How are the Rockets good? Their success reminds me of a Dikembe Mutombo press conference--even though I don’t exactly get it, I absolutely love it.
Yao goes out for the year, Tracy McGrady’s career as a Rocket more or less expired, and they still found a way to be in playoff contention all season long. Those guys have been the staple of the franchise for years, and now, were M.I.A. all year...and the Rockets still found a way to finish two games above .500.
Aaron Brooks was an absolute stud this season, and will most likely win the Most Improved Player award. Luis Scola is underrated, and shouldn’t go unrecognized for getting 16 points and more than eight boards a game while shooting better than 50% from the field. Trevor Ariza outplayed his media proclaimed counterpart Ron Artest in just about every category, and Shane Battier did exactly what you would expect Shane Battier to do.
It wasn’t just the players that left it all out on the court however, the Houston Rockets front office had a spectacular season. They did everything right, whether it was the free agent signing of Ariza, bringing in Kyle Lowry, or trading for the draft-day slider and absolute steal Chase Buddinger. It seemed like every move they made panned out.
Then, the trade deadline came around and they absolutely nailed it out of the park (maybe they should have won that award?) by bringing in the big time scoring threat that they absolutely needed in Kevin Martin, as well as two former lottery picks in Hilton Armstrong and Jordan Hill. On top of that, they got the right to swap 2011 first rounders with the Knicks, who will probably be as bad as usual next year, as well as getting New York’s first rounder in 2012 outright.
Kevin Martin averaged better than 21 points a night in a Rocket uniform, and Jordan Hill has looked like he actually deserved to be in the lotto. This Rockets team is going to be trouble out west next year, mark my words.
I know I said they left it all on the floor, but I just felt the need to point out that this is going to be a team that will be starting Aaron Brooks and Kevin Martin in what will be sure to be a dynamic backcourt, with a frontcourt consisting of two consistent work horses in Trevor Ariza and Luis Scola, and this one 7’6 guy from China that we haven’t seen for a while.