What if I told you Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon never joined the Houston Rockets?
What if instead of the two sharpshooters, the Rockets instead picked up Al Horford and Kent Bazemore liked they originally planned. Would it all have turned out the same?
The answer is no, not even close.
One of the things that have made the Rockets what they are this season is James Harden having three shooters on the floor with him, along with a pick-and-roll big man. This combination has made the Rockets one of the hardest teams to stop on a night in and night out basis.
Now take Anderson and Gordon out of the equation and insert Horford and Bazemore. The results would be like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. It just wouldn’t work, and forcing it could end up producing a season like last year.
If we have learned one thing about the Rockets this season, it’s players need roles, and if you get guys that fit and buy in, then anything is possible. Right, Kevin Garnett?
Not to say that Horford and Bazemore wouldn’t buy into what Mike D'Antoni is preaching, it’s more they just wouldn’t fit.
Horford’s game is not throwing down dunks off of lobs; he’s more of a traditional big man who can also space the floor. He could be a four in MDA’s system but he’s really a center, and, in Houston, he’d really be wasting his talent just bombing threes from 30 feet out.
Bazemore is a little bit different. He could bring some much-needed defense to the team, but he’s not half the scorer that Gordon is. Furthermore, had they signed Bazemore, he likely would have been starting, and that would hurt the Rockets.
The Patrick Beverley, Trevor Ariza and Harden three-man group has been together for a few seasons now, and they have some really great chemistry.
Gordon has been inserted into that group a few times this season, as well as others over the past few years, and more often than not, it ends in total failure. It’s hard not to believe that Bazemore wouldn’t have the same fate in this role as so many others before him.
Even if Bazemore agreed that he'd come off the bench for the team, he would not be a Sixth Man of the Year like Gordon has turned out to be.
At the time, people really wanted both Horford and Bazemore and panned the Anderson and Gordon signing. But in the end, it was a blessing in disguise that both players thumbed their noses at what the Rockets were building.
Anderson and Gordon have bought into everything that's been asked of them and have gone from obscurity in New Orleans with the Pelicans to potential contenders with the Rockets.