James Harden and Dwight Howard are the dynamic duo for the Houston Rockets, but will they fight over the ball?
Training camp is underway for the Houston Rockets, but there are still a lot of misconceptions about this year's team.
With a handful of new players under contract, there are still some question marks for this Houston roster. Fans are wondering how Dwight Howard and other new players will fit in to coach Kevin McHale's system. Some might think they have it figured out, but there are still plenty of theories that are off the mark.
Here's a look at a few misconceptions about the Houston Rockets and why they are wrong.
Dwight Howard and Omer Asik Can Play Together
There has been ongoing speculation that the Rockets will try to move Howard to power forward so he and Asik can play together. This is a nice idea in theory but, in practice, it would not work out too well.
First of all, Howard is the best center in the game. It would be a mistake to move him to a different position when he is so naturally gifted at the 5. It makes more sense to have Asik come off the bench than it does to make a better center step aside and try a new position.
Secondly, playing the two big men at the same time could cause some logistical issues.
With both Howard and Asik in the paint on defense, teams would have a nightmare scoring inside. However, teams with good shooters would have a field day because the Rockets would be clogged up in the middle. Especially for teams that play with the stretch 4, the corner three would be open all day long.
Howard is an elite rim protector, but he can't be expected to guard a shooter at the perimeter. It's just not his game, and it's also a complete waste of his dynamic defense down low.
The twin towers idea would not work too well on offense either. With Howard and Asik crowding the middle, there would not be a lot of space for Harden to knife his way inside. Harden is one of the best in the league at attacking the rim, but he can't do it if there are a plethora of giants in his way.
Neither Howard nor Asik are particularly good in the low post, and the Rockets ran very few post-up plays last year. The Rockets liked to run the court and launch threes, and having Asik and Howard both on the floor would ruin that game plan.
Howard Will Steal Touches from Harden on Offense
Last season, the majority of Houston's offense ran directly through James Harden. Harden was the primary ball-handler and would either run the pick-and-roll or isolate himself for the one-on-one matchup against his defender.
Now, Dwight Howard is in the mix, and he probably wants the ball too.
Last season, Howard was reportedly upset by his amount of touches compared to Kobe Bryant's. This season, Howard will have to grow up and realize that this is the best way to run the offense. Howard and Harden could run an unstoppable pick-and-roll together.
Despite his workouts with the former Rocket great Hakeem Olajuwon, Howard still has a very limited post game. Like I said earlier, the Rockets ran very few plays from the post last year, and probably don't plan on starting anytime soon. Howard may get a few opportunities to post up per game, but that's about it.
Harden will still do the primary ball-handling, and the Rockets will run the pick-and-roll for the vast majority of their possessions. With Howard and Harden running the pick-and-roll, they will each get plenty of easy baskets or at least draw the foul inside. Also, Harden could kick the ball out to one of the Rockets' many three-point shooters for wide open looks.
The pick-and-roll for the Rockets will be key this year, but the post game will be a non-factor.
Patrick Beverley Should Start Over Jeremy Lin
The starting point guard debate has been going on since the Rockets' playoff loss versus the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Jeremy Lin suffered a chest injury after a couple of poor performances and lost the good graces of the Houston fans. In the six-game series, Lin averaged only 4.0 points and 2.0 assists per contest, and shot only 16.7 percent from deep.
Meanwhile, his backup Patrick Beverley played a strong, hard-fought series. Beverley put up 11.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game and played well defensively.
Heading into the new season, Rockets fans are pushing for Beverley to start in place of Lin.
Beverley is definitely a better fit alongside James Harden. Both Harden and Lin like to run the pick-and-roll, which requires them to have the ball, but there's only one ball. Beverley is a better spot-up shooter from deep, and he can defend opposing point guards better than Lin.
All of the evidence points to Beverley. So why is this a misconception?
There are a few reasons why Lin should hold on to the starting job. First of all, Lin brings in a much bigger fan market because of his Asian-American heritage. I know this is not a reason to start someone in the NBA, but the Rockets really do reap the benefits from Lin's international recognition and popularity.
Secondly, Beverley's style of play is meant for a role player coming off the bench. Beverley's all-out hustle could not sustain a starter's minutes. Beverley gives it his all every time he's on the floor, but neither him nor the Rockets can afford to be running hectically for 48 minutes a night. In the playoff series against OKC, Beverley averaged four fouls per game. With starters' minutes, he would foul out before half time.
Lastly, at the end of the day, Lin is a better player. Lin is a better facilitator and playmaker with the ball in his hands. He also is a much better passer if he can manage his turnovers. Lin has been working hard all summer long and will continue to get better each and every day.
Who should start at point guard?
Schematically, Beverley is a better fit next to Harden in the backcourt. The Rockets coaching staff needs to figure out a way to stagger Lin's minutes with and without Harden. If Harden is on the bench, Lin should be in the game running the pick-and-roll. The majority of Beverley's minutes should be with Harden so he can spot up.
Yes, Beverley is a better fit with Harden, but he should not start ahead of Lin. Lin is the best option for starting point guard on the team.