Monday, July 14, 2014

Houston Rockets: Dreams of Hope and Glory come crashing down.

As the Rockets emerge from their horrible, no-good, disaster of a start to the free agent season it's tempting to say while the team has regressed there are still some options for the team to improve but doing so requires taking the secretarial path and ignoring the fact that Morey has taken the team down this road before.

In fact, it's probable that what we're seeing now are the inevitable results of having a General Manager who cannot quit tinkering with the team despite himself. There was a school of thought that suggested the Rockets could move Lin and Asik, wait on the Parsons decision and spend the off-season shoring up the point and the bench. This would have been the prudent pathway, and would have improved the team, but it wouldn't go very far in the way of scratching Morey's seemingly unreachable itch for big FA signings.

So, for now, the Rockets are re-visiting a previous mistake (Ariza), admitting they made a mistake on two previous "big splash" FA signings (Lin, Asik) and are left scratching their heads as Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks pulled a Daryl Morey on Daryl Morey.  Hardly something befitting Morey's media-generated reputation as the "smartest guy in the room".

In their current iteration, the Rockets appear to have regressed. Where last year they finished the season as a four-seed (who flamed out in the first round of the playoffs) this season, with this roster, they appear to be headed toward a sixth-or-seventh (or even eighth) seed and another first round playoff dismissal. At least, for now, the East seems to have benefitted the most from the movement of off-season talent while the West figures to have stayed mostly pat.

One thing that has not received a lot of run among the so-called "smart-set" in the Houston media is whether or not Houston is setting itself up for return of the Dwight-mare.  Given that Lin, Parsons and Dwight were tight and that Morey has destroyed that core by first dissing Lin and then letting Parsons walk raises the real potential that Howard could once again decide that he's not happy in his current situation and move to get out.

It doesn't seem, a this point, that Howard is all that thrilled to be sharing the court with James "Sixth Man" Harden and I can't see him being happy with an off-season that's currently the equivalent of trading Asik, Lin, Parsons and a 2nd round pick for Ariza.  Even if the Rockets can trade for Rondo, is he really all that much of an upgrade over Patrick Beverley given this team, and this line-up? As an individual talent yes, but in McHale's scheme I don't think Rondo move the needle all that much, possibly lifting the Rockets to a potential fifth or sixth seed at best.

More concerning is the fact that the laundry list of Morey failures is getting long. From Lin to Asik to Bosh (twice) to Anthony to (amazingly) LeBron to Parsons to Ariza (again?) to Royce White to a host of draft picks and free agents that seem overvalued by Morey and undervalued by everyone else the Rockets appear to be a ship that's listing along minus the engine of discipline.

There's no doubt that Morey is a smart man and that he can, at times, come out the best in a deal against another General Manager. However, there is significant doubt as to whether or not this same man has the discipline and long-term planning that's required to build a championship team.

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