You can easily divide Daryl Morey's tenure as Rockets GM into three phases.
Phase 1 was the roster he inherited and trying to put supplemental pieces around Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. This phase failed due to injuries to the stars.
Phase 2 was to build a team around efficiency and the draft and to use those assets to eventually trade for a star again.
Phase 3 starts tonight.
Are the Rockets winning a championship with this squad? Of course not. As Tom pointed out, they would have to get incredibly lucky to make the playoffs. This is a team still destined for the lottery in its current makeup. Don't tell the Lin supporters I said that. (P.S. to the Lin supporters: Don't worry guys. We're totally winning the title this year.)
Truly, Morey is still at least one superstar (and time-always time) away from putting this team into the playoffs and into a fringe contender. Then they need the current youth to pan out into at least one fringe all-star and someone who can come off the bench. Basically, we need to build the Oklahoma City Thunder in a totally different way. We're getting away from the topic at hand, so I'll move on.
The Rockets start on the road at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit, Michigan. The Pistons are another team in the East trying to sneak into the playoffs. In the East, there's Miami, Boston, Chicago, Indiana, Philly, New York, Brooklyn, and Atlanta. That's the 8 most have in the playoffs, but it's the East, so who knows?
Tip off is at 6:30pm CST.
Point Guard: Jeremy Lin vs. Brandon Knight
Only three players have won the Gatorade National Basketball Player of the Year award as a junior in high school: LeBron James, Greg Oden, and Knight.
Yeah, but Jeremy Lin was on the cover of Time Magazine.
I've said before that I'm not sold on Lin. I think the run he had last year was a fluke and I doubt he can play like that for the rest of his career. I hope I'm wrong.
Tonight is his first night on the grind. No more coming in with little to no expectations. We need him to be good to win, and he's going to have to step up.
Shooting Guard: James Harden vs. Rodney Stuckey
So, calling them the Rush Hour backcourt is racist, right? I mean, I love (LOVE!!!) Rush Hour with a passion, but that's crossing a line, right?
Lee: You must take me to see Consul Han right away.
Carter: Man, just sit there and shut up! This ain't no democracy.
Lee: Yes, it is.
Carter: No, it ain't. This is the United States of James Carter. I'm the president, I'm the emperor, I'm the king. I'm Michael Jackson, you Tito. Your ass belongs to me.
Tonight, we get our first look at James Harden as a starter and in a Rockets uniform. I'm pumped.
Small Forward: Chandler Parsons vs. Tayshaun Prince
Tayshaun Prince is Parsons' ceiling. Prince started as a defensive stalwart and developed into an above-average offensive player as well.
We don't need Parsons to do much on offense. Stand in the corner and hit threes might be the extent of his game for now, but I've liked what I've seen so far, and more slashing can only help.
Power Forward: Patrick Patterson vs. Jason Maxiell
Patterson and Maxiell are essentially the same player so far in their careers. Granted, Patterson's is two years old and he's never started.
This will be an interesting matchup. Patterson is now the elder statesman of the Rockets. He's been here for two years, which is longer than anyone else. Let that sink in.
In many ways, this is Patrick Patterson's team. His role on the team is vital in that he's going to have to take a step forward for the Rockets to be a good team.
Center: Omer Asik vs. Greg Monroe
Monroe averaged 15/10 last season, and is looking to do even better. Whereas Patterson had a sophomore slump, Monroe had no such dropoff.
Omer Asik has been called the most irreplaceable piece on the Rockets, and that's totally true. If he goes down, uh oh for the good guys.
Bench-note that rotations haven't been set so this is a guessing game
Rockets: Toney Douglas, Carlos Delfino, Terrence Jones, Greg Smith
Pistons: Jonas Jerebko, Andre Drummond, Will Bynum, Charlie Villanueva
Prediction: Pistons pull it out 101-95
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