Happy New Year from The Dream Shake. Hope you all go out there and shoot off a bunch of fireworks and stuff.
After three games against three good teams, the Rockets are 1-2. They'll face lesser big men in the coming weeks, so that should bode well for them. In the meantime, here's a bundle of thoughts after three games.
Sactown Royalty Reflects On Samuel Dalembert
I recently had an email exchange with Sactown Royalty's Aykis Yerocostas. Here's what he had to say about the former Kings center:
At a glance, Samuel Dalembert is exactly what most people want in a center: An athletic shotblocker who is also one of the better rebounders at his position. He's also been very durable and he's a good finisher around the basket. What's not to like? Quite a lot actually, if you've seen him play.
Dalembert can be one of the most frustrating players on the court at times due to his iffy shot selection and propensity to try to block anything and everything, even if it means getting way out of position or goaltending. On offense, he has a 15-20 foot jumper that he can hit occasionally, but he shoots it a lot more than is necessary. On defense, he can be an incredible presence, but he's more focused on blocking shots than simply stopping anybody individually (although when he puts his mind to it, he can be great at that as well, a notable example being how he shut down LaMarcus Aldridge last year). He's also very turnover prone due to his bad hands, and he also tries to make a lot of passes that aren't good ideas.
That's the thing with Sammy; he does a lot of things that don't seem to be good ideas at the time because he thinks he can pull it off. And he does sometimes, but not often enough to make it worthwhile. His rebounding is perhaps is greatest asset though, as he's just phenomenal on the glass on both ends of the court, and will routinely gobble up 10+ boards a night if given the minutes.
When Samuel Dalembert is on the court, prepare to be amazed, frustrated, excited, bamboozled, and perplexed. He'll make you laugh, he'll make you cry. He's a roller coaster ride with an unknown destination. By the time the season ended last year, a lot of Kings fans really wanted him back as he and DeMarcus Cousins had developed some really good chemistry. Would that have carried over into this year? I don't know. I do think he is a good fit next to a guy like Luis Scola though, and as long as all he does is defend, block shots and rebound, you'll enjoy Sammy. But that's up to Sammy, and he hasn't been known for always doing what he's supposed to.
More thoughts after the jump:
It's Chase Budinger Struggle Season, where we question his confidence, remember how much he likes volleyball and wonder if he misses it. Such patient fans we are. Budinger had a slow start last year, too, but this season seems to be less of a confidence issue and more of a gooseneck issue. He's simply missing open shots, as he's one for six in spot-up situations, most of which have been of the wide-open variety.
Here's the problem: If Budinger isn't scoring and taking advantage of open shots produced by the Somewhat Big Three, what's his value on the court? He's not much of a facilitator and his defense is beginning to remind me of one Steven Michael Novak. With Kevin McHale still shuffling parts, I wonder if he'd consider experimenting a bit more with either Terrence Williams or Courtney Lee next to Kevin Martin. With this lineup -- whether it be the start of the game or, more importantly, the end -- there is at least one capable wing defender on the floor.
Plus, I think Budinger would fit nicely next to Dragic and Patterson. They can all shoot, they can all spread the floor and they enjoy getting out in transition. At this point, Budinger still appears to have the skillset of a second-unit player. He runs, he can (hopefully) shoot and he lacks in other areas that would otherwise seal his starting job.
From N'Sync To In Sync
Never thought I'd be praising Chandler Parsons so early in his career, especially since he hasn't yet invited me to his place to polish off a few keystones, call up some babes and listen to Dave Matthews or Blur while watching the sunrise. In fact, I think all of us thought we'd be seeing Marcus Morris ahead of Pass The Parsons to this point.
Chandler looks far more comfortable than most rookies. Maybe that's because he played four years of college ball and has a little more maturity to him. Either way, he made smart decisions with the ball and most impressively, he used his shot fake effectively drove to the hole with relative ease. I'm not sure if Morris is in McHale's doghouse or what, but just by glancing at each rook on the court, Parsons appears to be more game-ready than Morris at this point.
Also, let's try to avoid comparing Parsons to Budinger if possible. I know. They're both white. They also have different skill sets and play different roles, plus if I could choose one to bong a few PBR's, I'm definitely picking Pseudo Matthew Perry.
Room For Improvement
If I could pass along some non-professional advice to a few Rockets, here's where I'd pin my focus for the following players:
Terrence Williams: I'm not asking you to dunk over actual people, but I am asking you to try. Get to the free throw line. Stop being so hesitant in the lane.
(trying to avoid Jordan Hill...)
Chase Budinger: Make your open shots. That'll help a great deal.
(thinking of words that don't rhyme with "chill")
Goran Dragic: If you could, a little less WTF in the halfcourt would be beneficial.
Kevin Martin: Grab three rebounds per game. At least do something else out there.
Jonny Flynn: As much as I'm sure you'd love this to be Syracuse.. this ain't the FlynnBA. Move the ball, leave at least ten seconds of shot clock for your teammates to work with.
Luis Scola: Don't be afraid to start taking over. When in doubt, wear your Argentina national team jersey as an undershirt and go nuts when necessary.
(and last but not least...)
Jordan Hill: You get the day off. Happy New Year's.
In a normal season that would never feature a back-to-back-to-back, Kyle Lowry might be averaging a triple-double. He's putting up numbers that are eerily close to that mark despite playing under thirty minutes in consecutive games. Same deal goes for Kevin Martin's scoring totals. He put up 25 points in 23 minutes against San Antonio and 21 points in 25 minutes against Memphis.