Let’s just start with what I said in the last blog about how important these last 3 wins were for the Rockets. They took care of business against the Pistons, Cavs, and Nets. These were games that the Rockets knew they should have won against sub par teams and they took care of business rather easily. A lot fans and writers are writing off this season and are under the presumption that the Rockets are playing for the “future” or “rebuilding”. I still believe the Rockets can still make the playoffs but in my honest opinion it will come down to the next three games for the Rockets on the road. Games against 2 teams ahead of them in the standings, New Orleans and Portland and a date with the dunk contest champion Blake Griffin.
Being 2 games under .500 the first priority should be for the Rockets is to climb back to .500 and take it a game at a time. I hate to say it but this upcoming road trip can define the Rockets playoff hopes. Many believe that there is no point for the Rockets to make a run for the playoffs because they will most likely be ousted in the first round. Well I say make the most of the remaining of the season and attempt to make a run into the playoffs. First it will help the Rockets future guys to get some playing time, experience, and develop as players under Adelman’s system.
It’s going to be real exciting watching this group play especially after the energy and fast tempo they played with tonight against the Nets. Maybe its a stretch to say but this team does not have a problem on the offensive end but more importantly I want to see the Rockets focus on the defensive end of the floor, especially with games against playoff caliber teams such as the Hornets and Blazers.
Now lets assess the two trades the Rockets made before the deadline. First the trade that I did love was the Aaron Brooks and Goran Dragic trade. Why? Well I think that this trade was a good trade for Aaron Brooks. Obviously Aaron is not having the same season he did like he did last season where he won the Most Improved Player award. Before the season started we knew Aaron wanted a contract extension and the Rockets were not ready to give it to him. It seemed that the contract situation really bothered Aaron Brooks this season and to make it worse he suffered a severe ankle injury against San Antonio earlier this season. A lot of us thought that Aaron would get his starting spot back once he was back from the injury but Kyle Lowry was playing well for the Rockets and Aaron fell into the back up role which I think made him more disgruntled. Everyone saw the frustrations on the Aaron’s face and where he picked up technical fouls and even quit on the team. At that point I thought that the Rockets needed to part ways with Aaron and Phoenix was a great place for him to be. This gives the Aaron a place where Steve Nash can take him under his wing and help Aaron mature and develop to into a better player. Aaron has the potential to be a borderline superstar player. As for the Rockets, Dragic was a great pick up for the Rockets because Dragic is a solid back up point guard to can score the basketball and push the tempo for us, and who can also create his own shot. Lowry and Dragic will complement each other very well only time will tell how great these 2 will be at the point position.
As for the Battier and Smith trade to Memphis for Haseem Thabeet, well I was just sad to see Battier go. Battier was the heart and soul for the Rockets defense and just one of the few class acts in the NBA. Battier deserved to go to a contender and play for a champion team because he deserves it. But he goes back to Memphis where they do have some great pieces in Rudy Gay, Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, and OJ Mayo. As for the acquisition of Thabeet, a guy who went to high school here in Houston can really learn under Hakeem and Yao. Hopefully this gives Rockets the big body they needed inside the paint. Battier will surely be missed on the defensive end for the Rockets.
Now that Budinger has stepped into the starting lineup for the Rockets, well all he’s done is score 27 points tonight after a 3o point performace in the prior game. This will get Budinger some experience and minutes and live up to the potential we know he has.
So important 3 road games for the Rockets coming up in the playoff push let’s see how they fare!
About the Author
Written by Munaf Manji
Big sports fan particularly the NBA and NFL. I do follow the MLB throughout the season but NBA is my cup of tea. My favorite teams are of course my home teams, Houston Rockets and the Houston Texans. And my favorite baseball team has to be the Boston RedSox! I feel a have sports knowledge that I would like to engage in over talking to other sports fanatics! Always about respecting others and their opinions even if at times it is biased!