The other morning I was halfway through a blog post which was a sad attempt of me trying to put into words what I think of the Houston Rockets. I say sad because I couldn’t make up my damn mind. Trust me – there is a lot more going on in there than you think. Basically, I couldn’t decide whether the Rockets were set to make a run over the next couple of seasons, or if this was a core group of players building towards a more prominent future. Then, Trevor Ariza for Courtney Lee happened and I was left hitting the delete key.
Nick and Thomas have posted their Lee and Ariza thoughts. Me? I’m still up in the air. Despite the statistics, I like what Ariza did in Houston last season. Let’s be honest: Ariza was asked to be a main scoring option without much help. That’s not a strength and the role he was brought to Houston to play. For that reason, I wanted to see Ariza, who had a nice end to last season, compliment Yao, Kevin Martin, and others.
Courtney Lee has been a guy that Morey has been high on in the past. After making a name for himself in the 2008-2009 playoffs in Orlando, Lee went to the Nets. Like most players that go to the Nets, his production was hurt. At times he was outstanding, and other times he was…well he was a New Jersey Net.
This is not only a salary dump, but it’s a move to acquire a player that probably fits the roster better. There were too many Ariza-like players on the roster in terms of height, role, and skill set. Now, Houston acquired a player it had been targeting for some time, that is a lot cheaper, arguably a better shooter, and is very strong defensively. I guess you could say I’m warming up to the deal.
That leads me to this thought: I really think the Rockets are in a unique situation right now, and I’m not sure 100 percent what that situation is. To me, the Rockets are a borderline team; they are so close to being a contender in the West. But they are also so close to being in rebuilding mode. Houston has gotten younger, deeper, and more athletic. And at the same time Les Alexander has added the salary of a guy like Brad Miller.
When I answered my buy or sell question the other day, I couldn’t even come close to considering the Rockets as a team that could obtain home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The main reason for that is the health of Yao Ming, but I’m just not sold on where this team is right now. To me, it’s in flux.
For that reason, I think this season could be one of the most interesting and possibly exciting in recent memory. Obviously, if the “Great Wall” goes down it’s going to feel like approaching the doorbell expecting a surprise only to receive a bag of flaming dog crap. But there is a lot to be excited about if you’re a Houston Rockets fan. I think Houston is on the cusp of being a legit contender, or being just a borderline playoff team. It all depends on some 7-foot-6 center’s feet, but with uncertainty comes excitement. And at least Houston fans know that there is no rock bottom.