Believe it or not, the NBA's regular season is two weeks away. To get you ready, Crossover Chronicles will be profiling a team each day for the next few weeks. This week is the Southwest Division. Today is the Houston Rockets.
2011-12 Record: 34-32
Key Losses: Luis Scola (signed with Phoenix), Kyle Lowry (traded to Toronto), Goran Dragic (signed with Phoenix)
Key Acquisitions: Jeremy Lin (signed from New York), Omer Asik (signed with Chicago), Terrence Jones (draft)
|Jeremy Lin||Kevin Martin||Chandler Parsons||Patrick Patterson||Omer Asik|
|Toney Douglas||Jeremy Lamb||Terrence Jones||Jon Brockman||JaJuan Johnson|
|Shaun Livingston||Carlos Delfino||Royce White||Marcus Morris||Donatas Motiejunas|
The Rockets are rebuilding. There sometimes needs to be a reason for fans to show up in the building. If there is one thing Houston made sure of, it is that people will pay attention to this team even if the team is not so good.
In steps Jeremy Lin. The hoopla comes with him and so will attention. And that already makes him worth his contract, even if he cannot live up to it. There is a lot of hype for Lin to live up to after his incredibly unlikely performance in New York last year. A player does not play that well without the ability to produce an encore.
Except things are different this time because he has the contract to go up with it, the pressure to perform with the weight of the team on his shoulders and the focus of opposing defenses every night. That should not be any harder than playing in the Garden every single night, right?
Lin still can show a lot of growth and Houston seems to be a nice place for him to develop. Lin has to cut down on his turnovers and he may have to become even more of a scoring threat for this young Rockets team.
There is no getting around that this Rockets team still seems to be in disarray.
Daryl Morey struck out trying to acquire Dwight Howard and may have alienated a good chunk of his roster in constantly putting everyone on the block and more or less gutting his team for what likely would have been a one-year rental of the NBA's best center.
How does Morey react? The math wizard offered two three-year, $25.1 million deals to Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik. Both have a lot of promise, but at north of $8 million per year you are asking a lot from two players that still have a lot to prove in this league. Lin and Asik have had their moments. Asik was more of an energy change-of-pace guy off the bench for the Bulls. But he has never been a starter and that is something he will have to learn on the fly. Lin had his two-week run, but an 82-game season is a much different thing.
Then comes the next issue. This is an extremely young team. Lin and Asik are question marks for a full season. But so are the various rookies the team has. Jeremy Lamb and Terrence Jones should turn into solid players, but their roles as rookies are question marks. Then there is the mystery that is center prospect Donatas Motiejunas. Not to mention Royce White and all the question marks that surround him.
This is an extremely young team that will have its share of struggles this year without a doubt. Lin-sanity may not be enough to save them.
This is not so much something ugly about Houston or what the franchise is doing. The reaction from the media and from other NBA scouts and personnel has the chance to get really ugly.
Still, kudos to Royce White for being up front about his problems with his anxiety disorder and kudos to the Rockets for trying to work with White to get him on the floor. He is clearly a very talented forward and is someone that will be able to contribute in the future.
There are plenty of people though that continue to look to the off-court stuff and question something that White may have virtually no control over. I imagine fans will get nasty with him too. And who knows what will happen if he struggles.
For now, there is nothing too ugly about this story from the Rockets' standpoint. They are handling White in a respectful manner and are working to make this draft pick work. Hopefully it will.
Have thoughts or predictions on the Rockets? Leave them in the comments below or drop us a line @CrossoverNBA on Twitter or join the discussion by using the hashtag #RocketsDay. We will be back with a closer look at the Rockets throughout the day.