Mike Prada already pointed this article out in his latest edition of the SB Nation NBA Power Rankings. But I couldn't ignore it, no matter how late I am to the party. Here is the article, written by Jordan Schultz of
Bleacher Report AOL Fanhouse.
Let's get started. All bolded words are my emphasis.
After all, the return of Yao Ming is worth at least another 10-12 wins, right? Maybe so, but when the trading deadline hit February 18, the Rockets got a little -- okay, a lot -- overzealous when they traded away the expiring contract of McGrady as well as Carl Landry for Kevin Martin and Jordan Hill. As a result, the likelihood that Houston will find itself back in the postseason next year may be in serious jeopardy.
Won't make the postseason? Have you seen our lineup next season, Mr. Schultz? Unless the injury bug wipes out most of our starting lineup, the Rockets will be making the playoffs next season. Sadly, I don't think Mr. Schultz was even considering injuries as a possible reason for a lottery birth.
T-Mac's long-awaited contract expiration date is finally almost here. After this season, the seven-time All-Star will be off the books and into the open market, where he will never see max deal money again. So why, you have to ask, didn't Houston just hold on for his deal to pleasantly expire?
Well, that Kevin Martin guy became available, and he is kinda/sorta good. And then, on top of that, the Knicks offered their lottery pick from last season and two potential lottery selections in the future. So, um, that's why.
The expiring cap space from McGrady's contract is something any GM would gush over. It's like walking around with a golden ticket, available to cash in on anyone, anywhere.
We knew that already. And we cashed our ticket, and got a handful of useful prizes. But thanks for the reminder.
Gaining rookie Jordan Hill from New York helps combat the loss, but doesn't make up for it entirely. Hill has underachieved as last June's No. 8 overall pick, part of which can be attributed to Mike D'Antoni, who inexplicably couldn't find a spot for him in the lineup despite the Knicks' well-chronicled struggles. Hill is immature but nonetheless immensely talented. At a chiseled 6-10, he is very skilled and strong, capable of moving bodies on the glass and clogging the paint.
So, suddenly, we're going to call someone who is wrongly neglected by his coach immature? Because he wanted to play? On a team that was headed nowhere but the lottery? Keep in mind, Mr. Schultz, that Hill was the one who kept his cool - it was Coach D'Antoni who took it another step further with the press.
The jury is still out, but giving up a proven player in Landry was a high price to pay.
The draft picks, Jordan. You're forgetting about the draft picks. And that Martin guy as well.
Since coming over, Martin has done what Martin does: score and miss games. In 18 games with the Rockets, he has averaged 21 points and converted from the line at his usually high 86 percent clip. That's the good with Martin. The bad? He has already missed five games due to a bum shoulder, and at some point you have to wonder at what costs does his scoring have?
Well, about that shoulder thing. Remember the broken wrist from last season? Broken wrists aren't one of those chronic injuries - it's a freak accident kind of thing. As a result, Martin hasn't been able to lift weights in a year. So, a bum shoulder comes as no surprise for someone who hasn't been able to bulk up in quite a while. Speaking of which, Martin says he will be back to lifting in the offseason and is hoping to put on about 10 pounds of muscle. Just so you know.
He doesn't pass the ball at all (under 2 assists for his career), is a below-average defender, and is shooting under 43 percent from the floor since his arrival. The Rockets are just 9-11 with him in the line-up and playing some of their worst basketball of the season.
First of all, we're not asking for him to pass. We want Kevin to shoot, and to shoot often. Second, Mr. Schultz fails to consider that during that 20-game span, the Rockets were also, at times, without Shane Battier, Trevor Ariza, Kyle Lowry, Jordan Hill, Jared Jeffires, David Andersen, and that big Asian guy. But that's probably Kevin's fault, right?
Despite his offensive prowess and obvious production (career average of 17.3 points on 11.6 FGA), it is Martin's individualistic brand of play that makes him the wrong choice in Houston. Often, his bundle of isolation plays and forced shots take Houston out of its offensive sets, which is especially important when you consider the precision that Adelman runs his offense with. For now, this may not seem like a big deal. The Rockets really don't have another true scorer on the wing (sorry Trevor Ariza), and certainly aren't making the playoffs. But when Yao does return, will Martin have the ability to alter his game enough to allow Houston the opportunity to go through it's center, as it has succesfully done for so long? Whether it's through the high post, on the block, or the pick-and-roll with Brooks, Yao is the focal point.
No no no no no no. Possibly the dumbest paragraph of the article. To begin, if Mr. Schultz had actually ever seen Martin play, he would realize that:
A) He was describing Tracy McGrady, rather than Kevin, when he mentioned his "forced shots" that "take Houston out of its offensive sets." That's Tracy's offense summed up in one sentence.
B) Kevin Martin is one of the most unselfish scorers I've ever seen, and at times, he's almost too unselfish. He doesn't demand the ball every time down. Instead, he pinpoints certain times to take advantage of the defense, and allows the offense to flow through everyone. I couldn't possibly think of a better player to play alongside Yao than Kevin.
Picking up a player like David Lee or a stopper like Matt Barnes would have served this team far better than Martin, who will be on the books through 2013. Signing Barnes to a likely one-year deal would provide Morey the financial flexibility to once again be aggressive in 2011, while the combination of Lee, Scola and Yao would be remarkable in the frontcourt, and provide an opportunity to get more value for Landry if a trade was necessary.
Matt Barnes. Instead of Kevin Martin. I'll leave it right there.
Simply put, both Barnes and Lee are better fits than Martin. Barnes is a defensive wizard also capable of hitting the three. He is a tough player who could essentially replace the aging Shane Battier and help Trevor Ariza on the perimeter at both ends of the floor. While Martin is said to be a bit of a locker room issue, Barnes is the injection of grit Houston has lacked since Artest left.
If Ron Artest isn't the textbook definition of a locker room issue, than I don't know what is. I've never heard a bad thing about Martin off the court, and if there is anything the Rockets don't need right now, it's grit. We've got plenty of it. Name one team (outside of Oklahoma) that plays harder than Houston does on a nightly basis.
I could delve deeper into this, but I'll let this little snippet serve as my final bit of evidence.
The bottom line is that Kevin Martin is a nice piece to the puzzle when you already have most of the puzzle filled, but adding a fragile scorer as your No. 2 option is not the right move. If you couldn't win with McGrady during his prime (hands down better than a 27-year-old Martin), than you won't win now.
A) Stop assuming that McGrady = Martin. Stop it. Stop it. Stop it.
B) Want to know why we couldn't win with McGrady? Have you seen the current roster as compared to the McGrady roster? The amount of depth the Rockets currently possess is unparalleled to past years, both in young and veteran talent. If a healthy McGrady in his prime were to step on the floor with this squad, they'd be sure contenders. Even better, I think Martin's a better fit than McGrady, which might shed light on how good I think next year's team can be.
On top of all of this, Mr. Schultz's contention that the Rockets could have maximized cap room by keep McGrady and letting him expire is false, because we couldn't have gotten that anyway.
There you have it. The worst article I have ever read. Pure and simple. Someone check to make sure that Jordan Schultz has his head screwed on correctly.