It's about time! Ron Artest has officially moved from the Sacramento Kings to the Houston Rockets for veteran point guard Bobby Jackson, a player to be named (maybe potential star Donte Greene), and a future first-round pick, the Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday.
The Houston Rockets, in my opinion, are one of the most talented teams in the NBA now. Artest is exactly what they needed. Shane Battier did a great job at small forward, but was not the scorer that Tracy McGrady needed next to him.
McGrady and Yao Ming are some of the best at what they do, but due to the fact both have failed to stay consistently healthy, they have not been able to play with each other much.
McGrady and Yao are good friends, but just could not get past the first round. Shane Battier, Luis Scola, and Rafer Alston were supposed to be the right mix of players to get this team to the finals. With Yao hurt, though, we never really got to see if it would have worked.
Artest is a scorer who is arguably the best defender in the NBA. He can defend multiple positions and top players, including Kobe Bryant, Manu Ginobili, and LeBron James. Battier did a great job as a defender, but the scoring was not consistent. Artest brings that to the Rockets.
McGrady was looking for another player to take pressure off him. Artest can provide 20 points a night. Only problem I see is the question of how he'll do in a Princeton-type of offense the Rockets run, with backdoor cuts and ball movement. Artest is more of a one-on-one player.
Rick Adelman coached Artest in Sacramento for 40 games, including a playoff run they had against the Spurs despite the loss. Artest was given the ball and was told to take control. That is why Artest loved Adelman.
In Houston now with a more balanced team and 2 stars in McGrady and Yao, Artest will have to adjust to the ball movement. He will learn though. He wanted to win, and here's his chance.
What does this mean for Battier? Right now they could trade Battier. If I were in the Rockets situation, I would keep Battier, unless they can manage to get a quality haul for him. Battier can be a sixth man who can hit big shots and be a defensive stopper off the bench.
The lineup for the Rockets, in my opinion, has them a favorite to win the West, over the Lakers. The depth chart looks like this:
PG: Alston/Aaron Brooks (who will be a scorer off the bench and a player to watch next season)
SG: McGrady/Brent Barry/Luther Head
SF: Artest/Battier/Steve Novak
PF: Scola/Carl Landry (if re-sign)/Chuck Hayes
C: Yao/Dikembe Mutombo/Joey Dorsey
They have the all the pieces. The veterans and the young talent.
The lineup is deep. Rick Adelman has a lineup where he can play a post-up game with Yao and a lineup that can run you with Scola moved to center and Artest moved to PF.
All of this is meant to take pressure off McGrady and Yao. They are deep and have one of the best coaching minds in the game.
The Kings, on the other end, get a veteran in Jackson, whom would make sense to keep around for leadership, and an extra first-round pick to build with. Donte Greene has abilities to develop into a star. Kevin Martin will also be the leader now and will not disappoint.
Overall, this deal works for everyone. As a McGrady fan, it makes me really happy. The team that won 22 straight last season will be the favorite to win it all next year. I called the Celtics winning it this year and I am going with the Rockets to take it next season.