By Kendrick Co
First and foremost, let me start by saying that although the jury is still out on whether Rockets new GM Darryl Morey knows what he’s doing, I want to be one of the first to give him credit for being able to at least do something with the roster within a short amount of time. However, how good are the moves that he’s made for the team so far?
Replacing JVG with Adelman in my opinion is a good move, if only because it shows guts in changing the team’s philosophy. As Rockets fans know, the “if-it-ain’t-broke” thing does not really fit the Rockets after 4 years under JVG. I love Van Gundy as a coach but I think the time was right to take a step in another direction and getting Adelman to man the ship was a good start.
As for the draft, I would like to focus on Aaron Brooks given the increased expectations of people of him being able to contribute this season. At first, I had doubts about the Rockets getting another PG who’s offensive-minded, especially since the team already traded for Mike James at that point. Now, I’m not entirely sold based on his performance in summer league, seeing that Lucas Jr. also tore it up there at about the same time last year. But, what gives me hope is the maturity and poise that I saw in him during the games. I think it will serve him well during the season even if he doesn’t get off the bench much, because at least you know he’ll soak the experience up and come back better the following season.
More than anything Morey has done so far, the trades are the most significant. Personally, I don’t like Mike James for the Rockets. I think his confidence in himself overshadows the team concept that he as a PG should support. Unless Adelman can make him accept and thrive in an off-the-bench Bobby Jackson-type role, I don’t know how this trade makes the team better. I didn’t like Mike James for the Rockets back in 2005, and I have a bad feeling I won’t enjoy it again this time around.
Now, trading away V-Span for Luis Scola and Jackie Butler was something I was cheering like crazy for when I first heard about it! This is the kind of trade the GM of the Year award can be won on! Ok, before I get carried away, let’s analyze it objectively. Luis Scola is considered to be more talented than Oberto by most scouts, and the Spurs giving him away essentially for the right to send V-Span home leaves me a bit uneasy. After all, this is the Spurs we’re talking about not the Knicks! But based on the upside, the Rockets get a starting 4 who can play the role that Oberto plays for the Spurs. The downside? The Rockets still have 2 big bodies who are taller than Chuck Hayes so how bad can it be? Add having a back-up big man in Jackie Butler to support Deke and I can’t help but give this trade 2 thumbs up.
Steve Francis. Steve Francis. Steve Francis.
I was never a huge fan of his game. And I was actually hoping the Rockets don’t get him only because we already have Mike James. I mean why don’t we go ahead and get Stephon Marbury too. And Earl Boykins. Can’t a team have enough shot-happy guards?! But I digress. From a short-term standpoint, $6M at 2 years is not that bad, kinda like signing Bonzi Wells last year. Oops, that didn’t turn out good did it?
Well, if the words from Stevie Franchise’s mouth are to be taken seriously, he apparently has changed a lot since his last game for the Knicks which from how I remembered it wasn’t that different from the way he usually plays. Ok, I admit I’m being too skeptical, but how can anyone blame me? Aside from boosting the overall talent level of the team, I still don’t buy that getting Francis is going to get the Rockets over the hump. Maybe he’ll prove us wrong during the season, but for now, I rest my case: this was not such a good move.
I like the direction the team is going on so far, but I think some other moves definitely still have to be made. With 2 shoot-first PG’s sure to get significant minutes (counting out Brooks), the Rockets need a distributing PG to balance it out. With the plans of trading away Rafer and Lucas, I think it will serve the Rockets well to at least look into getting somebody like Brevin Knight (who I think would be a great fit for the team) or even a Jannero Pargo to play off the bench. I also think the Rockets need to think about Luther Head and the role that he can play for the team. Given that Mike James and/or Francis can end up playing some SG as well along with Bonzi, I don’t know how Head fits into the rotation. I think the Rockets should try to get a versatile do-it-all SF to back up Battier too, preferably someone with good shooting range to complement Bonzi in the second unit. Ime Udoka anyone?
Lastly, the trade rumors with the Heat can be a good way for the team to further upgrade its rotation. Please tell me the Rockets don’t plan on just getting Doleac for Alston. Say what you want about Alston but I do believe he’s worth more than a back-up big man who probably won’t be getting off the bench much if at all.