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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

SDH's 2012/2013 NBA Worst to First Previews and Predictions: 24. Houston Rockets

Overall Win/Loss Record : 34-32 fourth place Southwest Division

Last Season’s Rank

17
Projected 2012/2013 Finish

24
Last season’s Team Statistics and League Rank

  • Points Scored: 98.1 (9th)
  • Points Allowed: 97.9 (19th)
  • Team FG%: .449 (14th)
  • Opponent’s FG%: .456 (23rd)
  • Rebounds per game: 42.2 (15th)
  • Opponents rebounds per game: 41.3 (14th)

Returning Individual Statistical Leaders

  • Scoring: Kevin Martin (17.1)
  • Rebounds per game:  Chandler Parsons (4.8)
  • Minutes per game: Kevin Martin (31.6)
  • Assists per game: Kevin Martin (2.8)
  • Steals per game:  Chandler Parsons (1.2)
  • Blocked Shots per game:  Patrick Patterson (0.6)

Projected Starters Based on Last Season’s Performance, Veteran Seniority and Projected Impact


Key Reserves Based on Last Season’s Performances, Veteran Seniority and Potential Impact.
2012/2013 Projection:  28-54 fourth in the Southwest Division, would have been worse without Jeremy Lin.

Analysis:

After four years of essentially going nowhere the Houston Rockets have decided to take their gears of neutral and are finally going somewhere.  Too bad that the direction they are going is straight down as they have jettisoned all of their veterans for first round picks and whose current roster consists of a complete mess of odd miss-jointed pieces.  Currently the Rockets have 21 signed players on their roster—6 more than the league’s mandated 15 man limit.  Most of these players were accumulated as leftovers from their numerous offseason moves.  And with a little over a month to go until training camp, the Rockets will have their work cut out for them to cut off all of the dead weight they have gathered and have this ramshackle roster looking like a real team again.

With so many castaways they have received from other teams, the task of whittling away the roster will certainly take its toll on the Rockets.  Most of these players are rather young—all of the players are under thirty—and none of these players really set themselves apart from one another.  There are essentially all with same type of player—tweeners whom have no real position that do everything good, but nothing really spectacular.  As it stands now the Rockets have six or seven players whom are “hybrid forwards”—players whom are neither strong or physical or strong enough to play the power forward or quick and athletic enough to play the small forward spot.  The other fourteen are virtual hodgepodge of “combo guards” and swingmen who all have no real discernible feature that separate themselves from each other. 

In this summer’s draft, despite having already three quasi-hybrid forwards in Patrick Patterson, Marcus Morris, and Chandler Parsons, the Rockets front office found it wise to pick two more players that fit the same profile in Terrence Jones and Royce White.  Add acquiring another quasi-hybrid in JuJuan Johnson from the Boston Celtics and all the other multi-range players that range from average to mediocre, such a roster can make any Rockets fan hang his or her head low in bewilderment and disgust.  With such a jumbled up mess of a roster, even thinned out it will not still remain just as underwhelming as it was with the added glut of players.  At least through all that garbage, there’s one bright gem that shines through it all the mess and will somehow bring order to all of the chaos.  His name is Jeremy Lin, and the Rocket organization believes him to be the central piece to rebuild their franchise around. 

Although he was earlier discarded by the Rockets at the beginning of last season, Jeremy Lin’s stellar performance in the Big Apple made Houston regret letting him go; however, they pulled up all the stops to get him back offering him a deal that would pay him close to 15$ million in the final year of the deal.  That scared the New York Knicks enough to not match the deal as they allowed potential All Star in Lin go for nothing.  By joining Houston, Lin has found himself in a prime position to be the man for the Rockets as he will not have to share the spotlight as he would have if he stayed with the Knicks.  With how sad the roster looks so far, coach Kevin Mchale will just hand the keys of the Rockets’ offense to Lin and give him the green light to take any and as many shots as he wants.

And there is probably no one better to give such responsibility to than Jeremy Lin as he has proven that he is up to the challenge.  He took over a New York Knicks team that was without Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire and kept the team in playoff contention leading the team in scoring and assists.  It will be probably because of him that the Houston Rockets will not look nearly as terrible as the roster looks on paper.  The Rockets will certainly not make any of their opponents quake in the sneakers, but they will certainly be a team that hoops fans will tune into.  This season will be known as “the Jeremy Lin Show” and win or lose, Houston fans will line up in droves just to catch a glimpse of a man who almost single handily resurrected a league facing a huge fan backlash from the previous off season labor dispute.