It appears that the Rockets have reached their ceiling in this years offseason. Barring a trade, the roster is set for the 2016-17 season and I’m just not convinced that we are ready to compete in a highly competitive western conference. There is plenty of room for improvement and we should start with the point guard position.
In my opinion, we obviously need a prototype point guard to solidify our offensive attack. While Patrick Beverley brings a lot to the table defensively, the Rockets are not projected to focus on that side of the ball in the upcoming year. We have not been uber-effective defensively the last few seasons and the hiring of Mike D’Antoni almost ensures that this trend will continue.
With this being said, starting the season with a point guard that has limited offensive capabilities doesn’t seem to equate to success down the line. Daryl Morey has tinkered with the position quite a bit since losing both Goran Dragic and Kyle Lowry, but has yet to fill the gaping hole. However, his multiple attempts seem to indicate that he is aware that there is a need, which is also apparent to anyone who watches the Rockets play.
Some unsuccessful experiments have included Jeremy Lin and Ty Lawson to name a few. As respectfully as possible, I humbly question the aforementioned choices as viable options to lead the team to the promised land. Jeremy Lin was indeed a sensation for the Knicks, but had previously failed to make the Rockets active roster. What could have changed to make Morey feel that he was now a good match? It certainly wasn’t the offensive system.
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As for Ty Lawson, I feel that it was a no-brainer to take a chance on a player who’s problems mainly resonated in his personal life. On the court, he was a dynamic scorer with the uncanny ability to penetrate and keep opposing defenses off balance. Unfortunately, these skills were never seen in a Rockets uniform. While this acquisition was a calculated risk, I still categorize it as a bit of a reach and it played out as such.
Most recently, Pablo Prigioni has returned to the team after a short stint with the Clippers. Prigioni was key part of the Rockets deep playoff run two years ago, but he is definitely up in age to be a considered a major contributor to the current point guard rotation. On the other end of the spectrum, Gary Payton II has youth and tremendous upside at the position. Sadly, he has sustained an injury and will be undergoing surgery to repair a sports hernia.
According to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle, he will miss the rest of summer league and there is no clear timetable for his return to action. Unfortunately, this will prevent the staff from being able to adequately gauge what can be expected of him during the season. Keeping this in mind, it is quite possible that the Rockets plan to play Eric Gordon and James Harden together in the backcourt.
Considering Gordon’s skills, this may not be a horrible idea. He is a good shooter and has a nice handle. Beside Harden, he should get a lot of open shots based on the beard’s ability to penetrate and dish. The Michael Jordan led Bulls teams were not known for strong point guard play, but relied on little more than solid decision making and great shooting from the position. However, the Rockets are not the 90’s Bulls and Harden has not reached the level of play that Jordan displayed.
Overall, I strongly believe that Daryl Morey should be searching high and low for a deal that could net us a traditional point guard if we will have any hopes of a deep playoff run. Patrick Beverley has many redeemable qualities as a player, but I just don’t think our new system will be a good fit for his skills. What do you think?