Over the past couple of seasons, the Houston Rockets have struggled to keep their big men healthy. All three of their established post players– Dwight Howard, Donatas Motiejunas, and Terrence Jones— have struggled to stay on the court due to injuries.
Because of injury and poor timing, the Rockets starting lineup has been in a perpetual state of change. As of now, second-year man Clint Capela starts alongside Dwight Howard. While they have found some success with that lineup, I imagine a power forward who can better space the floor is more suitable for the Rockets’ desires.
Last season, Motiejunas excelled at the power forward position, but after returning from a back injury he suffered late last season, he has yet to see significant time out on the court. Motiejunas has sat out the past two games due to soreness in his back, and is likely to miss Thursday’s game vs. Utah.
While Motiejunas’ injury has definitely hurt the Rockets, many believed Terrence Jones could find success as the Rockets starting power forward. Jones has significantly improved his three-point shot this season, and during the month of December he put together some solid games, but his defense has become a liability to the Rockets.
Bickerstaff said rebounding was reason for Harrell over TJones: "If (Montrezl) doesn't get it, his guy sure as heck isn't going to get it."
— ClutchFans (@clutchfans) January 5, 2016
During the second half of the Rocket’s victory over Utah on Monday, coach J.B. Bickerstaff decided to go with rookie Montrezl Harrell over Jones, citing defensive intensity as the reason for doing so.
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Before the season began, many speculated that Terrence Jones would be shipped to another team before the trade deadline. With Donatas Motiejunas continuing to battle injury, it’s going to make it harder for the Rockets to find a landing place for Terrence Jones as teams will understand that the Rockets are in desperate need of a capable power forward.
For a team like the Rockets, the power forward position is extremely important. You need a player who can score some easy buckets in the paint when the offense is struggling, but also somebody who can knock down the three ball and create more space for James Harden to drive. At the same time, he must be able to defend some of the leagues’ best power forwards in Blake Griffin, Anthony Davis, and LaMarcus Aldridge.
So far this season, the Rockets have seen more changes at the power forward position than any other place on the court. As we approach the halfway point of the schedule, the Rockets will need to find some stability with their big men.
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