Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Dream Shake's Take

Today we sit down with Tom Martin, editor of Houston Rockets blog, The Dream Shake, to discuss Houston's recent draft picks, Yao Ming's retirement, and where the Rockets should go from here.

How do you feel about the Rockets' selections in last month's draft?

Depends who you ask, but for me it was a typical Rockets draft. Good value, good players, but nothing special. Marcus Morris convinced Houston he can play small forward and then likened himself to Carmelo Anthony in his introductory press conference. I don’t think he’s that good, but people underestimate his quickness – there’s a chance he could be a steal at fourteen.

Snagging Donatas Motiejunas at twenty must have made Daryl Morey’s night. There are a lot of questions to be leveled Motiejunas’ way (“Can you play defense, can you rebound, or do you care about either of those things?”), but thankfully, there are guarantees. The dude can shoot and score, plain and simple. He’s no Dirk – you’d think after fifty failed comparisons that people would stop trying – but he has a chance to be of the Andrea Bargnani mold: a talented scorer who plays below his height. In no way does he fill Houston’s gap at center, but he’ll be a nice addition to the roster.

Problem is, where does Donatas go? Houston is stacked with power forwards and literally can’t keep all of its current four-men on the roster. I smell a trade a-brewin’.

Does Jonny Flynn have the potential to be an elite point guard?

Jonny Flynn will never be an elite point guard. Elite is a strong word. That’s Derrick Rose/Chris Paul/Deron Williams company. If Jonny Flynn ever becomes an above-average point guard (think Ty Lawson as he is now, before he gets even better), it’ll be a success story. He’s not an “answer” or any sorts for Houston – just another asset for Morey to get his hands on. I’d expect him to be moved at some point, but with Kyle Lowry currently owning the most expensive contract of the current PG crop, he could be on the move as well.

Was Yao Ming's retirement ultimately good or bad for Houston?

Houston needed Yao to retire. They had to move on. Despite all of the rumors, Houston never made significant amounts of money off Yao Ming. He helped, sure, but it was nothing worth drooling over. His career ended roughly two years ago if you care to be realistic. It was about time both sides moved on.

If you were Houston's GM Daryl Morey, what moves would you try to make in order to make the Rockets a championship-contenting squad?

If I was Morey, I'd go out and get a big man, but there aren’t many available, at least not for the right price. That’s the thing with Morey, though: the price. For all of the good, cost-efficient moves he has made, how many potentially ballsy/risky trades has he passed over that could have perhaps worked in Houston’s favor?

The Rockets don’t need the elite scorer or “closer” that everyone thinks they need: they’ve got plenty of offensive firepower. What they do need is rim protection and a tall, defensive presence inside. Sure, the Rockets’ offense wasn’t great during the fourth quarter last season – thus prompting the “closer” requests from fans – but it was very good at times. The real problem? Houston gave up the most fourth-quarter points per game in the league. The. Most. And it’s all because Chuck Hayes wasn’t about to scare anyone from taking the ball to the hole with the game on the line.

How far do you see Houston going next season?

Next year needs to be a losing season. It needs to see lots of youth and lots of mistakes. For the past two years, the Rockets have straddled the fence between winning ballgames and attempting to rebuild. They’ve been ignoring the youth movement that the roster has experienced, and it led to Rick Adelman’s departure. Now, with Kevin McHale at the helm, Houston’s got a new mentality. While winning is nice – and while one can and should try to win games while developing young players – it’s time Houston stopped benching its youngsters. I want to know if Terrence Williams or Hasheem Thabeet is worth a contract. So do Rockets fans.

Thanks, Tom, I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how Houston's future pans out.

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