Houston Rockets Stock Watch: Rising and Falling Players After the First Month

Tom Horowitz@Pudge7777Contributor IIIDecember 4, 2012

Houston Rockets Stock Watch: Rising and Falling Players After the First Month

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    The Houston Rockets offense is clicking on all cylinders these days, and their fans are raising the roof at the Toyota Center.

    That means Houston's stock as a team is also going through the roof!  But you want to know which individual Rockets to invest in, look no further.

    Here is the Rockets Stock Watch, where you will find several players on a dependable uptrend but some that will just pump-fake you to death. 

    Look out!

    *Statistics accurate as of Monday, December 3.

Chandler Parsons: Strong Buy

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    Calvin Murphy called it on Comcast SportsNet Houston Saturday Night when talking about Chandler Parsons: "You start talking about professionalism.  Bingo, there it is!"

    The Rockets Hall of Famer was referring to Parsons diving on the floor immediately after returning from a shoulder injury. 

    We can no longer refer to the Rockets small forward as "The Chandler Parsons Project."  It's a catchy spin-off of The Alan Parsons Project rock band, but the moniker no longer applies.  We should now simply refer to him as "The Chandler Parsons Professional."

    There is no weakness left for the 2011 second-round draft pick.  On Tuesday night, you can expect Parsons to spend much of his time checking Kobe Bryant.  It's fair to say that the Lakers now know that checking Parsons on the other end of the court is no picnic either.

    Chandler buried 4-of-5 three-point shots at Los Angeles on November 18.  He also hit 4-of-5 inside the arc and 4-of-5 from the line for an 80 percent night in every shooting category.  Chew on that for a moment.  Only three missed shots in a game while scoring 24 points.

    From a stock standpoint, you can't expect those numbers to be duplicated anytime soon.  However, you certainly can't call it an aberration, because there are so many significantly positive trends developing for the 24-year-old. 

    Parsons has averaged 19.8 points in his last nine games on 53.3 percent field goals (65-122) and 50 percent three-point shooting (26-52).  Those are simply outrageous numbers over a span of three weeks.

    This season, Parsons is shooting 77.1 percent free throws compared to 55.1 last season.  He is blowing away virtually every stat that earned him second team All-Rookie honors in 2011-12.

    Short-term or long-term, Chandler Parsons is a strong buy in any basketball market.  Houston hit the jackpot with a player determined to raise his game by leaps and bounds.  The Most Improved Player Award this season is almost a given.  You can be sure Parsons has his sights set on much bigger things like the 2013-14 NBA All-Star Game.

James Harden: Buy

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    The cat is already out of the bag.  There has been no secret since James Harden's first two games as a Rocket that he is a legitimate NBA All-Star.

    As a result, Harden has been downgraded from a Strong Buy to just a Buy in our Rockets Stock Watch.  However, you could say the same thing about other NBA MVP candidates such as Harden's former Oklahoma City teammate Kevin Durant.  In other words, don't worry about it.

    Harden has kept his scoring average over 24 points a game this season despite drawing an excessive amount of defensive attention.  He's also adjusted superbly in Houston's last four games by dishing out 31 assists.

    And yes, that includes the disastrous game at OKC last Wednesday during which Harden shot only 3-of-16 with a mere three assists.  From a basketball stock standpoint, you can just throw that game in the garbage as Harden quickly did.

    Harden's seven assists in the win over Utah Saturday night gives him a 5.4 average this season, which is double his career average.

    Pick your poison as long as Harden's new teammates continue to step up.

    Harden's market value will keep going up as long as the Rockets continue to make strides toward the playoffs.

Jeremy Lin: Buy

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    Cover your shorts before you get killed! 

    For those betting against Jeremy Lin on the basketball court, you've survived so far this season.  In fact, you've probably even made a few bucks.

    But don't press your luck.  The tide is turning and you don't want to "short" Lin stock any further.

    To the contrary, Houston's point guard has seen his value fall so much after Linsanity that I recommend you seize the opportunity and start buying Lin stock now.

    Most importantly, Lin seems to have fully recovered from his knee surgery last April.  He appears to be coming out of his shell and has picked his game up a notch lately.

    In the Rockets' last three games, Lin has averaged 13.7 points on 60 percent shooting (18-of-30).  This is because he has stopped jacking up a plethora of three-point shots, which he's never been good at anyway.

    Instead, Lin is attacking more and opening things up for his teammates.  Jeremy has registered at least eight assists in each of the last three games.

    The Rockets paid a hefty price to bring Lin back to Houston, but I still think it was a wise investment.  You can buy Jeremy Lin stock even cheaper now, and you would be wise to do so.

Patrick Patterson: Buy

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    Patrick Patterson is on fire.  Get in on his stock while you still can!

    The 23-year-old power forward from Kentucky has officially arrived.  The Rockets thought they had something with the 14th pick in the 2010 draft and are looking prophetic now.

    In Houston's last 10 games, Patterson is averaging 17 points on 55 percent shooting.  He is making opponents pay for focusing on James Harden and the other talented starters the Rockets possess.

    The 6'9'' Patterson still needs to pound the glass harder.  But you will be pounding your own cranium against the wall if you don't buy his stock.  What are you waiting for?!

Omer Asik: Buy

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    The Rockets envisioned free-agent center Omer Asik like a promising company with a huge initial public offering.  Houston happily paid the large price tag and have already raked in some nifty profits.

    Asik's 12.3 rebounds per game ranks third in the NBA. This is not shocking in and of itself. 

    However, Asik currently has four straight double-doubles.  That is beyond a pleasant surprise.

    Asik's emerging offensive repertoire has accounted for 62 points over those last four contests (15.5 ppg).  His scoring has risen to 11 points per game as a Rocket, compared to 2.9 PPG in his first two NBA seasons with the Chicago Bulls.

    There is still plenty of upside for the seven-footer from Turkey, especially defensively.  Therefore, Omer Asik remains a solid Buy on the Rockets Stock Watch.

Carlos Delfino: Sell

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    As The Who sang, "We Won't Get Fooled Again."  I doubt Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend even know who Carlos Delfino is, but this title should not be forgotten by Rockets fans who are ready to invest in the Argentinian's instant offense.

    In his Houston debut, Delfino fired in 5-of-6 three-pointers for his 15 points at Detroit.  However, in the ensuing seven games, Delfino hit only 10-of-41 trifectas (24.4 percent) and 17-of-60 field goals overall (28.3 percent).

    After missing the last seven games of November with a groin injury, Delfino returned in impressive fashion with 13 points in 17 minutes against Utah Saturday night; he nailed 3-of-5 three-point shots and was 5-of-7 from the field.

    For those of you who bought Delfino stock last Friday, I salute you.  However, he should be considered "high beta" in the world of basketball stocks.  That means very high volatility and a risk not worth leaving to chance.  Cash in whatever profits you made on Delfino this weekend and invest in the five Rockets starters who all merit a minimum of a Buy rating.