Rockets Land Dwight Howard…Now What?
HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – With the recent Dwight Howard announcement, the Rockets roster may still undergo more changes before all is said and done. No deal may be as big as Dwight Watch 2013, but the fate of certain players could still be uncertain. Omer Asik has already requested to be traded, which Daryl Morey voiced that he has no plans to do. Speculation is also circulating around shopping around other players such as Jeremy Lin or adding another free agent at the power forward position. Jeff Van Gundy joined SportsRadio 610’s J&R show to break down what he thinks the Rockets might do next.
On Jeremy Lin
Van Gundy fully expects Lin to be a Houston Rocket for the 2013-14 season despite the rumors that began surfacing as soon as Howard made his announcement Friday.
“I thought he (Lin) was overrated when he burst onto the scene in New York the way people were trying to talk about him but I think he’s underrated now. I thought Lin, coming off a knee injury, got better and better last year. You look at the numbers. They were pretty good. I think he is a pretty good starting NBA point guard. How much he can improve over time remains to be seen, but I expect him to be there. I think he is a good solid starter.”
On Omer Asik
“I really do feel for Asik. Here’s a guy who is about all the right things: plays every night, practices hard, never complains, 10 points/12 rebounds. He just had a really good year and he proved he can be a good starter on a good NBA team,” said Van Gundy. “If I was Daryl, I too would be reluctant to trade him because, whereas last year they had no rim protection when Asik was out of the game, now with Howard and Asik, they have 48 minutes of outstanding rim protection which should improve them defensively. They are already a very good offensive team. The area of improvement had to be defensively. They’ve done that with those two guys anchoring their basket protection and so I feel for Asik but I certainly understand the Rockets’ hesitation to trading him.”
Next Possible Free Agent Move
According to Van Gundy, Morey values rebounding and is not convinced that a center alone can rebound in traffic.
“It would be great if he (free agent) had every attribute or if he rebounded, he defended, and he could shoot the three and pass it. Open up the floor for the guards and for Howard, post in deep in the lane. It’s very, very difficult to get those guys because what would you have to give up to get that guy?
“I think Ryan Anderson has already proven he can play very effectively with Howard. That’s a great name. Now, Anderson is not a good defender but he is a very good rebounder and you don’t find too many rebounders who also shoot threes. So he has a couple of intriguing attributes.”
Ryan Anderson, 25, averaged 16.2 points and 6.4 rebounds a game last season with the New Orleans Pelicans. Anderson ranked second in the NBA with three-point field goal attempts (557) as well as three-point field goals made (213). However, according to Marc Stein of ESPN, the rumors of an Asik-Anderson trade were false.
Rockets Now A Favorite In The West?
Overall, Van Gundy takes the stand that the Howard acquisition instantly propels the Rockets into a top contender for the 2013-14 NBA Championship.
“I think they go from being a pretty good team to one of a handful of teams that could actually win it. I think there’s 5,6, or 7 teams that could win it next year and Houston’s one of them and that’s a great improvement. They’ve done wonders. Daryl Morey has done wonders for that roster in the last year and to have James Harden and Dwight Howard to build around going forward along with Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin, that’s terrific work by Daryl and his staff.”