What's on the Menu? "mmmmmm . . . Basketball!!!!"

Monday, December 17, 2012

SDH Presents the NBA's Worst to First for November: 18. Houston Rockets

Overall Win/Loss Record (as of November 30th):  7-8,  third place Southwest Division



24
This Month:
18
Team Statistics and League Rank (as of November 30th)

Points Scored: 101.3 (4th)
Points Allowed: 100.2 (24th)
Team FG%: .431 (23rd)
Opponent’s FG%: .442 (18th)
Rebounds per game: 45.9 (5th)
Opponents rebounds per game: 42.5 (17th)
Turnovers per game: 17.0 (30th)
Opponents turnovers per game: 14.6 (17th)

Individual Statistical Leaders

Scoring (ppg): James Harden (25.4)
Rebounds per game: Omer Asik (11.9)
Minutes per game: James Harden (38.4)
Assists per game: Jeremy Lin (6.1)
Steals per game: Jeremy Lin (1.8)
Blocked Shots per game: Omer Asik (1.3)

Worst Player of the Month:  Jeremy Lin



Okay, who the hell is this schmuck and what has he done with Jeremy Lin?  This is not the same Jeremy Lin who sparked the imagination of sports fans all over the world making them forget about the lengthy lockout that shortened last season.  He seemed to have disappeared once he signed that offer sheet from Houston that would pay him 7$ million his first two years following by a whopping final year worth 15$ million.   This imposter may have performed solid this month in terms of his passing averaging around six assists per game, his defense tallying close to two steals per game, and on the glass averaging close to five boards a game, his poor shooting (.374FG%) and rather mediocre offensive output scoring just 10 points per game this month.  The Rockets better do their best in finding the real Jeremy Lin and exposing this imposter because this weak product is not what Houston fans have been expecting.   

First Player of the Month: Chandler Parsons



While everyone in the media has been focused on the stellar performance of new addition James Harden and the rather underwhelming performance of Jeremy Lin, many have ignored the amazing play of the team’s starting small forward who has been having a breakout season.  In his second season, Chandler Parsons has become on the Rocket’s top performers by completely surpassing his previous production last season averaging 15.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and a little over a steal per game.  He has recently amped up his offensive production averaging 19 points per game over the last ten games, including a stellar 31 point performance to drop the visiting New York Knicks.  What’s even more impressive about Parson play is not just his increased production, but his even more impressive efficiency on the offensive end shooting .471 from the field and .418 from beyond the arc.  With his impressive play, Parsons has certainly become the Rockets’ unsung hero and hopefully, if he continues to maintain his current rate of production, he will finally have a share of the spotlight that both Jeremy Lin and James Harden have been hogging thus far.  


Analysis:

In a matter of a day, the Houston Rockets went from perennial bottom feeder looking to strike gold in next year draft lottery to becoming a team headed for playoff contention when the Rockets shocked the world and acquired who many consider the best shooting guard in the league whose name is not Kobe Bryant.  In a blockbuster deal that sent disgruntled shooting guard Kevin Martin along with Jeremy Lamb, who the Rockets picked 12th in this year’s NBA Draft to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston fans beamed as they received last season Sixth Man of the Year Award winner who had finished his season reaching to the NBA Finals in James Harden.  With the acquisition of Harden, Houston now became the team to watch as he would be paired with last season’s “Golden Child” who virtually saved the NBA, Jeremy Lin to form possibly the league’s best backcourt combination seen in a very long time.  Harden made his Rockets debut in spectacular fashion scoring 37 points in his first game (10/31/2012) followed by 45 soon after (11/2/2012) giving Rocket fans hope that this will be the year that their home team will finally break the glass ceiling and reach the post season for the first time in more than five years.  Unfortunately for Houston fans, after that stellar season opener, the Rockets have fallen flat of expectations and look as the same disappointingly mediocre Houston teams that they have grown accustomed to.

After his 45 point Houston debut, Harden has not played that spectacular averaging just 22 points per game since then and shooting a rather disappointing .412 to finish the month of November. In his next three games after his stellar debut, Harden’s scoring would drastically drop to just 19 points per game while shooting a dreadful .293 from the field and Houston would drop those three games after winning its first two.  His poor shooting along with Houston’s lackluster performance would continue as the Rockets would win only two of their next six games while Harden shot a rather sketchy .380 from the field and a rather uncharacteristic .290 from beyond the three point arc.  Fortunately for Rockets fans, their team and its star player would bounce back from their rather forgettable performances as Houston would finish November winning three of four and Harden’s production resurrected as well averaging a respectable 25.5 points per game while shooting a solid .424 from the field and a whopping .490 from beyond the arc.  Nonetheless, Harden’s rather shaky performance in November had been indicative on how unfulfilled the Rockets have played overall this season.

As the team, the Rockets have played rather dreadful considering the fact that they had brought in a very well publicized roster to enter the season.  Offensively, although they ranked among the league’s best in scoring, Houston also ranks at the bottom when it comes to team field goal percentage.  Add the fact that on the defensive end, the Rockets have been rather dreadful as they have allowed their opponents to average over 100 points per game and to out-shoot them as week by a +.011   margin—which does not look like much, but makes a major difference when it comes to them winning games.  The team’s poor shooting is amplified by its poor ball protection as Houston ranks as the worst team in the league when it come to committing turnovers while not forcing as many on their opponents.  Altogether, Houston does not look as it will be headed into the playoffs anytime soon let alone go above .500 as their spotty performing offense is balanced by their rather poor showing on the defensive end.

Both Harden and Jeremy Lin, the two pieces that Houston has planned to build upon, have failed to live up to expectations leading many to wonder if the Rockets have made a mistake investing the team’s entire future on these two players.  Harden looks nothing like the player who came off the bench to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to the NBA Finals while Jeremy Lin has been an absolute disaster.  After all the ruckus with him being let go from New York for virtually nothing, many hoops fans in the Big Apple are breathing a collective sigh of relief that team owner James Dolan did not match Houston’s offer sheet.  Without Lin, the Knicks currently have the one of the NBA’s best records while the players they acquired to replace Lin have out-performed him by leaps and bounds.  Both Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd have bounced back from lackluster performances last season to becoming major contributors as Felton is posting his best numbers since the last time he played in New York two years ago.  At the same time Jason Kidd, who will turn 40 years old at March, is currently one of his best seasons in terms of shooting with a .459 field goal percentage while shooting a whopping .483 beyond the arc. 

Rockets fans can only hope that their team’s investment in Lin, which comprising of three years and more than 30$ million, will pan out as Lin has been in the midst of a severe shooting slump as he has started the season shooting under .380 from the field while just averaging a little over ten points per game.  Currently Houston’s front office has been getting a lot of heat and eating a lot of crow for making a deal where Lin would receive a 15$ million pay day on the last season of his contract.  Couple that with the streaky performance of Lin’s partner in the backcourt, James harden, all the excitement and anticipation of Rockets fans have come crashing down as this backcourt duo has been anything but “dynamic.”  Fortunately for the Rockets, it does not look too bad as there are currently nestled in third place in the Southwest division right above the deteriorating Dallas Mavericks and the bottom feeding New Orleans Hornets; however if they continue to play the way that they have been, forget about Houston going anywhere past April when the regular season ends and the post season starts.  It looks like another hum drum season where the Rockets will enter the NBA draft with another low and inconsequential first round pick as they will be too good to even stand a chance of winning the NBA Draft lottery but not good enough to make it to the post-season.