Starting Five: PG Jeremy Lin, SG Kevin Martin, SF Chandler Parsons, PF Royce White, C Omer Asik
Key Bench Players: SG Jeremy Lamb, SF Carlos Delfino, F Terence Jones, F Marcus Morris, F Patrick Patterson, PG Shaun Livinston, PF Donatas Montiejunas, PG Toney Douglas, C Jon Brockman
Notable offseason additions: PG Jeremy Lin, C Omer Asik, SG Jeremy Lamb (12th overall pick), F Royce White (16th overall pick), F Terence Jones (18th overall pick), PG Toney Douglas, SF Carlos Delfino
Offseason subtractions: PF Luis Scola, SF Chase Budinger, PG Kyle Lowry, C Samuel Dalembert, SG Courtney Lee, C Marcus Camby, PG Goran Dragic
What a strange offseason. Really, there is no other way to put it. Starting with the trade of former starter Chase Budinger for a draft pick, the Rockets made a series of moves that were presumably designed to entice the Orlando Magic to trade star C Dwight Howard to H-Town. Unfortunately for Houston GM Daryl Morey (and Rockets fans), the Magic decided to ship D-12 out to Los Angeles instead. Perhaps no team was more effected by this than the Rockets, given the overhaul the roster went through just to be in a position to land Howard.
In addition to Budinger getting dealt, PF Luis Scola was amnestied, PG Kyle Lowry was traded to Toronto for a “guaranteed lottery” pick, and PG Goran Dragic signed with Phoenix after Houston failed to match his offer sheet. A handful of other, lesser trades were made, with the end result being a complete mish-mash of a roster. We could spend a whole blog post dissecting all of the players Houston sent packing, but why do that when this is a preview for the coming season?
The obvious starting point for Houston is international sensation Jeremy Lin. If you’re reading this post, you know about Lin — the “long story-short” is an undrafted and twice-waived guard from Harvard started getting playing time for the New York Knicks, improbably turned the season around and saved the coach’s job (albeit temporarily), and was a household name by the end of a Disney movie-esque two week run. For reasons typically associated with James Dolan, the comically inept owner, the Knicks let Lin, a marketing sensation at least and a pretty damn good guard at best, walk for nothing.
Who is the real Jeremy Lin? Is he really a guy who can average 18 points and 8 assists over an entire 82 game season? Is he really just a Harvard-educated J.J. Barea? We will find out this season, as the Rockets will hand the keys to the offense over to Lin. If Lin can really play at an elite level, the Rockets may not be half bad. My personal take, having watched Lin first at Harvard and then during the Linsanity craze, is that he can play but not at an All-NBA level. Something in the neighborhood of his Knicks averages (18 points, 8 assists, lots of turnovers) will be the production the Rockets get this year, which will put them somewhere between their Best Case and Absolute Apocalypse scenarios listed below.
Almost every other player on this roster is in a similar situation to Lin — definite potential, but nothing proven over an 82-game season in the NBA just yet. It would be impossible to assess this group as an actual unit since almost nobody on the roster has played together. Instead, let’s just look individually at the players who will get the most minutes and see what we have.
The other big free agent acquisition was former Bull Omer Asik. Asik is a 7-footer who can defend the rim and rebound, but has never been asked to play big minutes (last yea… Read more...