Why Houston Rockets Are Better Off Without Kyle Lowry

Tom FirmeAnalyst IIJune 8, 2012

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 10:  Kyle Lowry #7 of the Houston Rockets against the Charlotte Bobcats during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 10, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets are facing some uncertainty in their backcourt with Kyle Lowry demanding to be traded. Lowry told the Houston Chronicle that he couldn't stay in Houston with Kevin McHale coaching the Rockets. That Lowry could leave in a trade could be a good thing for the Rockets.

First, the Rockets will likely look towards Kevin Martin for a sizable chunk of their scoring as they did before this season. This year, Martin averaged 17.1 points per game while Lowry averaged 14.3 points per game. Lowry averaged 15.9 points per game in 38 games as a starter, all of which came before he and Martin went down in early March.

Martin was the unquestioned scoring leader for the Rockets in 2010-11, averaging 23.5 points per game.

Martin should return healthy next season.  A full offseason of conditioning and steady doses of rest should have Martin ready to light up the scoreboard again.

Second, the Rockets should be able to re-sign Goran Dragic as the starting point guard to replace Lowry in the event of a trade. Dragic told the Houston Chronicle that he's most interested in returning to Houston next season, calling Houston "a great organization, great people, great city."

Dragic broke out in the latter part of the season averaging 15 points and 7.4 assists per game in March, and 18.9 points and 7.7 assists per game in April. Dragic started the last 26 games of the season after Lowry went down.

If the Rockets kept the 26-year-old point guard, they would have a conflict whether the Rockets were to start either Lowry or Dragic or start both of them. If Lowry were to start, then Dragic would be disappointed, since he told the Houston Chronicle that he wants to start as he told the newspaper that he wants to return to Houston.

Conversely, Lowry would surely be upset if it turned out that Dragic had risen above him and won the starting job.

Now, if they both ended up starting, Houston would have problems regarding who feeds the ball to Luis Scola and who handles the ball more. Scola has the highest usage rate on the team at 24.8 percent. Lowry and Dragic's rates were a bit lower at 22 and 21.8 percent, respectively. Thus, one guy must feed it to Scola to facilitate the offense.

To prevent issues regarding who has the ball more and who has the primary relationship with Scola on offense, the Rockets should trade Lowry and go with the more amiable player in Dragic.

Additionally, Dragic's teammates feel strongly about his role on the team. Luis Scola was adamant about the need for Dragic to return to the Rockets: "We need him back. He's very important, I believe."

Marcus Camby said that the Rockets would be strong with Dragic back, explaining, "I like our nucleus. I think it's important for us to bring Gogi back. He's an important part of what we're doing around here."

Even if the Rockets do find themselves lacking after replacing Lowry with Dragic, they have two first-round picks in the upcoming draft. One of those picks could go towards a scorer like Austin Rivers or Terrence Ross.

They also have nearly $30 million in cap space before re-signing Dragic and exercising options. Additional holes can be plugged through free agency.

The Rockets shouldn't feel bad if they end up dealing Lowry. They'd still have their leading scorer, Kevin Martin, and re-signing Goran Dragic shouldn't be too much of a problem. Draft picks and free-agent signings would also make up for the loss. With that in mind, Houston wouldn't lose ground in the standings without their star point guard.