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St. Valentines Day Massacre as Jazz beat Rockets 135-101

Mostly the way it looked.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz
But Why?
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Four days off and the addition of a player that another team put into a trade with Daniel Theis and his contract has not made the Rockets a top four team in the Western Conference. Surprise!

The team isn’t better. Particularly when the main player added at the trade deadline creates more minutes problems than he solves. The Rockets are already not playing, not dressing, a max contract point guard to further player development. So, one has to ask, in light of John Wall just doing whatever it is he’s doing, and getting paid handsomely for it, why play Dennis Schroder?

Is there a real sense he’s part of the next good Rockets team? He’s 28.

From what I can see, he’s basically the same player he was when he entered the NBA. A very fast and often effective drive to his right hand, streaky-hot, but mostly league average 3pt shooting, a mediocre at best assist game, and generally, but not always, bad defense.

What exactly, are the young Rockets meant to learn from him? More than they’d learn from DJ Augustin, whose spot he’s taking, I suppose? But what is that exactly?

It’s nice that the Celtics disliked having Schroder on their team so much they were willing to take Daniel Theis’ contract, but other than getting off that deal, what is the benefit to the Rockets in playing him? That the Rockets might somehow work some value off some sort of sign and trade on his expiring deal? What sort of marginal benefit is that, exactly?

I don’t think that player development will be poisoned in the long term by 27 games of The Schrodent, but it can’t be enhanced by it, either. He’s not Chris Paul, full of wisdom, technique and deep knowledge of the NBA’s Dark Arts. He’s an ok offense-first bench scoring point, with an historically bad temper and poor impulse control. A less interesting version of Lou Williams. He shouldn’t be taking minutes from Christopher.

So now I’ve made a playing time argument, because I just don’t see the point of Schroder getting more than Augustin’s minutes, maybe fewer, as he’s not known as any sort of organizer of an offense.

That said, this game wasn’t his fault. The Rockets came out like wet, crumbling, drywall, and the Jazz came out like a set of angry power saws. There were moments where the Rockets strung together good minutes. They actually won the third quarter.

Jalen Green’s defensive awareness, and positioning, are much, much, improved, as is his overall approach. There was never any sense, however, that the Rockets might do more than make this a below ten point loss.

That doesn’t make this performance any less irritating. In the words of Eric Gordon post-game “We didn’t play a good game. We were just out there.” Truth.

The Rockets came off a break, and apparently decided to stay on it, with All Star Weekend coming up. The result against a very good, suddenly healthy, Jazz team was predictable.

The week isn’t going to get better, as the next two stops are the Phoenix Suns and then the LA Clippers, before the All Star game, and its interesting new Rising Stars format (featuring some Rockets), and of course, the dunk contest.

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