Houston Rockets Daily Rocket Science: Views From the Doghouse

In today’s DRS, could another year in Houston’s doghouse spell the end of K.J. McDaniels’ career with the Houston Rockets?

Following their 130-114 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, the Houston Rockets won two of their first five games of their West Coast road trip.

With a record of 11-6 and sitting second in the Southwest Division standing, it’s safe to say that Mike D’Antoni has set his rotations for the 2017 Rockets roster.

While Sam Dekker, Nene, and Eric Gordon found solid spots in D’Antoni’s rotation, fans may have to wait another year before their favorite high flyer, K.J. McDaniels, can take flight in Houston.

Unless the Rockets get hit by the unwanted injury bug, The Dream Shake Ethan Rothstein says McDaniels will continue to be on the outside looking in.

Over the last seven games, K.J. McDaniels has seen the floor just once, for five minutes in the Rockets’ first blowout win over Portland. That game was also the last action for Tyler Ennis, who also saw five garbage time minutes in Beverley’s season debut. Bobby Brown, we hardly knew ye: he’s played just 22 minutes all year. Here’s the thing: it’s working. Even Corey Brewer has turned his season around, and now that Beverley is back, Two of Bev, Gordon and Harden are always on the floor. When Harden goes out, now this is happening.

While McDaniels endure another season buried at the end of the Rockets bench, Dekker has found new life under D’Antoni.

After a back injury robbed him of his rookie season, the former Wisconsin Badger is playing his best ball of his young pro career. With his confidence at an all-time high, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicles says Dekker has compared his game to Trevor Ariza.

Dekker has progressed well enough for Ariza to like the comparison, too. After back surgery last season limited Dekker to just six minutes beyond his stints in rehab and the NBA Development League, Dekker has made 51.4 percent of his shots, 44.8 percent of his 3s. But there remains much to learn on both sides of the ball.

Even though it’s too early to early to predict a clear frontrunner for MVP, the 2017 season may produce the most entering race in league history. From Russell Westbrook to DeMar DeRozen, almost every all-star is making a strong case for MVP. And of course, one of the top candidates making a case for himself is James Harden.

Since the position change to point guard, Harden went from Shaqtin-a-Fool MVP to arguably the top player in the league.

While every NBA analyst who has a new profound respect for Harden, Bleacher Reports Adam Fromal has yet to name The Beard the NBA’s best point guard.

Yes, James Harden is a full-time point guard now. Whereas no more than 2 percent of his minutes have come at the 1 in previous seasons—last year, he even spent 21 percent of his playing time as a small forward—he’s lining up as a floor general for 98 percent of his run in 2016-17. And the transition has worked.

Harden may still fall short of his first MVP title, but The Bearded One is no longer the butt of all NBA jokes.

Enjoy the season Red Nation and be sure to stay connected with Space City Scoop as our amazing team of writers keep you abreast of all things Houston Rockets.

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