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2012 Houston Rockets Offseason Agenda and Targets

It's OK, Kyle, I'm here to hold you as you weep. I didn't want to leave, count your blessings.
It's OK, Kyle, I'm here to hold you as you weep. I didn't want to leave, count your blessings.

We’re living in a scary, scary world when Kyle Lowry helps to set the agenda for the Houston Rockets. He didn’t really alter anything the Rockets didn’t already need to decide but he certainly managed to establish the first thing to be addressed this summer. We all know the Rockets had to find a solution with their point guard position, either Dragic or a trade for Lowry. Obviously, the easier of the two to address is to keep the guy you already have on contract. That, unfortunately, is now easier said than done. I figured we could use something to break up what will surely be more great content about the point guard drama in Houston.

The Rockets entered the post season in familiar territory with a familiar shopping list. We’re picking 14th… Again. We’re in need of a franchise player, a resolution of the point guard situation, a young big man, and no pressing need to upgrade the small forward position (But certainly to obtain one if it becomes available). The new item on our agenda this offseason is also shooting guard.

So, folks, bear with me after the jump and let’s look at each position (Primary players) and let’s ask ourselves, earnestly, is this team messing with us? After we look at our offseason priorities (Broken down by position, evaluated, and projected (Using as a guide) with "ideal/attainable" players for the Rockets). Remember after every section I am only evaluating at the position (Not a total draft strategy).

Point Guards

Alright folks, this issue has been covered, in depth, by Patrick and Tom. We know Lowry is unhappy, we know he blames Kevin McHale, and we know it’s not about Goran Dragic but it’s about Goran Dragic. So let’s take a look at each player bringing the ball up the court for the Houston Rockets!



Contract Status


Kyle Lowry

(Starter) 15.9 PPG/7.2 APG/ 5.3 RPG (Season)14.3 PPG/6.6 APG/4.5 RPG, bacterial infection derailed the year, slumped coming back, started out strong, entering 6th season, was a bit too in love with his three point shot for most of the year, 26 years old

2 years $12 million remain


Goran Dragic

(Starter) 18 PPG/8.4 APG/3.5 RPG (Season) 11.7 PPG/5.3 APG/2.5 RPG, kept this team alive after Lowry went down, excelled in full court basketball, struggled in the half court (Improved over the year), 3 inches taller than Lowry, about a month younger

Unrestricted Free Agent


Earl Boykins

4.9 PPG/2.1 APG/1.4 RPG, signed on a ten day contract initially then remained with the team for the year, entering his 13th year in the league, surprisingly versatile scorer for a guy who stands 7 inches shorter than I do.

Unrestricted Free Agent


So when we look at our point guard situation if Lowry wants to leave and Dragic gets priced out of Houston (Houston would have to waive his rights to allow him to enter unrestricted free agency, if not, they retain the right to match any offer he receives within a specific time period) the Rockets are left with no one at the position. When we survey the league we see a list of point guards available via draft or free agency. Below is my own personal ranking of players worth pursuing and why.



Deron Williams

Clearly he’s the marquee agent here, we’d be insane to not even give it a shot, even if he has inklings elsewhere. Valid franchise player.

Goran Dragic

Stick to what you know, eh? Steve Nash is an unrestricted free agent and he’s proving to defy age but Dragic gets the nod on age here.

Kendall Marshall

I’m a fan of pass first point guards. He’s slotted to go at 11 according to but he’d be available with Portland’s pick. Worth the pursuit and this team needs a facilitator floor general to keep things moving.

Andre Miller

If you’re looking for a veteran floor general Miller is a journeyman who has produced at his last few stops. Worth a look at the very least, especially if he could come cheap.

Alexey Shved

He’ll be available in the second round (Where Morey tends to find contributors), he’s 6’7", he does everything you want in a point guard. At the very least he’d be a good back up for whoever fills the starting role.

Aaron Brooks’s becomes an unrestricted free agent this offseason as well and he’s certainly in obscurity playing in China. Having said that, I’d be happy to see him back (I know I’m probably a minority on that one). Anyone could say best case scenario would be sign Williams, trade up for Marshall but if I’m asked what would be a good possible return, I would say trade with Portland to draft Kendall Marshall and buy a second to obtain Alexey Shved. Realistically I could see retaining Goran Dragic and buying a second rounder for Shved.

Shooting Guard

I have to admit, I’m hesitant to address this position for the simple fact that there seems to be a LOT of sensitivity attached to it. Kevin Martin began the year as the starting shooting guard but a wildly inconsistent year and a labral (That is LAY-BRUL) tear took him out for the rest of the season. Courtney Lee stepped in admirably.



Contract Status


Kevin Martin

17.1 PPG/2.8 APG/2.6 RPG, Kevin managed to top the points per game column for the Rockets again, mope about lack of play time due to lack of defense, start the year lethargic due to trade mope and a backing away from touch fouls, and in general played his usual game.

1 year at $12.4 million left


Courtney Lee

(Starter) 14 PPG/1.7 APG/3.3 RPG (Bench) 9.2 PPG/1.3 APG/2.3 RPG, Courtney came 3.1 points per game shy of matching Kevin Martin’s point total, played better defense, and was about an assist off from matching production, he played within the flow of the offense and cashed in when his shot was falling.

Has a $3.2 million cap hold that must be picked up to make him a restricted free agent


The free agent/draft pool of shooting guards offers some hope for the future. Below let’s look at my five players worth monitoring. Remember, I’m being realistic. Obviously Beal and Lamb are sexy but if they’re in the top 10 I’m reticent to say the Rockets can obtain them (Very few exceptions will be made).



Eric Gordon

Injury concerns or not, he’s a bona fide stud in the league. We can conjure all the reasons in the world to not like him but he landed Chris Paul as a centerpiece, we don’t have a single player like that.

Courtney Lee

I think he’s a capable starting shooting guard in the league. I need to qualify that with "He’s a great starting SG if you have a franchise player." We don’t so you can count him amongst the players that help make us mediocre, but he’s young and his prime isn’t here yet.

Terrence Ross

Has great physical tools and making an impression on scouts in workouts and scrimmages. I think he has major upside and wouldn’t mind seeing him in Rockets red.

Landry Fields

He’s been the source of some debate on this board. I like him. 6’7", smart, plays defense, and I think he could fit a Shane Battier role at the SG (Yes, the 2 crop is that thin).

O.J. Mayo

Memphis tried to move him last season but he has done a good job at making a case to stay, I like his upside and I think he got obscured playing second banana to Rudy Gay, then getting shoved down to 7th banana with the emergence of the rest of the Grizzlies starters.

My ideal world would turbo charge an offer to Eric Gordon and draft Terrence Ross. What would I do as a prudent GM? I’d trade Kevin Martin for whatever I can get, resign Courtney Lee, look at offering Landry Fields or O.J. Mayo a contract, then just draft Terrence Ross.

Small Forward

The Small Forward position in Houston has been a happy surprise this season. I’m thrilled to see what resident bro Chandler Parsons pulled off this season but I’m hesitant in case it can’t be replicated. I’ve been convinced he’s got the type of game that won’t drop off too far and I’ve seen estimates of his ceiling between Battier and Kirilenko (Minus the face you could cut a roast on). I feel nominally comfortable with this position, actually.



Contract Status


Chandler Parsons

(Starter) 9.9 PPG/2.3 APG/4.8 RPG (Bench) 5.8 PPG/.3 APG/4.0 RPG, earned the starting spot from Chase Budinger by doing that defense thing, rebounds well for a SF and displays a high motor and knack for chasing the ball down, I’m hopeful

Rookie deal (4 years $3.7 million)

A +

Chase Budinger

(Starter) 11.8 PPG/.8 APG/2.7 RPG (Bench) 9.2 PPG/1.4 APG/3.9 RPG, Chase is super athletic, a streaky shooter, and a reluctant defender, better suited as a bench player at best, not a guy worth ditching, not a guy worth keeping

1 year $942K, remain


No credit goes to Marcus Morris for being slated at the SF position. He was dead to me the moment we drafted him. Let’s see who is available!



Nicolas Batum

The best of the SF crop, he’s a two-way player (Debated) who has consistency issues. If you could reign that in, no doubt you’d have a very good SF for years.

Perry Jones III

He is my exception in the top 10. The Rockets front office has been reported to be smitten with him. He’s freaky athletic and stands 6’11" as a SF/PF, needs to put some meat on his bones but I like what I see.

Wilson Chandler

Bench or starting glue guy who can defend. He’d basically be a free agent Chandler Parsons, only older and with Knicks-stink on him.

Terrence Jones

Let’s just go all in on Terrences. He’s slated to go late because he’s stuck with that dreaded "tweener" label, at 6’8", left handed scoring SF, I’d say he’s worth a look if we trade back.

Gerald Wallace

He’s only here because I’m not 100% sure whether or not he declined his option to head out of NJ.

I’m fine with our SF spot. I think we need a guy with more upside than Parsons if we want SF to be featured but you also need a guy like Parsons to win it all someday. I think we’re better suited looking towards the 4 or 5 for a franchise guy.

Power Forward

Put on your plaids, snag your axe, and get out your lingerie, we’re headed for a logjam. The Rockets are bringing over Donatas Motiejunas to play the four, we draft nothing but PF sized players lately (David Kahn school, represent!), and we have Scola and Patterson there already.



Contract Status


Luis Scola

15.5 PPG/2.1 APG/6.5 RPG, Scola saw a drop in his points and rebounds this season, came off of knee surgery, and he’s over 30, managed to frustrate a lot of fans by pump faking himself into bad shots

Scola has 2 years at $21 million left


Patrick Patterson

7.7 PPG/.8 APG/4.5 RPG, Patterson started off slow recovering from bone spur surgery and hurt his back on a nasty fall, does this mitigate his abysmal season? To an extent. He needs to recover rookie form but the sophomore slump is real, there is a minutes crunch coming at the 4 and I don’t think he warrants major minutes

2 years, $6 million left


This draft has plenty of bigs ready to trot out and see what they can do. Free agency has some a big name, a familiar name, and a redeemed name kicking around.



Jared Sullinger

I’m sold, he’s got an NBA ready body and needs some polish, I’ll take it. With a coach like Kevin McHale I see Sullinger as a candidate for next big man of this team. It only gets better when you consider Kevin Love had tutelage under McHale. I think Sullinger could be franchise with work.

Michael Beasley

I think Beasley is a SF but he’s listed as a PF. I could have stretched the SF section by adding him and not having to resort to Chandler and Wallace but SHUT UP.

Kevin Garnett

Do I think he’s a thug? Yes. Do I think he’s old? Definitely. Do I think he can still at least provide a couple years? Definitely. He’s only here because I need some filler really. I don’t want him in Houston because I want to go younger.

Carl Landry

His stats have been consistent since Houston shipped him out but I’m not sure how enthusiastic he would be to return to Houston.

Ryan Anderson

He’s the bottom of my list for the simple fact that I’m not exactly sold on him. He’s decent but never did much to impress me. The PF spot is solid with Scola manning the spot and Motiejunas coming over to bolster Patterson off the bench, no need to keep whiting up the position.

As far as I’m concerned, draft Sullinger, trade Scola, tell Patterson he is now third on the depth chart at PF, and move on.


Welcome to the Houston ward of the aging and the geriatric (By NBA Standards). The Houston Rockets acquired Camby halfway through the year and he wound up starting after his body fell apart a little more tolerably than Samuel Dalembert’s body did.



Contract Status


Samuel Dalembert

7.5 PPG/7 RPG/1.7 BPG. Dalembert actually fixed our shotblocking by himself, made some boneheaded offensive plays but never really detracted from the game, on a cheap contract (We can cut him for a minimal cap hit this coming season), had back problems creep up after a great start to the season.

1 year team option at $6.7 million ($1.5 buyout)


Marcus Camby

7.1 PPG/10.3 RPG/1.5 BPG. Camby essentially exceeded Dalembert’s production and proved that sometimes, age is just a number. Camby is entering his 16th season and could be a great Mutombo successor. Injuries reared their ugly head towards the end of the season but he soldiered through.

Unrestricted free agent


The free agent center crop doesn’t look too bad this season. If you are looking for a guy to build your team around you actually have an option or two if you’re willing to pay (Only because it’s easier for centers to be featured and made better than they are if you have the right body and a decent game). You’ll see what I mean soon…



Roy Hibbert

He showed what can happen if the team operates through him in his Miami series. He’s a restricted free agent so you’d have to load a major contract to get Indiana to walk. I think he’s worth it, especially under McHale. I consider him a viable franchise center.

Brook Lopez

You have to bite an injury pill here and with Dwight Howard opting in and Deron Williams opting out, the Nets may have an increased urgency to retain Lopez. A major offer, again would have to be made to pry away this restricted free agent but I think he’s a viable franchise center as well.

Fab Melo

There’s been debate around the Syracuse center. I like him. He didn’t have sexy stats per se in Syracuse but the zone will do that to you. I think he’s NBA ready defensively now and you can teach him an offensive game (Especially with a guy like McHale coaching). I could see him as an untouchable center down the line (Let’s face it, if Joakim Noah gets love for energy and D, Fab Melo could get it on D and nominal offensive skill alone).

Tyler Zeller

I have him here mostly because I’ve seen people enjoy him so much. His picture on makes him look like a troll, so there’s that.

JaVale McGee

I’m a fan of what he does but I’m not a fan of where he plays. He’s a beanpole and has great athleticism but if we’re running with NBA Centers you need to be smarter than McGee to counter bulk with athleticism. I think he’d be a center who locks up the spot for years though.

So, I’m Daryl Morey, free agency has started and I’m offering Brook Lopez a contract under his CBA maximum. Force New Jersey to either pony up for Lopez and cause a forfeit of Williams (Or sink the franchise with big bucks on both players long term). I then offer Roy Hibbert a fat deal, Indiana knows how integral he can be to that franchise, and they tie themselves up. Draft Fab Melo, re-sign Marcus Camby, and if you need insurance, don’t walk away from Dalembert’s contract.

There you have it TDS. I hope you enjoyed this brief look at the roster, a quick evaluation, raw numbers, and what’s out there for us. Have fun, the NBA Draft lottery is in 3 days.