Category Archives: Houston Rockets

Grading the Chris Paul trade to the Rockets

The Los Angeles Clippers traded star point guard Chris Paul to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Sam Dekker, Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, DeAndre Liggins, Darrun Hilliard, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Wiltjer, and a 2018 1st round pick.

 

Clippers grade:

This is a devastating loss for the Clippers to lose Chris Paul as the team did everything that they could to try and keep him. However, Paul informed the Clippers that he was going to re-sign with the Rockets in free agency so the Clippers had no choice except to sign and trade Paul in order to not lose him for nothing. Acquiring Lou Williams and Patrick Beverley will help fill the void at the point guard position for the Clippers after the departure of Paul. Beverley and Williams are decent point guards, but neither will help to replace Paul. The 2018 1st round pick that the Clippers received should help them rebuild and possibly find another guard to replace Paul. Also, the Clippers received a couple of decent role players with Sam Dekker and Montrezl Harrell that should give the Clippers more depth in the frontcourt. The other 3 players that Los Angeles received are just benchwarmers at best and they probably won’t even make the Clippers roster next season. Overall, it is good that the Clippers at least got something in return for Paul since they were going to lose him to the Rockets in free agency anyway. However, it is still a major loss for the Clippers and it won’t be easy to replace him.

Grade: C-

Rockets grade:

The Houston Rockets have been looking for a star player to pair with James Harden and it seems that they have finally found the perfect player by acquiring Chris Paul. This trade will help make the Rockets a true finals contender in the very crowded western conference. It is not ideal to give up a 2018 1st round pick for Paul especially since he was already going to sign with Houston in free agency anyway. However, this trade is worth it because it makes the Rockets an immediate contender to overtake Golden State in the western conference. Paul only has 1 year left on his contract with the Rockets which means that he might go elsewhere after next season. The Rockets are a playoff team for sure, but with the addition of Paul they should be a top 5 NBA team at least for next season.

Grade: A

Free Agent that Every team must re-sign this offseason

Atlanta Hawks – Paul Millsap – Power Forward – 2016 Stats: 18.1 PPG and 7.7 RPG

Paul Millsap is one of the best free agents available this offseason and he is by far the best player that the Hawks have. Atlanta isn’t a very good team with Millsap, but without him the Hawks likely aren’t even a playoff contender. If Atlanta doesn’t re-sign Millsap then it could be the beginning of a very lengthy rebuild for the Hawks.

Boston Celtics – Kelly Olynyk – Center – 2016 Stats: 9 PPG and 4.8 RPG

Kelly Olynyk isn’t a starter for the Celtics, but he is perhaps the most important role player that the team has on their roster. Olynyk is still only 26 years old and even though he won’t make a huge impact when he’s on the floor he still is a player that they must retain for depth purposes. Olynyk is a restricted free agent this offseason so I’d be shocked if the Celtics let him go especially if he doesn’t cost much money.

Brooklyn Nets – Randy Foye – Shooting Guard – 2016 Stats: 5.2 PPG and 2.2 RPG

Randy Foye is the only pending free agent for the Nets this offseason so I obviously had to pick him as the player that the team must re-sign. Foye won’t provide much besides a good 3-point shooter for the team off the bench. Foye is worth keeping around for the Nets since he’ll be a valuable veteran presence for a very young Nets team that is in a very lengthy rebuild right now.

Charlotte Hornets – Christian Wood – Power Forward – 2016 Stats: 2.7 PPG and 2.2 RPG

It won’t hurt the Hornets if they don’t re-sign Wood since he is basically a benchwarmer for the team. However, Wood is only 21 years old and he was projected to be a 1st round pick in the 2015 NBA draft before he ultimately went undrafted. Wood just needs an opportunity to show his talent and he would be really cheap for the Hornets to re-sign this offseason. We’ll see if Charlotte chooses to keep him around, but he is worth keeping since he is a young player with some potential to be a decent role player for the team.

Chicago Bulls – Nikola Mirotic – Power Forward – 2016 Stats: 10.6 PPG and 5.5 RPG

Nikola Mirotic isn’t a starter for the Bulls, but he has been the most productive role player that the team has. Mirotic is a consistent player as he has averaged double digits in scoring during his first 3 seasons in the NBA. Also, he is still only 26 years old which means he could be a productive player for the Bulls for many years to come. The good news is that Mirotic is only a restricted free agent which means Chicago has a very good chance of bringing him back since they have his exclusive negotiating rights.

Cleveland Cavaliers – Deron Williams – Point Guard – 2016 Stats: 11 PPG and 5.6 APG

Deron Williams came to the Cavaliers from the Mavericks during the 2016 season and he was still a productive point guard despite seeing his role reduced from being a starter to a role player with the Cavaliers. Williams could probably be a decent starting point guard for a non-contending team, but if he wants to win then the Cavaliers definitely give him the best chance of doing so. However, he will have to embrace his role as a backup point guard since Kyrie Irving is clearly the point guard of the present and future for Cleveland. It might not be easy for Cleveland to re-sign Williams given their current cap situation and he might have better offers from other teams. However, Williams is a productive role player that Cleveland can’t afford to lose.

Dallas Mavericks – Nerlens Noel – Center – 2016 Stats: 8.7 PPG and 5.8 RPG

Nerlens Noel hasn’t been the dominant center that many people thought that he would be when he entered the NBA. However, the good news is that Noel is only 23 years old and he is still a really talented player that could develop into a great player for the Mavericks. Dallas gave up a lot in order to acquire Noel and I’m sure they’ll do anything to make sure that he is the franchise centerpiece for many years to come.

Denver Nuggets – Danilo Gallinari – Small Forward – 2016 Stats: 18.2 PPG and 5.1 RPG

The Denver Nuggets have plenty of young talent on their roster, but perhaps no player is more important to them than Danilo Gallinari. He isn’t a flashy player, but he does many things well including scoring points and he is still only 28 years old. Gallinari will be one of the top 2nd-tier free agents available in this free agent class which means he’ll likely receive a big contract. The good news is that the Nuggets have as much financial flexibility as any other team, but the question is how much they will bid in order to retain him. Gallinari has been a very good starter for the Nuggets for many years and it would be a big loss if he were to leave in free agency.

Detroit Pistons – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – Shooting Guard – 2016 Stats: 13.8 PPG and 3.3 RPG

Detroit has a really young and talented backcourt with point guard Reggie Jackson and shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Caldwell-Pope is only 24 years old and he is only getting better. Caldwell-Pope isn’t a great starter, but he knows how to score effectively despite being just an average to below average shooter. The Pistons could find a better shooting guard than him, but without him the Pistons would be lost since they don’t have much depth at the position behind him.

Golden State Warriors – Stephen Curry – Point Guard – 2016 Stats: 25.3 PPG and 6.6 APG

When Golden State drafted Stephen Curry with the 7th overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft the team wasn’t even close to the playoffs. However, Curry has turned around the franchise from a non-playoff team into a championship contender every season. Curry is one of the best shooters in the history of the NBA and he is also one of the best players overall in the NBA today as evidenced by winning the NBA MVP in 2015 and 2016. Golden State would probably still be a playoff team without him, but Curry is the player that the franchise revolves around and they would be a much worse team without him. There will probably be many teams that would try to sign Curry, although the Warriors will likely do anything it takes to re-sign him this offseason.

Houston Rockets – Nene Hilario – Center – 2016 Stats: 9.1 PPG and 4.2 RPG

Nene isn’t a quality starting center like he used to be, but he is still a very productive role player for the Houston Rockets. He isn’t a good shooter, although he is a player that dominates the paint and has a high field goal percentage because he almost always takes high percentage shots in the paint area. The only concern for him is that he is 34 years old, so his time in the NBA seems to be winding down. However, the Rockets could re-sign him at a cheap price and that would be important to do so since he is a very key player off the bench.

Indiana Pacers – Jeff Teague – Point Guard – 2016 Stats: 15.3 PPG and 7.8 APG

Jeff Teague continues to be one of the most productive players in the NBA currently and Indiana is a team that doesn’t have many quality players other than Teague and Paul George. The Pacers will likely lose George soon which means that it is even more important that the Pacers do everything they can in order to re-sign Teague. Teague is a really good scorer and he also does a good job of controlling Indiana’s offense. He will almost certainly receive quality offers from other teams, but Indiana absolutely must retain him this offseason.

Los Angeles Clippers – J.J. Redick – Shooting Guard – 2016 Stats: 15 PPG and 2.2 RPG

When people think of the Los Angeles Clippers they usually think of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan. However, there is one player that might be just as valuable as those guys and that is J.J. Redick. Redick is a tremendous 3-point shooter and he is a really good scorer overall, but his consistent play has often been overshadowed by the other 3 players listed above. Redick will likely want a major pay raise this offseason which will make it very difficult for the Clippers to bring him back. Redick is one of the best shooters in the NBA and the Clippers just wouldn’t be nearly the same team without him.

Los Angeles Lakers – Nick Young – Shooting Guard – 2016 Stats: 13.2 PPG and 2.3 RPG

Nick Young has seemed to be more of a problem than a solution for the Lakers in recent years, but he is still a good shooter and that will be difficult for the Lakers to replace if he leaves. The Lakers recently traded away young shooting guard D’Angelo Russell which makes it more important for the Lakers to re-sign Young. They have basically no depth at shooting guard behind Young and even if Young isn’t a starter moving forward they still should at least re-sign him as a key role player.

Memphis Grizzlies – Zach Randolph – Power Forward – 2016 Stats: 14.1 PPG and 8.2 RPG

Zach Randolph is one of the most underrated players in the NBA and he might even be the most important player that the Grizzlies have. Randolph is one of the most physical players in the NBA and that is the identity that the Grizzlies want. Randolph isn’t the same dominant force that he once was, but he is still a really good power forward in the NBA. He is 35 years old, so the Grizzlies will have to find him a replacement sometime soon, but they need to make sure that he finishes his career in Memphis.

Miami Heat – Dion Waiters – Shooting Guard – 2016 Stats: 15.8 PPG and 4.3 APG

Dion Waiters hasn’t been an elite player like some expected when he was drafted a few years ago, but he proved last year for Miami that he can be a good starting shooting guard in the NBA. Waiters had big shoes to fill after the departure of Dwayne Wade and Waiters certainly didn’t do a bad job as Wade’s replacement. Waiters is also only 25 years old, so he could be a key piece to Miami’s future. The Heat have many needs left on their roster and they can’t afford to let Waiters depart in free agency.

Milwaukee Bucks – Michael Beasley – Small Forward – 2016 Stats: 9.4 PPG and 3.5 RPG

Michael Beasley hasn’t been a star player like many people had hoped after he was selected 2nd overall in the 2008 NBA draft. However, he has become a very reliable role player especially with the Milwaukee Bucks in limited playing time last season. Beasley is a very good scorer and he was a key player in their playoff run last season. Beasley could be a starter for Milwaukee and he certainly deserves more playing time. However, the Bucks would be silly to let a productive player like Beasley go in free agency.

Minnesota Timberwolves – Shabazz Muhammad – Small Forward – 2016 Stats: 9.9 PPG and 2.8 RPG

Shabazz Muhammad is a tremendously talented player that has yet to receive extended playing time because of the amount of talent on the Timberwolves roster. Muhammad has proven that he can be an effective role player as he had 9.9 PPG in just under 20 minutes per game. Muhammad is a restricted free agent, so the Timberwolves should definitely be able to bring him back and that would be wise since he is their best role player.

New Orleans Pelicans – Jrue Holiday – Point Guard – 2016 Stats: 15.4 PPG and 7.3 APG

It is difficult to find starting point guards in the NBA that can score as effectively as Holiday can. However, Holiday is also an effective passer as well which makes him a very well-rounded player. Holiday will surely have many offers from other teams in free agency because there aren’t many free agent point guards as talented as Holiday is. The Pelicans need to do anything necessary in order to re-sign Holiday because they likely won’t be able to acquire a point guard better than him.

New York Knicks – Derrick Rose – Point Guard – 2016 Stats: 18 PPG and 4.4 APG

The New York Knicks had a disappointing season in 2016, but the performance from Derrick Rose overall was a bright spot for the team. Rose is more of a shooting guard because he isn’t a great passer, but he certainly has the ability to score points in bunches. Rose was an NBA MVP not too long ago with Chicago, but he hasn’t been the same player ever since his devastating knee injury years ago. Rose will generate tons of interest in free agency from other teams and it might be difficult for the Knicks to keep him. However, if New York loses Rose in free agency then it would be a big setback for the Knicks.

Oklahoma City Thunder – Taj Gibson – Power Forward – 2016 Stats: 10.8 PPG and 6.3 RPG

Taj Gibson came to Oklahoma City this past season from Chicago via a trade and he went on to start 16 games for the Thunder while averaging 9 points per game. Gibson was a big upgrade over what Oklahoma City had at the power forward position and if the Thunder lose him in free agency then it would be a big loss for the team. Gibson isn’t a flashy player, yet he is very reliable and consistent and that is exactly why the Thunder need to re-sign him at least as a role player.

Orlando Magic – Jeff Green – Small Forward – 2016 Stats: 9.2 PPG and 3.1 RPG

Jeff Green isn’t a quality starting small forward like he once was when he was with the Celtics. However, Green provides veteran leadership on a young Orlando team and he is also a consistent role player off the bench. Green provides much needed depth at small forward/power forward for the Magic and without him they will lack a key versatile player at both of those positions.

Philadelphia 76ers – Sergio Rodriguez – Point Guard – 2016 Stats: 7.8 PPG and 5.1 APG

Sergio Rodriguez made his debut in the NBA in 2006 with Portland and his first NBA stint lasted through the 2009 season without much success. However, he attempted an NBA comeback last season with the 76ers and he had a career year in both points per game and assists per game. Rodriguez isn’t a great scorer, but he proved that he can be a very good passer which is what makes him a decent backup point guard for Philadelphia. He is worth keeping around because of his valuable experience and passing skills. Also, he shouldn’t cost much at all which should make it very easy for the 76ers to retain him.

Phoenix Suns – Alex Len – Center – 2016 Stats: 8 PPG and 6.6 RPG

Alex Len is a big center that at 24 years old has yet to really reach his full potential as a starting center in the NBA. Len is a solid rebounder and he isn’t a great shooter, so he is at his best when he takes shots from inside the paint. He will never be a great offensive player, but he has been a quality role player for the Suns ever since being drafted in 2013. Len is a restricted free agent, so the Suns will be able to re-sign him if they want and they hope that he can become the full-time starting center very soon.

Portland Trail Blazers(They have no free agents)

Sacramento Kings – Rudy Gay – Small Forward – 2016 Stats: 18.7 PPG and 6.3 RPG

Rudy Gay has been one of the most underrated players in the NBA for many years and he does many things really well including scoring points and grabbing rebounds. The Kings really need to re-sign Gay since they have no other proven scorers on the roster at the moment. He will likely receive a lot of offers maybe even from contending teams, so it will probably be tough for the Kings to re-sign him this offseason. However, Sacramento really needs him back because they would basically have nothing without him.

San Antonio Spurs – Pau Gasol – Power Forward – 2016 Stats: 12.4 PPG and 7.8 RPG

The Spurs had a really good frontcourt last season with LaMarcus Aldridge at power forward and Pau Gasol at center. However, Gasol might be going elsewhere this offseason as he will surely have plenty of offers from contending teams despite being 36 years old. San Antonio will try to bring Gasol back at least as a role player at this point in his career, although the Spurs might not have the cap space necessary to be able to re-sign him.

Toronto Raptors – Kyle Lowry – Point Guard – 2016 Stats: 22.4 PPG and 7 APG

Kyle Lowry is going to get a big contract this offseason wherever he goes after he had a career high in points for the Raptors last season with 22.4 points per game. Lowry is a terrific shooter and he also rebounds and passes the ball very well. He is one of the top point guards in the NBA today and the Raptors might not even be a playoff team without him. Toronto needs to do whatever it takes in order to re-sign Lowry, although it is certainly a possibility that he signs elsewhere.

Utah Jazz – George Hill – Point Guard – 2016 Stats: 16.9 PPG and 4.1 APG

George Hill has been in the NBA for awhile as he is now 31 years old, but he certainly majorly improved his free agent stock during his one season in Utah as he averaged 16.9 points per game in 2016. He has never been much of a passer, but he is a point guard that really scores points effectively and he plays solid defense as well. Hill will have plenty of teams that want to sign him this offseason and we’ll see how much the Jazz are willing to bid in order to keep him.

Washington Wizards – Brandon Jennings – Point Guard – 2016 Stats: 7.1 PPG and 4.9 APG

Brandon Jennings used to be a very good starting point guard with Milwaukee and Detroit several years ago. However, the last couple of years he has been with 4 different teams and he has been limited to being a role player. Jennings is still a good passer, but for some reason his shooting has regressed over the past few seasons. Still, Jennings is a very good role player option for Washington and he should come at a cheap price so the team should definitely re-sign him.

 

 

Rockets trade Ennis to the Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets exchanged backup point guards on Thursday as the RocketsĀ traded Tyler Ennis to the LakersĀ for Marcelo Huertas.

Rockets grade:

This is a very odd trade for the Rockets since they are trading Tyler Ennis who has some potential as a young point guard and they are getting literally nothing in return. Marcelo Huertas hasn’t been a good player in the NBA and he won’t even get a chance to play for the Rockets since the team is just going to release him. Ennis was just a benchwarmer for the Rockets, but they should have just kept him in that role instead of trading him away for nothing. They should have at least gotten a future 2nd round pick for Ennis rather than acquiring Huertas who they will never use anyway. This trade makes absolutely no sense for the Rockets.

Grade: F

Lakers Grade:

Marcelo Huertas was given a chance to have quality playing time with the Lakers, but he played terribly for the team as he only averaged 2.7 points per game in 10 minutes per game. Tyler Ennis isn’t a much better option, although he is only 22 years old and he has much better potential than Huertas ever had. Ennis is a former 1st round pick and he has been a major bust thus far, yet he will have the chance to revive his NBA career on a rebuilding Lakers team. This trade won’t make any impact for Los Angeles, but it is worth giving Ennis a shot to maybe surprise some people and become an average role player for the Lakers.

Grade: C

tyler ennis

Rockets trade McDaniels to the Nets

The Houston Rockets made a relatively minor trade on Thursday as they sent shooting guard K.J. McDaniels to the Brooklyn Nets for a future 2nd round pick.

Rockets grade:

K.J. McDaniels barely played for Houston the past 2 seasons, so it was likely that the team might have waived him anyway. The Rockets are only getting a future 2nd round pick in return for McDaniels and the 2nd round pick probably won’t give the Rockets much. However, it is a success for Houston to at least get something in return for McDaniels while also giving him an opportunity to have a bigger role with the rebuilding Nets.

Grade: B

Nets grade:

This is an odd trade for Brooklyn since they are usually the ones looking to acquire draft picks rather than just give them away like they did by trading a future 2nd round pick for McDaniels. A 2nd round pick isn’t much to give up these days, but the Nets need to hold onto every single draft pick that they have right now in order to try and rebuild their team. McDaniels is just a benchwarmer player and he won’t make any impact immediately or in the future which is why this move is so puzzling for Brooklyn. Overall, this is not a good trade for the Nets unless McDaniels somehow surprises us and becomes a key role player for the Nets.

Grade: D-

k.j. mcdaniels

Lakers trade Lou Williams to the Rockets

The Houston Rockets added to their already talented roster as they acquired shooting guard Lou Williams from the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for a 2017 1st round pick and small forward.

Lakers Grade:

This is a good trade for the Lakers because the team is clearly building towards the future, so having the immediate impact of Lou Williams isn’t very useful at all since this is a team that isn’t contending this season or even next season. Sure, Williams was clearly the best player for the Lakers this season as he led the team with 18.7 points per game. However, Williams’ value is as high as it will probably ever be and the Lakers needed to maximize their return for him. Los Angeles did receive a valuable 1st round pick, but it is very likely that the player they draft will never be nearly as good is Williams is, yet the draft pick should at least give the team a long-term contributor. Meanwhile, the Lakers also acquired veteran small forward Corey Brewer in this trade. Brewer won’t ever be an impact player, but he does bring a positive attitude and tons of energy to a Lakers team that needs that type of influence. Brewer was having an awful season with the Rockets as he only was averaging 4.2 points per game despite playing 16 minutes per game. Brewer doesn’t make Los Angeles any better, but he is worth the risk since the Lakers are already a bad team anyway. Brewer is under contract for next season as well, but he is being brought in for his work ethic and locker room influence rather than his basketball skills. Overall, the Lakers are looking towards the future with their roster and clearly Lou Williams wasn’t part of those plans. We’ll see the type of impact that the 1st round pick will make for the Lakers, but at least this trade looks good right now for Los Angeles since it provides a glimmer of hope for the future.

Grade: B

Rockets Grade:

I’m not quite sure that this trade makes the Rockets a great team, but it certainly makes this roster really deep. Patrick Beverley is the team’s starting point guard and he is a decent starter, but it was clear that the Rockets needed to add quality depth to the position. Lou Williams certainly provides that and he is definitely an upgrade over Beverley at the position. Beverley is still technically the starter, although Williams will continue to come off the bench and be a more productive option than Beverley. Losing a 1st round pick could hurt the Rockets long-term. However, Williams is under control for next season as well at only a $7 million salary which is a major bargain for the Rockets. Meanwhile, giving up Corey Brewer in this trade wasn’t very difficult to do for Houston since he was likely to get waived anyway as he was playing terribly for the team this season. The Rockets were already a playoff team before this trade happened, but we’ll see if they can now make a deep playoff run with the help of Lou Williams.

Grade: B-

lou-williams