Greetings fellow TDS-ers, I'm BD34 (Brandon), you may know me from such famous posts as "Go f*ck yourself with a cactus." or "The NBA Trade Deadline Evaluation". I'm here today to speak to all of you fine folk about the issues facing the Houston Rockets in the offseason before, what seems to be, the lockout. In this informational fanpost you will learn several new things suck as:
- The Rockets are legitimately competent.
- Changing coaches doesn't mean the end of the world.
- We have a moderately talented roster
- And much much more...
Follow me after the jump (Yea, that's right, I used it, wanna fight about it?) for more information!
As I look to the left bar of TDS I see the fan confidence poll and I see it plummeting. I guess the old adage that no news is good news is not true for the members of Rockets nation. This legitimately saddens me so I decided to write a fan post to put into words and cohesive structure all of the reasons Rockets fans need to learn to relax and take a deep breath concerning the uncertainties currently facing the ball club.
I.) Our Organization is Changing.
When an organization reaches the age of 14 or so it begins to notice changes taking place in its body. Sometimes this results in growing pains and awkward social interaction with the other gender. In others it catapults them to the captain of the football team where the opposing coach asks for his birth certificate because there's no way that moustached behemoth is 14. The Rockets are currently in that awkward stage. We've tried a wonderful role model during this time. Rick Adelman has been a fantastic mentor but there's only so much he can do. He knew us BEFORE we entered this awkward stage. He knew what we were and what we could have been. Unfortunately we grew four inches overnight (In height, perverts) and lost all of our old toys that we loved so much. Instead we're reading car magazines and posting on blogs on the internet hoping girls find us attractive. Parting with that role model isn't the end of anything. It's recognition that we're in very different places now. Rick is a testament to what we were, what could have been. Reality has set in, changes have happened, there is no fault on this one. Whose to blame for the fact that the seasons change? No one at all. This things just happen.
It's often insinuated that this roster will regress without Rick at the helm. There is one fundamental question that needs to be asked of that. If it regresses, what ill comes of it? We didn't make the playoffs for the last two years. Will we be less playoff-y? Hardly. We're the epitome of "not being in the playoff-ness" right now. How, do you come to such bold conclusions Brandon? You may ask. Well, I reply, through use of my knowledge of literacy! We can all read the playoff teams and do not see Houston in there. What are the trade offs? We draft at the end of the lottery line where we are now, and if we maintain the status quo we likely continue that trend. Fringe lottery players and reaches will only get you so far. What other options do we have?
Sure, some tweaks to the roster might toss a life preserver out there but you have two options to get a quick fix player to put yourself over the top. To continue with the puberty analogy your parents could buy you a super sweet sports car but that would require that the car be really sexy and your parents be loaded. Currently we're not all that sexy in this stage. Mom and dad have money but they don't have the real estate. Free Agency doesn't seem to have the proper answer because while mom and dad have the money to maybe ignore the real estate, they don't have enough to put you in ownership of a new 370Z.
Instead of mom and dad buying you a new car you could call up Tommy up the street and see if he'll trade you some of his nice new clothes and car for some of your things. The only problem is the things you've collected are kind of tarnished and hand me downs. Sure, with some polish and work you likely could have something damn near priceless on your hands but we're 14-16, that knowledge isn't available. Tommy isn't going to give up his nice shiny things that everyone loves just because you come asking and think you have a fair deal. He's not obligated to give you anything either because Tommy lives in America, what's his is his. Now, we might him and haw all day but if we don't have something nice to give, we won't get anything nice. That is our fundamental problem with spinning our tires and staying the course. We collect fringe lottery players and late draft picks worth arguable value and we haven't really put any work or polish in to what we have, we just assume people will value it the way we do, and that's not the case, we need to put a little elbow grease in if we want anything out. Our previous role model wasn't all that willing to put elbow grease into things unless they cleaned themselves in front of him. Due to recent legislation, that became very illegal.
What does this mean for our intrepid group? It means we will have to scrimp and save and invest in ourselves in order to upgrade our situation. We need a new mentor or at least a best friend who can grow with us and inspire us to do something right and make something of ourselves. There is no bailout coming through that door because we can't afford a new car. We have no give aways coming through the pipe because Tommy is a selfish dick, and our previous situation was a world where we lied to ourselves and said we were better than we were. Confidence is admirable, delusion is sad. It's why uncle Harry isn't with us anymore and he lives in the jacket home.
II. Our Organization is Allegedly (In)Competent?
The mantra of this board used to be that Daryl Morey was a trustworthy fellow. Unfortunately, as soon as Rick Adelman and the Rockets split (It was a split, not a firing, not a falling out, your dad divorces your mother for not putting out, he doesn't fire her) our organization apparently became inept. We hired David Kahn as our GM and called up all the coaches and staff from the Nets almost historically bad season. We also called in to get all of the 13th and 14th men from the Wolves, Wizards, Nets, and Kings as well, apparently. Or none of that happened and we still have Leslie Alexander and Daryl Morey in charge of the team. There are a few schools of thought on what caused the split so let's clear the air on this:
- Morey wants a yes-man. - Blatantly untrue. Morey has stated that is the last thing he wants.
- The Organization doesn't know what it wants to do. - Untrue again because this is a process of change, they would not have parted with Rick Adelman for laughs. They have a plan for sustainable basketball they're seeking that they were not getting previously. There is a shift in paradigm going on.
- Firing Rick will haunt us since he was the best Rockets coach we've had. - Statistically, Rick is the best. Also, talent-wise on the roster he came in with the most talent at his disposal and he took the helm of a 50 win team. Most coaches don't get that luxury. If he WEREN'T the winningest coach in Rockets history he'd be a joke. If we're looking at statistics, Thibodeau is a better head coach than Rick due to winning percentage.
- The organization is issuing conflicting messages about how to go. - Untrue. The organization issued safe statements "We will improve via free agency, trade, and draft." This is generally how teams improve. They do not grow basketball players through genetic experiments (Yao's height notwithstanding). They will seek to develop (polish and shine) their players, integrate free agents, and if available, make a trade for a worthwhile player. This is not an odd way of building a team in the NBA.
When it comes to this organization I want to emphasize to my fellow TDS-ers that this same group, that has placed faith in Daryl Morey countless times before is now shaken because of the departure of a coach who, for all his good qualities, had no excuse to fall short statistically (posting the best winning percentage, having the most talent available to him of any Rockets coach upon arrival, and who had quality players drafted and delivered) and would not develop younger players until his options ran out. Yes, he did play younger players but the directive from the front office was explicitly that the younger players needed more time on the court than what Rick deemed "earned". One must ask themselves, if the Rockets seek to improve through trade, and the value of their trade chips is diminished by the coach refusing to develop the value of those chips, do you continue that system and seek trades? It's a logical chain of events that lead to the split.
III.) There's Still a Ways to Go.
The draft is two months away. Any new coach before the Rockets will most likely want input on the draft situation. That said, there's no rush to get a coach as soon as possible as 60 days can be quite a bit of time. This time becomes all the more crucial when you consider a lot of weight, evaluation, and patience needs to go in to this decision. Top Gear isn't allowed to send certain Ferraris around their track unless Ferrari sends the driver, even in the most capable hands extra caution is warranted. When we get to the draft, I don't expect us to take a big man. We're not a need over talent player. That's how you wind up in the Greg Oden/Kevin Durant debate. Unforeseeable problems enter the fray and you just look bad at the end of the day.
I like to stick to www.nbadraft.net when it comes to mock drafts as I usually see them hit the mark. If that's the case it looks like we're drafting guards. I called this a month or so ago when I said we'll most likely seek a 2 guard and a 2/3 wing flex player. To explain this, it's important for me to vomit my information rich word vomit directly into your mouths, open up my baby birds:
- Kevin Martin and Luis Scola are not likely to be in Rockets uniforms for longer than 2 more years. Kevin is a solid player but his play relies too much on being a one dimensional scorer who needs touch fouls to thrive. In the playoffs refs swallow their whistles unless you legitimately earn them, this is what keeps Kevin up at night. Luis is a very good power forward but the writing is on the wall between Patrick Patterson and Jordan Hill.
- Kyle Lowry may not even be here in the next three to four years. This is a rebuilding project and Kyle is only in his fifth year. If we draft Kemba Walker as the folks at www.nbadraft.net projected a while back, that's going to put more pressure on Kyle. Kemba might be undersized but he's tenacious and has all the perks that Lowry brings. A year or two behind Lowry and Dragic with time to learn a shot and he's ferocious. If we wind up drafting a point guard in general, expect it to put the heat underneath Lowry.
- As much as it pains some here to think, Terrence Williams and Hasheem Thabeet may have futures here in Houston. Before the chorus of naysayers gets a chance to get off the ground there are some stark facts to pay attention to. Williams is ultra-athletic and a gifted player whose attitude got him into trouble. His play time issues were clearly not the product of a talent deficiency. Thabeet's issues are those of correcting some fundamental flaws, these are being ironed out and from all interviews he is making progress. Franchise centers in the NBA can be considered average to mediocre centers if we look back to the 90's. My friends here believe that franchise has to be Hakeem when you could arguably build a team around a middling center and still be great if he can block a shot.
- Our financial flexibility is not in jeopardy. If you want the actual figures click here. If we re-up everyone who is due we will be at 48 million. the CBA is too unstable to speculate as to what options that gives us. For all intensive purposes it's most likely (as the rumblings suggest) if there's a hard cap the salary cap will raise and set (Currently the cap is 58 million, the luxury tax is roughly 70 million dollars) at around 64 million dollars, roughly splitting the gap between current soft cap and luxury cap numbers. If they reduce guaranteed salary and the duration of contracts that number can be screwed with, and if they retain current salary structures look for the cap and the luxury numbers to come down. What does this mean? In a best case scenario next season we have 16 million dollars to play with. Worst case scenario we have less than 10 million. We only have 4 players under contract the year after next, so what is lost in all that duration? One year. One year that we were going to rebuild anyway.
- We'll have to eat some losses. This is tough for fans of the Rockets to accept but it's the way of things. Not every team can win all the time. We're putting ourselves in better position by fostering talent development within our roster, there is no shame in that. If the talent is an illusion we cut ties. The front office has collected manageable and short term contracts to do just such a process. Any player acquired who is a "project" fits the bill perfectly for the Rockets as we are undergoing a project. They coincide, as will growing pains, acne, and wet dreams throughout this puberty process the Rockets have uncovered.
Well, there we have it, three topics covered all to attempt to reassure the Rockets fans and hopefully get that fan confidence poll back up. The drawback on all this is I'm 98% sure this is just going to be ignored because it's long, but people wanted me to contribute something again and I figured why not?
Edited: I was off on the Walker citation, they had changed their mock, the bastards.