Houston Rockets Season Preview

Reaching For Stars

For a little over a year the Houston Rockets have swung and missed on a bevy of star players.

It all started they took a swing at trying to acquire Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets. That transaction fell through.

Next,  David Stern rejected the Lakers’ trade for Chris Paul. The Rockets would’ve received Pau Gasol in return and then would’ve went hard at Nene which would’ve made one hell of a front court.

Then they tried to acquire Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic. Though they gave a great offer to the Magic, it was rejected and he was traded to the Lakers for a much, well, worse offer.

The Rockets seemed to be out of luck in the search of a star but then the impossible happened. They dealt for James Harden on Saturday at the eleventh hour.

According to NewOK.com Harden wanted three days to sit on the 4 year, $53 million dollar offer that the Thunder had given him. He likely would’ve taken it from the way things sound, but Thunder GM Sam Presti only gave him an hour to sit on it.

The hour was up and Harden was a Rocket from that point on. Daryl Morey finally has what he’s been looking for over the last year and change. Welcome to Houston, James.

Hardlin

Someone tweeted that yesterday and it made me laugh. If I knew who did it, I’d link them to this post but I don’t. So moving on, how will James Harden and Jeremy Lin work together?

Who will be the primary ball handler and what will their offense look like?

How will Harden perform as a starter now? He played starter minutes in Oklahoma City, but there’s a different dynamic to starting and having teams adapt to you then and performing against another team’s second unit. He has to get into rhythm.

I think that these two will end up helping each other. They are both very good playmakers off of the pick and roll.

Harden is going to be able to move off of the ball a lot more with Lin at his side. He’s move of a passing point guard than Russell Westbrook was so there isn’t any need for Harden to really stay on ball.

That was probably Harden’s greatest strength as a shooting guard though. His ability to create for himself and others was key in that Thunder offense. It will be interesting to see how they use him in the Rockets offense as well.

In Kevin McHale’s offense, guards tend to thrive more than bigs. That’s an interesting concept given that McHale himself was a big.

We’ve seen Goran Dragic put up great numbers in this offense and we’ve seen Kyle Lowry do it as well.

Playing in a high tempo offense should do the same for Lin–who flourished in this in New York–and Harden.

Minute Allocation

As we all know, the Rockets have a lot–and I mean a lot–of forwards. And they didn’t have to give one up in the Harden deal. They move along relatively unscathed because they kept their picks and upgraded at the shooting guard position.

The Rockets have a lot of talent to go around. Lets see how the minutes will add up once Harden is added to the rotation.

Starters

Jeremy Lin- 31.4 Mpg

James Harden- 32.5 Mog

Chandler Parsons- 30.8 Mpg

Patrick Patterson- 28.2 Mpg

Omer Asik- 30.1 Mpg

Reserves

Donatas Motiejunas- 20.2 Mpg

Royce White- 18.5 Mpg

Terrence Jones- 17.6 Mpg

Marcus Morris- 17.3 Mpg

Gary Forbes- 15.2 Mpg

Toney Douglas- 20.6 Mpg

Carlos Delfino- 21.6 Mpg

John Brockman- 14.2 Mpg

JaJuan Johnson- 17.2 Mpg

Conclusion

The trade of James Harden to the Rockets has put them in obvious position to contend for one of the final eight playoff spots in the west.

With Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Love being out for their teams for a short while, they both could start off rough. There’s a wide open window for Houston to attack.

With the addition of their two new guards, they should be able to do some damage. They’ll definitely be a better team than they were last year. They’ll win at least 42-45 games.

In the west that doesn’t always get you into the playoffs but I think that the Rockets will be there.

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