Today the Houston Rockets made their final cuts, trimming Ish Smith, Jeff Adrien, Robert Covington (who we already knew was gone) and Earl Clark (who was just signed) from the roster.
The most surprising of these cuts was Adrien, who had clearly outperformed Joey Dorsey this preseason. However, Dorsey was given a two-year, guaranteed deal this summer, which forced Daryl Morey's hand in this situation. Going into the preseason, Adrien seemed like a lock to make the squad, but that was before Tarik Black showed the kind of grit that gives Kevin McHale the excitement most people his age use Viagra for.
The decision to go with Isaiah Canaan over Smith as the backup to Patrick Beverley was the correct one, in my opinion. Smith's quick and a solid passer, but his inability to put the ball in the hole or shoot the long ball is a big detriment, especially in a league where guys like Aaron Brooks are third-stringers. We've yet to see the best of Canaan, who is entering his second season, but he showed some real promise this preseason, displaying confidence, toughness and a solid jumper.
That being said, if Beverley goes down early in the year, which is always a possibility with the way he plays, that'll leave rookie Nick Johnson with the backup role, with Harden likely forced to log some minutes at the 1 as well. McHale showed that he wants to experiment with Harden at PG in this preseason, especially alongside Jason Terry, who is undersized at the 2.
It's a distinct possibility that the Rockets try to get Earl Clark in Rio Grande Valley. Clark has stretch-4 capabilities, which always appeals to the Rockets, and could be a solid piece off the bench if Donatas Motiejunas or Terrence Jones miss some time.
With the roster situation all figured out, preseason is officially over. Thank God.