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Pretty Much Screwed: The 2013-14 Houston Rockets

  • Jake O'Donnell

Welcome to “Pretty Much Screwed,” our definitive guide to the upcoming NBA season. This team-by-team preview details why it’s probably not your favorite team’s year. Today: We’ll explain why the Houston Rockets are just another stop on the Dwight Howard circus tour. And that there’s no hope for the future.

Good job injuring Russell Westbrook, you guys. As if that wasn’t the douchiest thing you could do in 2013 — ruining the chances of a Finals rematch between the Heat and Thunder — you went out and signed Dwight Howard.

That’s like dating a stripper. Seems fun until she burns your house down.

Don’t come crying to SportsGrid when he forgets how to turn on that switch he’s had off for two years now. You knew what you were getting into. Worst case scenario: Dwight’s back prevents him being the rebounding/defensive/basket hanging stud he once was.

Best case scenario: You’re the 2009 Orlando Magic. Congratulations there, buddy.

Here’s why you’re screwed. You’ve created a team of three-point shooters to spread the floor so that Dwight Howard and Omir Asik can operate underneath the basket without getting double teamed, except Howard doesn’t play nice with other bigs (see Gasol, Pau). He will bitch about this because it won’t work for him, Omir, or Kevin McHale. Shit storm on the horizon.

Then there’s the undeniable fact that Howard doesn’t play well with other stars who aren’t point guards primarily tasked with getting him the ball en route to a dunk (see Bryant, Kobe, and Nelson, Jameer). Is James Harden ready to be Rashard Lewis? I doubt it. This will be a huge issue at some point this season, as the two struggle to gain control of the offense, and assert an identity for the team.

Right there you’ve got all the ingredients for Dwight to be a frowny face all season.

Boo hoo.

Another issue, will be sifting out the point guard situation — which will be paramount to Dwight’s success. Jeremy Lin isn’t an efficient enough shooter or passer to make up for his defensive limitations. Patrick Beverley, the guy who will eventually replace Lin this season, isn’t exactly a star in the making, either.

Once again, Dwight has only been effective with the help of an exceptional point guard. Neither of their options in Houston are special.

The PG competition could be an issue this season if both players end up shooting around 30% from three and struggle keeping guys in front of them, causing Dwight to get into foul trouble as he shifts over to help. It could be a huge issue if they can’t get him the ball — they averaged a combined eight assists per game last season. That could be this team’s undoing unless Harden decides to give up five shots a game and dump it down low more often.

That and the fact that six teams in Western Conference have better point guards and are generally better teams.

Let’s see, there’s the Spurs (Parker), the Clippers (Paul), the Grizzlies (Conley), the Warriors (Curry), the Nuggets (Lawson), and the Thunder (Westbrook). Ya, the Houston Rockets are still screwed. And that’s not even considering that they still owe Jeremy Lin $20 over the next two seasons. Good luck signing anyone this offseason after you get bounced in the first round by one of the six teams who are better than you. You’ll be paying $11M for a shitty backup point guard.

Actual Season Prediction: 43-39. First round exit. Dwight Howard shows flashes of what could be, but ultimately says dumb shit all season, misses 15 games, and detracts from James Harden’s effectiveness as a leader.

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