With the Houston Rockets likely returning to small ball next season, these three free agents could thrive like never before in that system.
There has been much debate over the merits of the Houston Rockets‘ small-ball revolution. There are real questions about the efficacy of small ball in the quest for championships, but that misses the real point.
The Rockets went to small ball because they viewed it as the best way to maximize their roster. The results were mixed, but the team’s front office saw enough that they’ve stated that it’s going to be their intended plan heading into next season.
Last season, small ball brought the best out of many a Rocket. Yes, the Rockets didn’t beat the Lakers, but if you haven’t been paying attention, the Lakers beat everybody, and the Rockets roster, outside of James Harden, is not all that good.
Russell Westbrook struggled mightily until the Rockets ditched a traditional center. Jeff Green was toast until he went to the Rockets and looked like an offensive force. Robert Covington was a menace on the defensive end as the Rockets’ defacto center. All in all, small ball brought the best out of the Rockets roster from some unlikely sources.
The Rockets need to improve their roster, but with no cap space and assets, they’ll have to bargain shop. However, this is what makes small ball so beneficial. When most of the league doesn’t play like you, they might not value certain players as much as a team needing a special skill set. The Rockets can scour the bottom of NBA rosters and free agency for players that could blossom in new roles only available to them through small ball.
When teams play small, they are actually asking their players to play big. What they are also usually doing is giving up size to have a speed the advantage. If you’re a fan of military history, you know that speed kills. The Panzer wasn’t a big bruising tank, but rather small and mobile. The Mongols had light, maneuverable cavalry that decimated the slow and heavily armored ranks of agrarian societies.
If the Rockets are going to play small again, they’ll need the right horses to get to the next level. These are the free agents and trade targets that could find new life and a boost in production by joining the small-ball revolution.
Next: Free Agent: No.3