Fact or Fiction from Houston Rockets' NBA Playoff Performance
It was a great opportunity squandered for the young Rockets, while being the youngest team in the NBA, got a break when Russell Westbrook was injured for the rest of the playoffs in Game 2. They won Game 4 in Houston, Game 5 in Oklahoma City but riding a 10-point lead in the middle of the third at home, couldn't quite hold on and thus had their season ended prematurely.
They fought back admirably after digging themselves a 3-0 hole, a deficit in which no NBA team has ever come back from.
The Rockets made the playoffs for the first time since 2009, which featured a vastly different cast of characters, such as Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady and "Metta World Peace" formerly known as Ron Artest.
Before the season began they signed free agents Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin to big, multiyear, back-loaded free-agent deals and traded for James Harden a few days before the opener.
Here is a "Fact vs. Fiction" from the Houston Rockets' 2012-13 playoff performance.
Chandler Parsons Is a Rising Star
A 2011 second round selection from Florida, Chandler Parsons was a risky gamble for the Rockets, who took the swingman in hopes he would eventually be a good second or third option.
A 6'9" small forward, Parsons has shown good athleticism as well as a pretty long range jump shot and all-around basketball skills as he increased his scoring average from nine points a game a year prior to 15 this year and made increases in rebounds and assists as well.
In 2012-13 NBA Playoffs, Parsons continued his brilliant season, scoring double digits in all but one game (nine points in Game 1) and had 20 or more points in three of those contests.
He was particularly instrumental in Houston's Game 4 victory at home where he scored a personal series high of 27, as well as racking up 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Parsons showed that he can play in the NBA as well as make a great case for a new contract if the Rockets choose to re-sign him once his rookie deal is up. He proved to be a go-to guy for the Rockets down the stretch.
The Rockets Can Contend Without Focusing More on Defense
The Rockets allowed nearly 106 points per game against the Thunder, even without Russell Westbrook for the last four contests.
In the regular season, the Rockets allowed near 103 points per game. While the playoff average is high, they might benefit from molding their team to the likes of Memphis, which held opposing teams for 89 points per game in the regular season.
Defensive-minded players and perhaps a defensive-minded head coach might be what the Rockets need to get to the next level.
Jeremy Lin Is Nothing More Than an Average NBA PG, Who Had a Bad Series
In short, Jeremy Lin's first playoff experience was a nightmare. He was dominated by Russell Westbrook in Game 1, and made very little difference on the outcome of the series
He was inactive for Games 4 and 5 with a chest injury and even when he was on the court, he felt like a liability out there with his inability to get offense going, create for others or create turnovers on the defensive end.
Though were times this season Lin has played brilliantly (38 points in a December loss to SA, 29 points in a March win over Oklahoma City), Lin has underachieved mightily. His 13, six and 1.6 steals are not bad numbers but nowhere near what many people projected him to do after his brilliant run with the Knicks last season, when he was arguably the best player in the league for a few weeks.
Perhaps Houston is not the best fit or he need more time. Only time will tell.
Their 4-Spot Is Strong Enough Already
Going into the playoffs, the Rockets used a rotation of Francisco Garcia and Chandler Parsons at the power forward spot to contend with the likes of Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka with moderate success.
Donatas Motiejūnas, who played in 44 games for the Rockets this season, only played five minutes in the entire series.
Thomas Robinson , whom they acquired midseason , did not play a minute in this series.
They will likely try to develop Robinson, who has shown great basketball instincts and athleticism but possesses somewhat raw skills. If provided the minutes, he can be a good starter for them. After all, Robinson was the No. 5 overall selection and played on a good team at Kansas.
Perhaps maybe a trade or free agent pursuit of an Al Jefferson or Paul Millsap may pull them closer to a championship and stability at that position.
The Rockets Need to Pursue Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum in Free Agency
It is in my view that the Rockets need to pursue free agent Dwight Howard in the offseason.
Howard originally spurned the Rockets last offseason, and had his sights set on Tinseltown. However, chemistry issues and a feud with Kobe Bryant marred the team, and they were swept of the playoffs in the first round.
Howard is a great talent, but he needs to be around complementary players to be successful. A lineup featuring, Lin, Harden and Howard would be a nightmare for opposing teams each night.
The Rockets Need to Consider Getting Rid of Patrick Beverley in the Offseason
Patrick Beverley, or "Bev" as he is known by players and media members, was a key cog in the Rockets playoff run this past year.
He was the subject to death threats, the most notable of whom was from the Oklahoma City Thunder's ball boy after he collided with Russell Westbrook in Game 2 and unintentionally caused the injury which knocked him out of the playoffs.
Signed midseason, he was the Rockets No. 2 point guard behind Jeremy Lin and was a decent backup providing bench scoring and defense. He played his college ball at Arkansas from 2006-2008 and played overseas in Europe before getting his chance with the Rockets.
In the playoffs, he was huge when Lin got hurt and started in 5 of the 6 games, averaging 33 minutes per contest. He also provided 11.8 points and 1.2 steals in the six games as well.
Despite signing Aaron Brooks, Beverley looks like he has found a home in the NBA with the Rockets.