Houston Rockets: SCS Round Table: Regular Season Part 3

Oct 30, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Fans arrive at Toyota Center before a game between the Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Space City Scoop writing team offer our annual Houston Rockets Round Table sessions. Next up the Regular Season, part 3.

Next up the SCS team dives deeper into the Houston Rockets with the staff predicting how the regular season will play out.

This segment of the round table focuses on the regular season which is broken into 4 sections.  Part 3 examines how each of Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon and Patrick Gordon will affect the Rockets this season. Furthermore the team dives into where the Rockets are vulnerable and opine on which player would push the Rockets into “Super Team” territory.

We invite you to peruse our input and offer your own opinions in the comments section at the end of the post.

Contributing to the series are Space City Scoop writers:

  • Andre Cantalogo @dededeco
  • Ben Casey @benlikesbball
  • Coty Davis @Mr_Thriller83
  • Jason Gomez @jasongomez28
  • Tamberlyn Richardson @TTOTambz

Nov 12, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) celebrates a made three-point basket against the San Antonio Spurs during the first quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Q11: Ryan Anderson has historically been hit by the injury bug, missing multiple games every season. If he can stay healthy what do you think his top line stats will be this season?

Andre: Here’s to hoping the Anderson experiment works. I predict Ryno gets 18.6 points per game and 7.0 rebounds while playing north of 32 minutes per game.

Ben: In a best case scenario, Ryan Anderson could average around 18-20 points per game, shooting 43% from the arc, along with 7 or 8 rebounds per game. If he can stay healthy, I think that stat line is realistic. He fits perfectly with Harden and has all the range in the world. On many nights, defenses will have to choose between giving Harden an and-1 and giving Anderson an open long bomb. Note: even in a best case scenario though, his defense still won’t be good—just passable.

Coty: If Anderson can stay healthy, I am expecting an all-star year. With that said, I am predicting a career-best 20 points per game.

Jason: If healthy Anderson is a 3pt stud. He will thrive with D’Antoni

Tamberlyn: I wasn’t a fan of this signing unless he was going to be utilized as the 6th man (and signed for far less money/years). He’ll get tons of shots up in D’Antoni’s system, but how much will he give up on the other end? A great season would see him come close to 20 and 8 , but I think he’ll be closer to 15 and 5.

Nov 7, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon (10) and Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) battle for the ball in the third quarter at Verizon Center. The Rockets won 114-106. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Q12: Eric Gordon has also missed multiple games the past few seasons, but arrived to camp looking extremely fit. Again, if Gordon can stay on the court what expectations do you have for him (in terms of his role and his stats).

Andre: Eric Gordon is better suited coming off the bench to start the season. Gordon leading the second unit playing 25-30 minutes per game and registering 15 points and 3 assists is a realistically prediction I guess.

Ben: First off, Gordon staying healthy is much more realistic than it is for Anderson. I have high hopes for both, but nearly all of Gordon’s injuries have been on his upper body. Shoulder and hand injuries are usually far less likely to reoccur than knee issues. As I said before, I’d love to see Gordon come off the bench. If he does, I think his ceiling is as high as winning Sixth Man of the Year. He could shoot 40% from three and 50% overall, and add an average of 5 boards and 3 assists to that.

Coty: If Gordon can stay healthy, I believe he can win Sixth Man of the Year honors. With that said, I am predicting 15 points per game off the bench.

Jason: Gordon is a combo guard who will help create and run the offense. One year he only trailed Kyle Korver in 3pt percentage

Tamberlyn: I have to admit Gordon has impressed me beginning with the shape he arrived to camp in, his effort on the defensive end (I was convinced he wouldn’t even try – and I was wrong) and his ability to create shots for himself and others. I anticipate he’ll be in the running for 6th man and be used at end of games paired with Harden.  I have a feeling this could be a rebound year for him and though he won’t have starter minutes I think he’ll replicate his numbers from last year as he feasts on opposing teams benches: 17 points, 3 rebounds, 2 to 3 assists and over 40% from three.

Apr 24, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) gets position on Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) in the first half in game four of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Golden State Warriors won 121 to 94. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Q13: Patrick Beverley has already suffered two separate injuries in preseason. Given the way Beverley plays Is it realistic to expect him to remain healthy? Should D’Antoni temper PBev’s minutes since he has several viable options he can utilize in the backcourt?

Andre: Patrick Beverley‘s minutes hinge on the emergence (or not) of Tyler Ennis. If he proves capable of contributing in whatever minutes Harden leaves for him, Beverley might even be placed on the trading block.

Ben: Knee issues always make me nervous because of their habit of nagging a player for years. As long as Patrick is healthy, however, I think he should play as much as he’s needed. I wouldn’t send him out for 40 minutes a night, but I wouldn’t limit him to 20 minutes either. The Rockets don’t have the personnel to hound opposing point guards outside of Beverley. It’s a good thing that D’Antoni has other point guards at his disposal to fall back on in case of injury, but there’s no reason to send out lesser players until it’s necessary.

Coty: No. Patrick Beverley is Houston’s best perimeter defender. Much like Corey Brewer, the  Rocketswill need all the help they can get on defense.

Jason: With the tenacity that Beverly plays I think he can stay be an asset to the team as long as he doesn’t lose a step and continue to shoot the ball well.

Tamberlyn: With Beverley being injured most of the preseason we are all left wondering how much the Rockets can improve defensively with him on the court. He’s quickly becoming a player with the injury prone tag though.  I think he’ll be the first guy replaced when D’Antoni goes to his bench to try to offset over utilization. Getting him healthy to April has to be the focus.

Q14: The 2016-17 roster is deep with plenty of versatility. That said at what position are the Rockets are most vulnerable?

Andre: Power forward. Harrell is not tall enough to share this position with Ryan Anderson. Conversely Nene can play PF but then the team is left thin on Center. I don’t buy Ariza playing the 4 as well. I believe the Rockets is lacking one big man. If either Onuaku or Wiltjer makes the team it eases up this problem to some extent.

Ben: Because there are so many players on the team who can line up at multiple positions, Houston’s roster isn’t very vulnerable in most places. However, there are only two true centers on the team at the moment. Capela has shown no signs of slowing down anytime soon, but Nene is aging rapidly and hasn’t played more than 70 games since 2010-2011. After those two, the center position is pretty dry. Onuaku could play center, but he’s undersized and lacks experience. Motiejunas would be a great fit for center, but he still hasn’t signed a contract.

Coty: Since trading away Steve Francis in 2004, the point guard is still the Rockets’ most  vulnerable position. Sure, Harden maybe the full-time point guard this season. However, it is just another reminder that the Rockets have yet to acquire a reliable player.

Jason: Center. During preseason trez was getting run and he is undersized but I’m not sure in today’s league that matters

Tamberlyn: Center: all the more reason why Donatas Motiejunas needs to be dealt with.

Rockets GM Daryl Morey sits courtside at Madison Square Garden

Rockets GM Daryl Morey sits courtside at Madison Square Garden

Q15: In an ideal world what player should Morey target to push the Rockets over the top and explain why?

Andre: I’ve just read a report that says LaMarcus Aldridge might not even finish the year with the Spurs. So why not go for that? A pack of Brewer, Ariza and Beverley plus a 1st round pick works on ESPN’s trade machine but in reality that’s a long long shot.

Ben: While Ariza will do for now, the Rockets have no long-term plan for defending the league’s best forwards. KJ McDaniels could line up against 3s, but is too small to bang with most power forwards. That being said, a viable trade would be dealing Corey Brewer, new acquisition Tyler Ennis, and a future pick to the Raptors for DeMarre Carroll. Carroll is a great 3 and D guy, and the Raptors could use help in transition where Brewer thrives. Something like that isn’t pressing, but before too long Ariza will no longer be able to defend like he can now.

Coty: The Rockets should try and strike a deal for Kings unhappy All-Star DeMarcus Cousins. With players like Clint Capela, KJ McDaniels, and Sam Dekker, the Rockets have some young and talented players to gain the Kings’ interest.

Jason: I think any trade Morey might do coul actually do more harm than good.

Tamberlyn: The Rockets are deep at most positions and seemingly have guys who can play multiple positions. Ideally I’d still like to see Daryl Morey shore up his small forward position with a 3 and D player who can be the heir apparent to Ariza.

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