3-on-3: Short-Term Fixes, Long-Term Problems
By Ben Casey
The Houston Rockets have been struggling lately, but a quick fix might not be the answer. In today’s 3-on-3, the Space City Scoop staff will discuss playoffs and how the team might best prepare for them.
The Western Conference is highly competitive as usual, and there’s no telling where the Rockets, or any other team, will end up in the standings. The Los Angeles Clippers have been inconsistent, the Dallas Mavericks are surging as of late, and
In order to make a respectable playoff run, James Harden and friends will have to play at a higher level than they’ve been for the past couple of weeks. Their defense has allowed 118 points or more in 5 of the last 6 games, and they’ve lost 7 of their last 11.
the 4-7 seeds in the western conference are separated by a mere two games.
Much of the team’s recent struggles could be due to their difficult schedule thus far. As Trent Arnold wrote earlier today, the schedule makers have not been kind to the Rockets yet. Things will even out, though. An easy, home-heavy February with a week-long break in the mix could be all Houston needs to get back on track.
With those things considered, the Space City Scoop staff will take on three questions pertaining to favorable playoff match-ups and how to bolster the squad as the trade deadline draws closer.
Next: 1. What is Houston's most favorable first round match-up?
1. Which team would you most like to see the Rockets play in the first round or the playoffs?
Say what you will, but I’d love to see the Houston Rockets take on the Oklahoma City Thunder. I came to that conclusion by process of elimination, mostly. Both the Memphis Grizzlies and the Utah Jazz are in the top three in fewest points allowed per game, which knocks them out easily. The Clippers, though inconsistent this season, have a roster that is capable of beating anybody when they’re at full health.
Of the realistic possibilities, that leaves only Russell Westbrook‘s Thunder. The season series between Houston and OKC so far has been decided by a grand total of 7 points, so a playoff match-up between these two teams would, in all likelihood, be amazing. It wouldn’t be an easy win, but I have no qualms stating my confidence that the Rockets would come away victors.
If for no other reason, a first round playoff series between the only two realistic MVP candidates would be everything an NBA fan could ask for.
Purely for entertainment purposes, seeing Harden and Westbrook go at it would be a great first round contest. I’m almost certain commissioner Adam Silver would love those ratings too. But, I would much rather face a team that gave us a more favorable match up. I’m thinking in terms of the Rockets advancing and being well rested for what could be an eventual rematch with the Golden State Warriors. So, with that said, I would rather them face the Jazz or the Clippers if they continue to fall in the standings.
Juan Pablo Urrutia
This year’s Western Conference is very deep and there will be no easy match-up in the playoffs. If I were to pick a team in the 5-7 seed range for Rockets to play in the first round, though, it’d be the Thunder. The biggest worry is obvious–Russell Westbrook. However, Houston has a defender in Patrick Beverley who has been known to get under Westbrook’s skin, especially in a playoff environment.
Their lack of depth also works to Houston’s advantage as Westbrook can only do so much against a Rockets team that can score on every end of their roster. Both the Jazz and the Grizzlies are very strong defensive teams that could give the Rockets more trouble than OKC. For the Rockets, there are better teams to worry about in later rounds and getting the easiest first round possible would be a big help.
The Thunder look to be a team that gets knocked out in the first round, so let’s hope the Rockets can be the ones to do so.
Next: Could Carmelo to the Rockets make sense?
2. A popular Rockets blog asked this week if Rockets fans would be willing to swap Ryan Anderson for Carmelo Anthony. Assuming the the teams could work out salaries and whatnot, would you go for it?
Although I would love to see Carmelo Anthony in Houston, I do not think it would be a good move for the Rockets. I do think they should make a move for a big name player in the near future, but Carmelo is a no. My only concern is that he and James Harden would not get along all too well.
Absolutely, emphatically, hell NO! First, Melo and coach Mike D’Antoni already have a failed attempt under their belt. I guess people have forgotten about D’Antoni’s time with the New York Knicks. While his tenure there gave birth to “Linsanity”, it was still a failure because of Melo’s ball-stopping.
Secondly, Melo is a poison who still believes he’s a top tier player. It would be another case of having a diva type persona on the team who demands the ball and pouts when it doesn’t come his way. Looking at you Dwight Howard.
Lastly, I doubt Melo would accept being the second or third option on the team. This goes back to the diva persona and Melo being delusional in terms of his current abilities. This Rockets team is Harden’s and Melo couldn’t handle being Robin to James’s Batman.
Under no realistic circumstances would I willingly add Carmelo Anthony to the Houston Rockets roster. It’s become evident over the course of time that he isn’t willing to adapt to any coach’s system unless that system allows him as many isolation plays as her wants. He’s failed to integrate with Mike D’Antoni’s system in the past, and I doubt he’d be okay with playing second or even third fiddle in H-town.
He’s a great talent, and, despite being 32 years old, has a couple of quality years left in him. However, his attitude and unwillingness to compromise has doomed him in the past, and I don’t want to risk any of that taking place with the Rockets. Even if things did go well for a season or two, it’d be a short-term fix that would create a long-term problem.
Next: 3. Should the Rockets trade Corey Brewer?
Jan 15, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Houston Rockets forward Corey Brewer (33) lays the ball in the basket against the Brooklyn Nets during the second half at Barclays Center. The Rockets won 137-112. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports
3. It’s no secret that Corey Brewer hasn’t been a positive on the court for Houston this year. Should the Rockets trade him or keep him on board to maintain the newfound locker room continuity?
Juan Pablo Urrutia
This is a tough one because Corey Brewer is a hell of a guy and a great teammate. However, he has been struggling as of late. Trading him wouldn’t necessarily be a bad option, but the Houston Rockets would need to find someone who could fit seamlessly into Mike D’Antoni’s system.
Giving up Brewer and maybe even K.J. McDaniels for another scorer off the bench could prove to be very beneficial for the Rockets. It’s unfortunate that Kyle Korver was just moved because someone like him, with his playing style, would be a perfect addition. I’d like to see if Gerald Henderson could be a good option off the bench for the Rockets.
Yes, trade Brewer! His salary could help get a player like Brook Lopez to Houston.
More from Space City Scoop
- Why Tad Brown is the Rockets’ biggest loss to date
- Rockets legend in awe over Stephen Curry’s level of play
- Rockets fiasco shows importance of Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook
- Houston Rockets: Evan Mobley worth a look at No. 2 in NBA Draft
- Houston Rockets: Ranking the top-five 2021 NBA draft prospects
Corey Brewer is the ultimate paradox. One second he comes up with a crucial block or much needed bucket and then in the very next instant he commits a turnover. It’s these plays that draw out the fans’ ire.
But, Brewer is the ultimate teammate. His locker room presence is what bonds him to his team.
So to answer the question, I would say no to trading him. I would much rather see the continued development of K.J. McDaniels, while Brewer takes on more of a player-coach role.
Besides, I’m not sure he’d have much value on the trade market. Why mess up the chemistry of the team by rushing into a knee-jerk trade?
Next: Top 5 Point Guards in Houston Rockets History
If you have any questions you’d like discussed in the next 3-on-3, or if you disagree with our answers, let us know in the comments or get at us on Twitter at @SpaceCity_Scoop.