Houston Rockets: Where Do They Stand In The West?

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Apr 9, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Houston Rockets point guard

Jeremy Lin

(7) talks with center

Omer Asik

(3) in the second quarter against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Accounting For the Losses in Free Agency

Let’s first address the losses in free agency. Chandler Parsons at face value is a huge loss but if you take into account that Houston signed Washington Wizards forward Trevor Ariza before declining to match Parsons, the loss of Chandler Parsons is minimized significantly. I would even venture to say that this isn’t even a loss at all.

Chandler Parsons was a big reason this team ranked in at the second best offense in the game last season. Parsons averaged an impressive 16.6 points per game last season along with 5.5 rebounds per game and four assists per game. Ariza on the other hand averaged a respectable 14.4 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game and 2.5 assists per game.

The only thing essentially lost here is Chandler Parsons’ impressive playmaking ability and James Harden has shown to be more than willing to take on the job as lead point man of this team. What you get in Ariza is also something the Rockets have been looking to get for a very long time – a second elite wing defender. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Ariza is a significant upgrade to Parsons’ on the defensive end and will take on the more difficult wing assignments in the NBA and make up for Harden’s defensive deficiencies.

Next, let’s take a look at the loss of Jeremy Lin. Lin has been scrutinized in the past a lot for his slip ups in the playoffs but the firepower that he brought to this team off the bench is something the Rockets will more than likely struggle to make up for. Lin averaged 12.5 points per game, 2.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game last season. That isn’t something to be taken lightly. Sure, Nick Johnson, Troy Daniels, and Isaiah Canaan are nice prospects but they aren’t seasoned for the NBA yet.

What you got in Lin was an experienced NBA player who could get to the basket seemingly at will and be a valuable contributor off the bench for this team. He certainly was very invaluable whenever Beverley or Harden was hurt because he had the ability to play both the shooting guard and the point guard position. They could certainly try to make up for his loss but it will be a while before any one of the young guards on this team come even close to the level Lin played at.

Finally, let’s take a look at the loss of Omer Asik. If you’re an outsider looking at this team, one could easily draw the conclusion that Asik played a huge part in how successful the Rockets were last season. While he may have played a small part in this team’s success last season, the notion that he played a “major role” in the success is often skewed. Asik missed 34 games, nearly half the season. Granted, when he did play, he posted an impressive 5.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game playing limited minutes behind Dwight Howard.

Asik’s biggest impact to the team was during the postseason when guarding LaMarcus Aldridge than to the regular season and backing up Howard. In fact, when Terrence Jones replaced Asik in the starting lineup, the Rockets were treated to a noticeable improvement to the overall offense and floor spacing. Also, let’s face it, it was almost inevitable that Asik was going to be traded away during the off-season and the draft pick Houston acquired from the New Orleans Hornets was more than enough reimbursement for the Turkish big man. However, it will be difficult to to replace his defense off the bench and Joey Dorsey probably isn’t going to cut it but you must keep in mind that his impact on Houston’s season as a whole was miniscule.