Next: 2015-2016 Regular Season
May 27, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Houston Rockets center Clint Capela (15) chases a loose ball against Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) during the first quarter in game five of the Western Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Rockets 104-90 to advance to the NBA Finals. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Our writers got into the real meat of the Rockets roster in this segment looking at specific roles, who might surprise and what production fans could expect. We also dove into the changes Clutch City should expect in terms of offensive and defensive schemes and where Kevin McHale might adapt this season. With so many pundits underestimated how well Houston might perform this season estimating the Rockets win total offered very little dissension from the staff. Below is the outline from each part within this segment along with a link to click directly to each one :
- Defensive changes
- Offensive changes
- Who starts at point guard
- Estimated production from Beverley and Lawson
- The role of Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell this season including how many games they’ll play with the varsity squad
- Who has the bigger impact Sam Dekker or Montrezl Harrell
- Estimating their production
- Which rookie exceeds expectations
- Who has the bigger impact Clint Capela or K.J. McDaniels
- Estimating their production
- Who has the bigger impact Terrence Jones or Donatas Motiejunas
- Estimating their production and who starts once DeMo returns
- How injury might affect the team and who is most likely to suffer the most missed games due to injury
- Predicting the health of Dwight Howard this season and his production
- Examining the changes Kevin McHale might implement this season
- Who has the bigger impact Marcus Thornton or Jason Terry
- First Rocket(s) traded this season
- How James Harden role changes and whether this roster allows him to improve upon last season
- Prediction the Most Improved player on the roster
- Predicting the Rockets win total this season
Next: And the award goes to?
Dec 20, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) reacts after a play during the third quarter against the Atlanta Hawks at Toyota Center. The Hawks defeated the Rockets 104-97. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Awards, Benchmarks and Expectations:
Ask a team of writers to extol on the best players in the league and suddenly you can pinpoint what type of players they respect most. While the Space City Scoop scribes didn’t vary much on their assessment of the the home team Rockets there was interestingly diverse reactions to this segment. The team looked at all the major hardware predicting who would ascend to take the individual prizes this season including our best guesses at potential Rockets who could be in the mix.
Ever wonder why pundits tend to pick the same teams to repeatedly make the playoffs? Perhaps it is because as exciting a prospect as it sounds to stand alone if you prove unsuccessful your prediction is written in stone (so to speak) which means you can be mercilessly teased about that prediction. Undeterred some of the team did take risks in their predictions and are secretly crossing their fingers those predictions end up providing bragging rights as opposed to fodder for ribbing later this season.
The final question focused on what each member of the staff is personally looking forward to this season and also offered a diversity of hopes and fueled our excitement for the impending regular season tip-off.
- MVP winner
- Rockets attending All-Star weekend in Toronto
- Southwest Division ranking
- Top 8 Western Conference Seeds and rank
- Most Improved
- Defensive Player
- Sixth Man
- All NBA
- Hopes, dreams and anticipation of 2015-16 season
While this exercise was enjoyable for the SCS staff we hope it offered additional insight for our readers in what to watch for this coming season. Further, the SCS team hope you’ll join us and offer your own thoughts, opinions and predictions below in our comments section. We’d love to know who the Houston Rockets fan base feels will surprise this season, what changes you think the team might make, who your most exciting to see and of course which Rockets and NBA players you believe will lead the Association this season and end up being rewarded for it at season end.
The links to each segment below provide the full responses and musings from each of the four sessions, predictions, estimates and of course those etchings in stone: