Having failed in their pursuit of Dwight Howard, the Houston Rockets will enter this season without a definite superstar. The premium on superstars in the league is high and the Rockets, despite containing a surplus of movable assets, couldn’t fit the asking price for the Orlando Magic.
As such, the Rockets will rely on guards Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lin to create from the perimeter. Both have shown the proclivity to do so. Without a frontcourt presence, though, it will be a tad more difficult to score than usual. Newly acquired Omer Asik is predominately a defensive threat at this stage of his career (unless you count cuts and offensive rebounds as an effective offensive arsenal).
The underlying theme of this team, which could result in their downfall, is their age. Of course, this is to be expected considering the Rockets held on to their three first-round picks. Royce White, Jeremy Lamb and Terrence Jones were all nice value picks but they don’t solve the Rockets’ problems; they merely muddle the situation further. Donatas Motiejunas, selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2011 Draft before his rights were traded to Houston, played well in summer league this season, exhibiting a fluid post game and encouraging offensive game. The four of whom, averaging 21 years of age, will get a chance to compete for valuable rotation spots.
Houston downgraded their backcourt to compensate for the influx of youth. Kyle Lowry and Courtney Lee were flipped to the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics, respectively. Goran Dragic, coming off his finest season to date, signed with the Phoenix Suns for four-years, $34 million. The frontcourt also became expendable with the additions of Asik and Motiejunas. Marcus Camby and Samuel Dalembert were traded to the New York Knicks (sign-and-trade) and Milwaukee Bucks, respectively. The amnesty clause was used on forward Luis Scola to reduce costs further.
These additions and reductions aren’t guaranteed to succeed nor are they destined to fail like most believe. But, perhaps most importantly, general manager Daryl Morey still gave himself leeway to find the next available superstar.
Where to watch: The game will be shown on NBA TV at 1:00 p.m. CST. It will also air on stations 1200 WOAI and 1350 KCOR in Spanish.
Injury report: Patty Mills (sprained right ankle) will miss today’s game.
Manu Ginobili (sore foot) is expected to play.