Reviewing the Houston Rockets' Depth Chart at Each Position
The Houston Rockets have been busy this offseason, making changes left and right to the depth chart as they try to build a championship roster.
After a few years of mediocrity, the pieces are finally coming together for the Rockets. They landed James Harden last year in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder and brought in Dwight Howard via free agency this past month as the franchise center. The Rockets are now becoming legitimate contenders in the West.
It takes more than a couple of superstars to win a championship, however.
General manager Daryl Morey still has to fill out the rest of the roster before the season begins. The Rockets have their stars, but they also have a lot of depth on their bench. Here's a look at the depth chart at each position for the Rockets this upcoming season.
The Rockets brought in Lin last season to be the face of the franchise. Since then, they have acquired both James Harden and Dwight Howard, so Lin will have to take on a new role this season.
Lin had a solid year at point guard for the Rockets last season. He averaged 13.4 points and 6.1 assists during the regular season, but he disappeared in the playoffs. He suffered a chest injury in the Rockets' first-round series against Oklahoma City, which limited his playing time.
In the four games he played in, Lin only averaged 4.0 points and 2.0 assists. That will not get the job done this season.
The Rockets have much higher expectations this year, and Lin's backup, Patrick Beverley, is right on his tail for the starting job. There have been talks about Lin getting traded, but Morey has put them to rest. Now, Lin must step up and take control of his own destiny by playing consistent basketball throughout the season.
The Rockets signed Beverley in the middle of last season. He played overseas the past few years before finally landing a job in the NBA with Houston.
Beverley did not contribute much to the team until the playoffs. When Lin went down with an injury, Beverley stepped up in a big way. He averaged 11.8 points along with 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists in the playoff series against OKC.
Some of Beverley's best attributes aren't shown on the stat sheets. He always hustles and he plays very aggressive defense. He will be a valuable commodity for the Rockets and will see a lot of minutes coming off the bench.
A few seasons ago, Aaron Brooks was the starter for the Rockets. Here we are now, an ankle injury, a lockout and a few trades later, and Brooks is back in Houston. This time, however, he's no longer the starter.
The Rockets signed Brooks near the end of last season after he cleared waivers upon his release from the Sacramento Kings. Brooks is a fan favorite because of his great stint with the Rockets a few years ago when Yao Ming was still around in Houston.
Morey brought back Brooks to be the third point guard, probably because of his great outside shooting. Brooks can shoot the three with the best of them, which is why he's a good fit for the Rockets.
AB probably won't play many minutes. He is a good player, but due to his place on the depth chart he is doomed to play garbage minutes for Houston this year, barring injuries.
Canaan was the Rockets' only draft choice this year, taken 34th overall in the draft. The point guard out of Murray State is a two-time Ohio Valley Conference player of the year, and he earned All-American honors back in 2012.
Canaan is a good offensive player. He can shoot from deep and also attack the basket. But he has plenty of room for improvement on the defensive end.
Canaan will most likely start the year in Rio Grande Valley playing for the Vipers in the D-League. Depending on injuries and other factors, it may be awhile before Canaan sees the floor as a Rocket.
James Harden took the NBA by storm last season. People knew he was a good player coming off the bench for Oklahoma City. However, when the Rockets traded for him and put him in the spotlight, Harden seized the opportunity.
Harden averaged 25.9 points per game last season, good for fifth in the entire league. He made his first All-Star team and was elected to the third team All-NBA.
The Rockets will go as far as James Harden will take them. He is the go-to guy and the unquestionable leader. Harden is the man in Houston and could be for the next several years.
Garcia was acquired as an additional player in the trade for Thomas Robinson last season, but he exceeded expectations. Garcia was a key contributor in the Rockets' playoff series against OKC, playing defense on Kevin Durant and hitting some big threes.
In the playoffs, Garcia averaged 10.7 points per game, shooting 45.9 percent from behind the arc.
Garcia is a great shooter. At 32 years of age, he was by far the oldest player on the Rockets team (before the Marcus Camby signing, that is). His veteran wisdom and reliable shooting touch will be a big help for the Rockets this season.
Coming off the bench, Garcia will see plenty of time on the floor as a key role player.
Reggie Williams is a new acquisition for Houston. He signed a two-year deal this summer to join the Rockets.
Williams adds another shooter to the Rockets' arsenal. He is shooting 37.1 percent from deep for his career. The Rockets need a plethora of shooters to surround Dwight Howard, and that is exactly why they signed Williams.
The past two years have been fairly forgettable for Williams in Charlotte. His first two seasons in Golden State showed a lot more promise, and the Rockets are hoping the lefty can get back to playing like he did early in his career.
Williams will not get a ton of minutes, but he should get some opportunities to show off his shooting skills and put some points on the board.
Young was signed as an undrafted free agent and played for the Rockets in the Summer League. He averaged 15.2 points per game last season during his sophomore year at Arkansas.
Young is destined to play in the D-League for Rio Grande this season. He may have a future in the NBA, but don't expect him to see much time, if any, on the floor for the Rockets.
After another solid campaign in 2012-13, Chandler Parsons continues to surprise people and make general managers across the league look foolish. The Rockets took Parsons with the 38th pick in the 2011 draft, and he has gone far beyond the expectations of a second-round pick.
Parsons had a magnificent series against OKC in the first round of the playoffs. He averaged 18.2 points and 6.5 rebounds a night versus the Thunder, catching the attention of teams across the league.
In 2013, Parsons played in the Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star break as one of the top young players in the league. He also was selected to participate in mini-camp with Coach K and Team USA. Most importantly, however, Parsons was a leader in recruiting Dwight Howard and bringing the All-Star center to Houston.
Parsons is a glue guy and can stuff the stat sheet every night. His height and athleticism make him a good defender. He can also stretch the floor with his three-point shot and his driving ability. He is a key piece of the Rockets' puzzle.
Casspi signed with the Rockets this offseason. The first Israeli player in the NBA, Casspi had a solid rookie campaign in Sacramento but has faded into obscurity the past couple of seasons in Cleveland.
Last season with the Cavaliers, Casspi played less than 12 minutes per game, averaging only four points.
At 6'9'', Casspi is a good athlete for his size and will fight for some minutes coming off the Rockets' bench. If the Rockets choose to play with a small lineup, he may not get a ton of playing time, but he will get a chance to prove he belongs in the NBA.
Covington is another player who went undrafted and tagged along with the Rockets during the Summer League in Orlando. He played well this summer and earned himself a contract.
It seems as if Covington will spend the majority of his time in the D-League with the Vipers. There is not enough room for him on the Rockets' NBA roster.
The good news for Covington is that he is still young and has a chance to work on his game. He can spend time with the Vipers and continue to develop, and maybe down the road he'll get a chance with the Rockets.
Power forward is the biggest question mark for the Rockets heading into next season. The spot is up for grabs, but Greg Smith has a small advantage before training camp begins.
Smith started 10 games last year for Houston at power forward alongside Omer Asik at center. He was a bit inconsistent, but he also had a handful of memorable games.
The Rockets will probably try a few different players at power forward throughout the season, but Smith has the best shot of starting at the beginning of the season. He's a quick big man with a solid defensive presence.
Terrence Jones was a first-round draft choice for the Rockets in last year's draft. He spent a lot of time in Rio Grande Valley before he made a contribution to the Rockets later in the season.
Jones is a terrific athlete with a decent jump shot. He proved at the end of last year that he can play at the NBA level, and he could take some big strides this season.
Jones was arrested this past week for allegedly stomping on a homeless man. If Jones can come to training camp focused and force that water under the bridge, he and the Rockets should be able to move on and forget it ever happened.
Jones will see the floor regularly next year, and he may even swipe the starting gig midseason.
Motiejunas also got to start some games last year. He started 14 games at power forward for Houston.
Motiejunas is very quick. He has a small variety of post moves down low and an above-average three-point shot for a big man. His problems are on defense. He is not strong enough to protect the rim or box out offensive rebounders.
Motiejunas will be a solid bench player for the Rockets. His playing time may be sporadic depending on matchups against other teams. He can stretch the floor quite well when his corner three is falling, but he's a defensive liability, so it depends which team the Rockets are playing.
The Rockets may have won the offseason with the signing of Dwight Howard. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year will help the Rockets' defensive woes from last season in a big way.
Howard affects so many shots in the interior, even the ones he doesn't block. Some guards don't even shoot in the paint because they know that Howard is waiting for them.
He is a freak athlete with a gigantic frame. His offensive game and free throws need a lot of work, but he is still one of the most dominant big men on the planet.
Dwight left the Los Angeles Lakers because he wasn't happy in the bright lights with Kobe Bryant. He also was not a fan of coach Mike D'Antoni's "Seven Seconds or Less" offense. The Rockets will have to figure out a way to utilize Howard offensively in an efficient way that also makes him happy.
There are still a lot of kinks to work out, but bringing in Dwight Howard still makes the Rockets a legitimate contender. They now have two superstars and a great supporting cast, which gives them an opportunity to make a deep run in the playoffs this season and for many seasons to come.
The city of Houston has already added Howard to its long list of famous big men, which includes the likes of Ralph Sampson, Moses Malone and the great Hakeem Olajuwon. Howard has large expectations to live up to (although admittedly not nearly as much as he did in L.A.), so expect him to be the main big guy on the floor.
Before Dwight Howard came along, Omer Asik was the Rockets' starting center, and a good one, too. Asik is one of the elite defensive centers in the league, and he improved upon his offensive game a tremendous amount last season.
The Rockets brought in Asik last season to be the starter, and now he doesn't seem thrilled to be coming off the bench like he used to in Chicago behind Joakim Noah. Asik is a respectable center and could easily find a starting role elsewhere, despite his hefty contract.
But the Rockets have no intention of relinquishing the big man's services. Asik will make a splendid backup for Howard, and that would provide the Rockets with constant rim protection. Asik can wreak havoc coming off the bench and would help make the Rockets one of the best defensive and rebounding teams in the entire NBA.
Since Howard's health is still an uncertainty, Asik will assuredly still get a large helping of minutes for the Rockets. He may not start, but he will still play a pivotal role for this Houston team.
The Rockets continue to add new faces, as they inked Marcus Camby to a one-year deal for the veterans' minimum this past week, as reported by ESPN.
The Rockets did not bring Camby in to contribute on the floor as much as to contribute off of it. Camby only appeared in 24 games for the New York Knicks last season, in which he averaged fewer than two points per game.
In his prime, Camby was a defensive and rebounding specialist. The Rockets brought him in as an additional coach on the sideline and as a mentor for Dwight Howard. Camby may not even dress out on several occasions.
Consider Camby a player-coach, similar to Juwan Howard last season for the champion Miami Heat. Howard rarely played, but he was an experienced vet who provided wisdom and motivation. Camby will play a role much like Howard did, hopefully yielding the same result.
As a last-minute addition before training camp begins, the Rockets singed Henriquez to a contract. Henriquez spent the last four years at Kansas State.
It is unlikely that Henriquez will have any impact on the Rockets this season or even in the future. The big man will spend the entire season with the Vipers in the D-League if he even makes it through camp.
You may never even hear his name again, but who knows? Stranger things have happened.
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