Finally that debacle of a series is over with it and I’m ecstatic that I will not have to see those same players together ever again in my life. By the end of the series I found myself empathizing with Harden because he was the only consistent scorer on the team even with his ole defense followed by a deadpan stare at a teammate who he think should’ve helped. It’s obvious Dwight and Harden have their issues but a lot of it can be placed on JB Bickerstaff barely playing or not playing Capela at all this series when the numbers have backed up his productivity.
- Outscored opponents by 6.9 points per 100 possessions in 681 minutes with Howard on the floor with either Clint Capela or Donatas Motiejunas, but were outscored by 2.6 in 1,599 minutes when Howard was on the floor without either of them.
For being such an analytic driven team you would think JB would be paying attention to the numbers especially a staggering one like that. He would also play Harden for long stretches of time without a break, as evidenced by him playing 40 straight minutes in game 4. During the first quarter last night Harden went 6 for 6 and the rest of the season went 0 of 15 which is a perfect microcosm of their season. After the conclusion of last night’s game the Rockets were granted permission to interview Luke Walton for the HC job which would be a phenomenal improvement.
Moving onto next year with Dwight out of the picture along with most of the role players except for Harden, Capela, Beasley, Beverly, Harrell, McDaniels, D-Mo (going to keep him on a cheaper deal too) and Dekker. Harden is a exceptional offensive talent but he has to become more interested on the defensive end with his effort and not fall asleep on D like he is known to do.
Part of the non effort is due to his teammates clanking their shots not like never before this season and even more so during the playoffs. Dwight and Harden never really fit they only played around 2 seasons worth games together in 3 years because of Dwight’s injury problems. It was no coincidence Harden had his MVP worthy season in 2014-15 when Dwight missed the second half of the year. He also led the league in points in back to back years which hasn’t been done since his old teammate Kevin Durant did it 3x in a row from 09-12′. By the way the person who scores the most total points is my scoring champ not the one who averages the most.
There will be a number of free agents to go after this offseason and they will need to get another creator to go alongside Harden , with a center and a 3 & D guy to replace Ariza. Ideally I would like them to go after Al Horford, Pau Gasol to shore up the frontline. I don’t want Whiteside even though he’s elite defensively because he just strikes me as a knucklehead and its very hard to win with those. For the 3 spot that Ariza used to occupy I would go after Durant first then then Nic Batum who is coming off of his best season ever with the Hornets. The Rockets would be fools to not go after him when Durant ultimately spurns them. The last guy is Kent Bazemore , another underrated guy like Batum who has quietly had his strongest season. Now for the piece that has been missing longest during Harden’s tenure a player that can create shots alongside him. Mike Conley is my first choice followed by Rondo and Jeremy Lin.
PS. Finals Prediction , Cavs in 6 over The Spurs