Rockets will most likely start (or play the entire) season without their three marquee players, McGrady, Yao, and now Artest. The team is composed of a bunch of good role players, Shane Battier, Luis Scola, Carl Landry, Aaron Brooks, and now Trevor Ariza. They will have to give up one or more of these players to gain anyone with considerable talent – something that they can not afford. So, the prospect for the Rockets looks rather grim for the next season.
Well, as our former Secretary of Defense, Mr. Rumsfeld, famously remarked, you go to war with the army that you have, not the army that you wish that you had.
Rockets have decided that they are going to address the PG assignment by committee – Brooks/Lowry. It worked reasonably well in the post-season even in the absence of Yao/McGrady, and with Ron Artest disappearing on the offensive end. Brooks has shown that he can beat his man and penetrate. Without marquee players, the Rockets would have to replicate that approach at every position. The flowing offense that Adelman keeps preaching about all these years would perfectly fit a team like that is 10 man deep – even if none of them are elite players.
If they can create a truly contributing 10-man roster, this team could be very interesting, and entertaining to watch. Sometime ago, there was this excellent article in NewYorker (read it, if you have not read it already) which describes how underdogs can break the rules, and create havoc.
I know well that it is nice to have a team with superstars. But, I do think, that offensive philosophy of teams with superstars also becomes predictable, and that can be a liability. That is why, often you find, role players such as Robert Horry, Fisher, Kerr make key shots in the playoffs. A team without superstars can play well, if they buy into the coaching philosophy, and play the right way.
Without Yao, McGrady, Ron Artest, the rest of the Rockets can play an up-tempo game, and they can play freely. No one is expecting them to win any way right? If I were a coach, it is an interesting challenge that I can look forward to. If last year is any indication, Coach Adelman appears to be perfectly suited for the job!
I think the Rockets may usher in the era of ‘all positions by committee’ approach in 2009-2010, and in a few years, this will be followed by most NBA teams. Well, that is until, Rockets can snag a superstar like James in 2011 :-)!