Countdown to NBA trade deadline February 18th: What would it take to trade one of the Vets?
It’s Monday night and you just got through yet another classic Houston Rockets beat down to a bottom feeder team like hmm, let’s say the Denver freaking Nuggets (Lord, I still can’t believe they swept us). Scenes from the game are replaying in your head over and over and over again while you sulk in sadness letting depression consume your body –
- “Dinner?” Nope, not hungry.
- “Sleep?” Nope, not tired.
- “Maybe I should go for a jog to get my mind off of things.” HA! Run… yeah right, this couch is pretty comfortable plus the chips are within reaching distance.
An hour of self consulting on reasons why Houston loss goes by and reality hits. The sad reality that is hidden within the depths of our insecurities secured behind the wall of denial. Maybe this James Harden and Dwight Howard duo isn’t working.
Now, before you exit the page and say to yourself, “Well.. that’s thirty seconds of my life I’m never getting back.” Let me reassure you that – this will probably never happen. But it doesn’t hurt to ponder the trade possibilities that are out there if Houston were indeed looking to go in another direction.
Let’s ride, shall we?
Alright, for a team to even come close to trying to pursue Howard they would have to be telling themselves three things:
- ” Well, ya know.. our team isn’t getting any younger and if there was ever a window to win, it’s now.”
- ” When’s the last time we out rebounded a team?”
- ” You know what would be better than a large box of pepperoni pizza to just magically appear in front of me right now? A low post presence on both sides of the floor.”
It’s no secret – Dwight’s 30 years old and well past his prime. Is he a reliable go to option down low? Well you know he’s gotten better over the past few games but if in some weird alternate universe where my life depended on Dwight scoring eight times out of ten in one game on post up situations – consider me dead.
Dwight hasn’t been quite the rim protector he’s sought out to be this season either. Houston ranks 29th in Points Allowed in the Paint per game giving up 46.2 (per Teamrankings.com). Now of course if would be unfair to shoulder Howard with all the blame on why the Rockets have been so bad at limiting opponent’s production in the paint, because at the end of the day defense still is and will always be – collective team effort.
But thanks to the wizards at Nyloncalculus.com who keep track of stats which reflect performance on pure Rim Protection alone, you can clearly see in the graphic below that Dwight has been downright awful when it comes to keeping intruders out. (Note: The highest graded center under “Tot Pos Adj Points Saved” was Miami’s Hassan Whiteside with +78.2, to make things worst- Enes Kanter has saved more points at the rim than Dwight grading out to -21.7)
Now, I’m not taking anything away from Dwight because I do believe before the ankle injury that he was having quite a stellar season. I’m simply implying the facts proven by stats that he is indeed only a mere shell of what once was. Despite all of this, a team pursuing Dwight must be a team that is well aware of his Hulk-like transformation during the playoffs…. a team like let’s say…THE CAVALIERS.
Again, may I remind you that – unless the Cavalier’s front office and Daryl Morey went on a weekend hiatus in Denver and experimented with some of the finest, natural green herbs the beautiful state of Colorado had to offer, this trade will never ever go down.
But let’s say they did go on that trip and this deal actually happened.
Houston would be getting a stretch four who more than fits right into what they want do offensively and a viable rim protector in Timofey Mozgov. They’d also be getting rid of perhaps the most hated Rocket among this season’s fan base thus far – Terrence Jones. Cleveland on the other hand wouldn’t have to deal with any chemistry rift between Lebron James and Kevin Love while getting rid of Mozgov – a player whose dip in production has been apparent. This would also pair up Howard and Tristan Thompson, a gift from the Rebounding Gods.
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Here’s where things get interesting. Let’s say the chemistry issues were true and the players on Houston’s roster got fed up with Harden’s lack of leadership and effort. The organization decides that winning a ring with Harden is impossible because he is a locker room distraction, not fit to be a leader and is a hard guy to get along with.
Meanwhile, the Wizards continue to struggle and the boo birds directed at John Wall began to pick up again. Upset at the lack of appreciation, Wall demands a trade and the Wizards decide it’s time to invest in another superstar to lead this team. An offensive minded superstar who can keep this fan base at bay with outstanding scoring ability the way Gilbert Arenas did.
A change in scenery for both back courts and a new look for each fan base. Houston would be getting a two way superstar and a lethal scorer from deep (when healthy) while no longer having to suffer from the eye sore that is Harden’s defense, Patrick Beverley’s hair and Jones looking absolutely clueless on every defensive possession. Washington on the other hand will get to relive the the days where unreal scoring performances were a norm in the Verizon Center and not have to worry about Bradley Beal breaking a bone every time he’s touched by a feather.
Odds trade will occur:
Unfortunately, the odds of these deals happening are just as slim as J.B Bickerstaff realizing that K.J McDaniels is someone who needs to be apart of his rotation on a regular basis if the Rockets want any chance of improving defensively.
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