The feature image to this article all of a sudden makes me think: is the James Harden-Dwight Howard pick-and-roll going to be physically possible to stop? Seriously, though. A lot of hype revolving around H-town with the arrival of Dwight Howard a.k.a “Superman.” Oh wait, nobody calls him that anymore because he’s no longer portrayed as a “good guy.” Here is the Houston Rockets season preview:
Guards (A-): Patrick Beverley, James Harden, Jeremy Lin, Reggie Williams, Aaron Brooks
Recent reports are stating Patrick Beverley will take over as the starting point guard for Houston. Beverley is six-foot at best but overcomes his height with tenacious defense. Beverley will be a question mark on offense but won’t necessarily serve as the true point guard with James Harden being the primary ball-handler. That brings me to Harden, who took off in his first season with Houston in 12-13, averaging just about 27 points, six assists, five rebounds, and two steals per 40 minutes. Harden proved a superstar without a doubt and teaming up with Dwight Howard will only make it easier on him. Jeremy Lin wasn’t bad last year but didn’t make as much of an impact as most starting point guards. The sixth man role might end up suiting him better. Brooks and Williams give Houston a couple three-point gunners off the bench.
Forwards (A): Chandler Parsons, Dwight Howard, Francisco Garcia, Terrence Jones, Omri Casspi
With Dwight and Omer Asik starting together, neither really have a true position. Obviously they are both legit centers but one will have to be called power forward as long as the two start together. Dwight Howard actually started his career as a power forward but that didn’t last too long. Dwight and Asik on the court together is going to be interesting to say the least. They’re going to have to find a way to work it out on offense. As far as defense goes, the two will add up to become to Great Wall of China. Chandler Parsons is a highly efficient wing player and will serve as an extremely important third option. His game has developed really nicely in his first two years and now he’s fortunate enough to be alongside this dynamic Harden-Howard duo.
Centers (B+): Omer Asik, Donatas Motiejunas, Greg Smith
Continuing on Dwight and Asik playing together, I’d like to see it work out. I see no reason why Houston shouldn’t give it a shot, which is exactly what it’s doing. Asik was actually the more productive rebounder last season averaging 15.5 rebounds per 40 against Dwight’s 14 per 40. But that doesn’t hold much relevance other than showing both are dominant rebounders and that should greatly benefit the team. Very rarely do you see two top five rebounders as well as great post defenders in the same lineup. My point: go ahead and give it a shot Houston; it can’t hurt.
Defense (A-): No need to keep repeating myself. Let’s take a look at the perimeter defense. Beverley is a very disruptive defender who can make guards try to settle too much. In Harden’s case, he used up so much energy on offense last year, it only allowed him to be an average defender. Harden will have to find a way to balance out his game better as he’s certainly capable of being a plus on defense.
Shooting (A): So this is how it goes: you have Dwight in the middle and James Harden up top. The two run a pick-and-roll and if all else fails, kick the ball out to one of your five three point shooters (Brooks, Williams, Parsons, Casspi, Garcia). If that gets old, just use some nice, old-fashioned court spacing and the shooters will adapt to the offense and comfortably start knocking down shots.
Experience (B+): I made all that sound a little too easy. Unfortunately, basketball isn’t quite that simple. I mean, it can be but it takes a lot of teamwork and preparation first. Harden and Dwight will get a better feel for each other as the season goes on.
Standing – 4th West: I think the Rockets could be as high as number 2 out West. With a different look in Houston, don’t expect Houston to immediately look like the favorite in the West. In fact, that may not happen all year. We do know the Rockets have a foundation set in place for years to come.