Lin’s name goes well with pretty much anything. So, of course, “Linharden” is a natural fit. Doesn’t it just sound like a surname? It could, perhaps, even be the name of some bad-ass baller, an Asian dude with a James Harden beard that you don’t want to f#@k with on the back court. How many of these will we see walking around Houston this Halloween? If you want to go one step further, let me introduce you to Parsons Asik Linharden (PAL for short): the smartest, most eccentric NBA player, who’s sponsored by United Colors of Benetton.
With the addition of Harden, Rocket’s starting unit just got more interesting. I mean, you got a white European dude, an Asian American dude, a white all-American dude (I’m sure that’s pretty racist, but it just sounds better than “white American”, also Parsons does have that “all-American” vibe whatever that means) and an African American dude who looks pretty bad ass. This is as diverse of a core group as you’re gonna get in the NBA. Sure, Martin was also black, but at the risk of sounding totally racist, he’s not black like James Harden is black.
As diverse as these guys are racially, what’s striking is how much they have in common. All these guys are put in a position where they are playing bigger roles than expected of them or than they had previously assumed:
- Asik from bench to starter.
- Lin from not the face of the Franchise to the face of the Franchise (that is, before Harden arrived).
- Harden from third best player on the team to best player on the team with superstar aspirations.
- Parsons from rookie to locker room leader.
I think this is bodes well for the Rockets organization, because they’ll scratch and claw to prove themselves. Every game, every possession, perhaps, would mean more to them than their opponents. They might not be as talented as the other guys, but they’ll overwork their opponents, because they need to earn the lofty positions that they’ve assumed. I think this counts for a lot and it’s something analysts overlook. This is why I think they’ve got a great shot at doing some serious damage in the NBA this season. We’re talking playoffs for sure in my view. I know I’m probably pretty alone in this belief, but the hell with it.
PAL is very young. Although Harden is already pretty accomplished. I mean, dude’s got a Gold Medal! He’s actually the youngest of this quad. Despite Morey’s track record of getting rid of players as soon as he gets them, I think this core group will stay together for the long haul. Harden has already planned on signing a long-term contract and both Asik and Lin are already locked in. I think Morey’s reputation for moving NBA assets with regularity has more to do with his situation than anything else: the Rockets have been a team in limbo since his tenor, so they need to constantly maneuver to get all the proper pieces or, in the case of this off-season, a demolition was required. I think Morey and company are pretty happy with the key pieces they have now so these piece will stay. This being said, Morey is still not done. Even with the acquisition of Harden, Rockets still have room for another max guy. So I’m sure we’ll see some more maneuvering this season. But PAL is staying put. Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked. the point I was trying to make is that PAL is very young and will only get better. Other teams should be very scared in a couple of years. PAL will have time to develop and grow together and that’s when things will really get interesting in Houston–especially if they add another missing piece (e.g., a star Power Forward). Personally, I think they’re good the way they are from a starting-unit standpoint, because a guy like Terrence Jones can really develop to be that key Power Forward they need to become a great team. To me having a team of very good players with great chemistry is way better than having a team with a bunch of big names that have okay chemistry.
PAL is very intelligent. Parsons, Asik, Lin and Harden all have very high basketball IQs. I’m not going to say that they’re the smartest starting unit in the NBA, but they’re definitely up there if we’re just talking guys who have a good understanding of the game and can make smart decisions on the court. It’s not easy to talk about basketball IQ, because it doesn’t necessarily show up in stats. It’s how you position yourself on the court in relation to your opponent. It’s how you read the defense and situations to take advantage. It’s a lot of little things that make a big difference. Shane Battier, is perhaps the poster child for basketball IQ. His stats might not be anything to brag about, but boy does he help teams win games with all the little things he does. To me, Chandler Parsons plays a lot like Shane Battier. I think PAL’s high basketball IQ will allow them to develop great chemistry, because they’ll have a deep understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. This chemistry will only become stronger over time as they go through more and more battles together.
Okay, lets move away from PAL and talk about Linharden for a bit. The worst case scenario is that Lin continues to struggle and Harden essentially takes over the ball-handling role as Lin’s teammates look him off on a regular basis. As a result, the potential synergy that is Linharden will be nullified.
The scenario that I’m hoping for is that Linharden will be a nightmare for teams, because you got two guys who could get to the paint with ease and can score the ball pretty much anywhere on the floor (Harden more so than Lin). It’ll be very difficult for teams to game plan for both guys, since they’re both willing passers. Harden likes to go left and Lin likes to go right, so Harden compensates one of Lin’s biggest weaknesses. The threat that Linharden poses really opens up the floor for potential easy baskets. I’m not going to say they’re the most talented or the best back court–we’ll see how they develop in a few years. But Linharden should definitely be formidable from day one. Well, not literally, because it’ll take some time for the guys to develop chemistry, so by “day one” I mean this season.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for the season opener. Things might get pretty sloppy, but it’ll be fun to see Linharden.