Before the Rockets snagged their franchise 2-guard, they were seen as something of a stumbling experiment in off-season missteps.
Jeremy Lin was signed to an extravagant deal, one that Houston deemed fit after Lin’s 35 games as a Knickerbocker (25 started). They went and signed Carlos Delfino in the dead of night. Houston also traded away Courtney Lee to the Celtics for former Purdue forward JaJuan Johnson…whom they eventually waived…
At this point in the season, it’s time the Rockets received some praise. Like Lin, Omer Asik signed a similarly back-loaded deal. 27 games in, here they sit. Houston is third place in their division, sitting on a 16-12 record.
Part of the Rockets’ good news, Asik is growing into a legitimate starting center. After being handed double the minutes he received as a Bull, Asik is averaging a double-double at 10.9 ppg and 11.6 rpg. He’s also chipping in about a block and a steal per game. Arguably most important is that the 7 footer from Turkey is perhaps Houston’s first considerable post presence since Yao Ming towered over all creation.
Houston has witnessed a serious offensive uptick. Scoring 106 points per game, the Rockets are putting up the most points on a nightly basis in the NBA. With a pace factor of 96.3, Houston is currently tops in the league in that category. They’ve scored at least 120 points six times this season, including a cartoonish line against the Knicks.
Though Lin isn’t exactly inspiring “Linsanity” chants, he’s not quite regressing either. He went from 27 to just under 32 minutes per game and the only stat that’s seen a step back is his points per game (from 14.6 to 11.3). One can safely assume that to be a natural regression when sharing a back court with one of the league’s best 2-guards.
Naturally, the question then becomes whether or not Houston is a play-off threat in the East. As long as they manage to get-and stay-healthy, they should at least make some noise.
Mohamed Abdihakim is a journalism student at Florida Atlantic University. He is a Phoenix Suns fan, who is not prepared for the possibility of Nash winning a title in a Lakers jersey. Mohamed is also an editor at Hoops Nation and contributes to Les Snobs. Interests include International basketball, Mad Men, and blues music. Nearly all stats are credited to Hoopdata or Basketball-Reference.
Twitter handle: @Abdi_hakim