I'm teeming with some insight on this Courtney Lee trade (I had to do a double take when I saw the sports ticker on PTI today...we traded WHO???) Some people have said that I have some pretty good insight onto our beloved Rockets team, and let me break it down (besides, this totally beats studying for diagnostic exams in physical and inorganic chemistry).
1.) The Rockets traded away our swiss army knife- and got better in the process
Wow, I didn't think I would see that coming. The team traded away a guy who could get you 12ppg/5rpg/3apg/1.5spg regularly for a player who is just a bit more consistent and has a higher ceiling. Depth wise, this makes more sense. I think Budinger is more of a SF than a SG, and Battier did not belong on the bench with this team.
Oh where are my manners? You guys wanna hear about Courtney Lee right? Courtney Lee is a 3rd year guard who averaged 12 1/2 ppg for New Jersey last year after being called one of the best defenders on the East Finalists of 2008, Orlando. This is a good pickup. He shoots solid (last season in Jersey non-withstanding), and he can be a pretty solid defender. This is a nice piece behind the offensive minded Martin. That second unit led by Lowry and Lee will be pretty good...with Budinger providing some fiery offense and Hill/Patterson/Miller/Hayes bringing the interior presence we like with the second team.
A starting 5 of Brooks/Martin/Battier/Scola/Yao is better than one with Ariza playing instead of Battier. Ariza's youth and contract would have dictated him starting over Shane Battier, but Ariza's a runner playing in a spot where you need a solid spot-up shooter, something that he could do, but something Shane is just a bit better at. That and Shane is to the defense what Yao Ming is to the offense. Houston's defense really fell apart in the last 20 or so games last year without Battier.
Side note: I could see Courtney Lee starting at SF eventually, but for now, the cerebral defender in Battier is needed on the floor.
3.) Will there be another deal?
Getting rid of Trevor Ariza, does that mean we'll see a move for an established SF who can score the ball and play defense? Will we pick up a guy who shoots well to compliment Martin and Brooks on the drive or Yao and Scola in the post? Or will we just sit tight and watch our team grow?
To be truthful, this is what I want to see happen next: nothing. Lets ride this team out. Lets see the Brooks/Lowry PG combo in action, Martin/Lee/Taylor at SG, Battier/Budinger running wild at SF, Scola/Hill/Patterson at PF, and Yao/Miller/Hayes running wild at C. We've got a team that stacks up well I think with the rest of the league. Its just unfortunate that so much depends on one guy...but we'd say the same thing about the Lakers, Thunder, Mavs or Trail Blazers if Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki or Brandon Roy were as consistently injured as Yao has been.
I can't wait for training camp to start!