Houston Rockets Player Power Rankings: Post-December Edition

Matt DagostinoContributor IDecember 31, 2012

Houston Rockets Player Power Rankings: Post-December Edition

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    Who has been the best Houston Rocket?

    As we turn the calendar to 2013, we take a look back at the month of December and rank each Rockets player from worst to best.

    At 16-14 and in sixth place in the Western Conference through the first two months of the season, the Rockets have a lot to be thankful for and to look forward to the rest of the season.

    All statistics are accurate as of December 29, 2012

12. Donatas Motiejunas

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    Yeah, I know.  The 12th man on the Rockets is a revolving door.  Motiejunas, Terrence Jones and Scott Machado all have taken turns on the active roster. 

    Motiejunas is the flavor of the week, more because of his D-League numbers.  In four games, he's averaged 23.5 points and 10.8 rebounds.

    He could provide depth later in the season behind Omer Asik and Cole Aldrich.

11. Daequan Cook

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    Daequan Cook, acquired in the James Harden trade, has been a bit of a disappointment for Houston this season.

    Brought in to bring a long-range weapon to the team, Cook has attempted just 30 three-pointers this season, making just 36 percent of his attempts. 

    He has played in just 16 games this season and scored just 13 points in the month of December.

10. Cole Aldrich

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    Cole Aldrich has only seen double-digit minutes in two games in December. 

    Most recently, he scored six points and grabbed four rebounds in 17 minutes against San Antonio on December 28. 

    In his third NBA season, Aldrich has never played in more than 26 games in a single season.  He has already played in 16 games this season. 

    But he has provided little support in the frontcourt behind Omer Asik.

9. Carlos Delfino

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    Carlos Delfino has missed the team's past two games.

    But in December Delfino has found some consistency.  After just one double-digit scoring effort in October and November, the Argentinian posted seven games of 10 or more points in 13 December contests.

    Delfino is averaging 8.7 points per game on the season.

8. Greg Smith

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    Greg Smith scored 21 points in 24 minutes against the Los Angeles Lakers on December 4 and followed it up with 20 points in 22 minutes 10 days later against the Boston Celtics.

    Smith has sputtered towards the end of the month, averaging just 3.5 points in his past four games.

    Houston does not really know what it has with Smith just yet. 

    Can he be consistent enough to be a solid rotation guy?

    Time will tell.

7. Toney Douglas

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    After averaging just more than 15 minutes per game in October and November, Toney Douglas saw his playing time rise in December to more than 25 minutes a contest.

    The increased minutes has led to increased production, too.  Douglas has averaged nearly 12 points a game in December, including a season-high 22 points in a two-point win against the Lakers on December 4. 

    The former Florida State Seminole had found a nice little niche as the point guard in Mike D'Antoni's system while with the New York Knicks.

    Maybe Douglas is now carving his role with another uptempo offense with Kevin McHale and the Rockets.

6. Patrick Patterson

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    Patrick Patterson has been hobbled by a foot injury that caused him to miss seven games in the month of December.

    Patterson got off to a blistering start to the season, averaging 14.7 points per game in November.

    His first game in December was a 20-point effort against the Utah Jazz, his third consecutive game of 20 or more points.

    But his scoring average in December is down to just 10 points per game in the eight games he has been healthy enough to play.

    He returned December 29 against Oklahoma City but saw just 10 minutes of action.

    If he can prove healthy enough, he should start to see more time again and move back up the power rankings.

5. Marcus Morris

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    Marcus Morris has filled in at the starting power forward spot since Patrick Patterson went down with his foot injury.

    In eight starts, Morris has scored in double figures six times, including a career-high 24 points on December 29 against the Thunder.  He has averaged nearly 14 points per game in that span.

    The second-year forward out of Kansas is taking advantage of his opportunity and may hold onto his starting gig if he continues to produce.

4. Chandler Parsons

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    Chandler Parsons came out of the gates averaging 16.1 points and seven rebounds in his first full month of the 2012-13 season. 

    His December numbers (14.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG) are down a bit.  His field goal percentage also dropped from 48 percent to 45 percent.  He has had just one double-digit rebounding game in December after having five in November.

    His scoring has shown signs of coming back up a bit.  After being held to single digits in three straight games, Parsons has averaged more than 17 points in his past four games.

    He has been battling a lingering knee problem as of late. 

    Overall, Parsons is having a fantastic sophomore season as his numbers are up across the board.  Most notably, his scoring average has risen from 9.5 PPG to 15 PPG.

3. Omer Asik

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    See what you are missing out on, Chicago?

    A 20-point, 18-rebound game against his old team, the Chicago Bulls, on Christmas Day was the highlight to Omer Asik's month.

    Asik has proven to be more than just a defender and rebounder.  Asik has taken the minutes he was never able to secure in Chicago and given the Rockets a legitimate double-double presence in the post.

    Rockets fans may eventually want a little more consistency on the offensive end.

    But Asik remains one of the better free-agent signings from the offseason and a bargain at his current salary (the third year of his contract notwithstanding).

2. Jeremy Lin

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    Yes, Jeremy, you are No. 2 on this list.

    Lin went 17 games between 20-point games.  He scored 21 points against the Atlanta Hawks in Houston's second game of the season.  He did not reach the 20-point mark again until December 10 when he scored a career-high-tying 38 points against the San Antonio Spurs.

    He has scored 20 or more in three of the 10 games since his 38-point outburst and is starting to settle into the role he was expected to fill when he came over from the New York Knicks.

    Back-to-back double-doubles against the Memphis Grizzlies and the Chicago Bulls helped solidify more of an all-around effort from Lin.

    But after tallying just one game with four or more turnovers in his first 12 games of December, Lin totaled 16 turnovers in his past three games.

    With averages of 12 points and six assists per game, Lin has been somewhat of a disappointment.  But it looks like he and James Harden are starting to figure each other out a bit more as time goes along this season.

    And that is a welcome sight for Rockets fans.

1. James Harden

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    Who else did you expect in this spot?

    James Harden opened the season by scoring 82 points in his first two games in a Rockets uniform.  And he has only gotten BETTER as the season has progressed.

    After averaging 24.5 points per game through November, Harden has taken it to another level in December by averaging 27.6 points per game.  His field goal and free throw percentages have both gone up five percent from last month.  He has had six 30-point games in the month and has scored 20 or more in 10 straight games.

    Harden now finds himself fourth in the NBA in scoring at an even 26 points per game.

    He has been nothing short of phenomenal and continues to be a rock-solid superstar for the Houston Rockets.