Morey Finally Gets the Pretty Girl, Lets Hope She Doesn’t Turn into a Dwightmare

Dwight Howard officially became a Rocket on Saturday. It came as no surprise to me. What is surprising is that I’m actually quite happy about the Howard signing now that I’ve gotten to see more of Howard and have a better understanding of the issues that he faced in the past. I think Howard is finally with a team where he belongs. L.A. was the wrong place for Howard. D’Antoni was the wrong coach (for anybody ;-)) and Bryant was the wrong teammate (for anybody). Howard is perhaps the best pick-n-roll big, but didn’t want to do pick-n-rolls with Bryant, because Bryant would end up scoring most of the time, rather than feeding Howard out of pick-n-rolls. In Houston, I think Howard will be more willing to play pick-n-rolls, because he’ll get more chances to score–especially if he does pick-n-rolls with Lin.

Since I’m sure you’ve all listened to and read the news about the Howard signing, I won’t rehash everything that’s been written. From some of the interviews that I’ve seen of Howard, he doesn’t seem like a bad guy. So I’m having a change of heart about Howard. My biggest concern about Howard in the past is that he’d disrupt the chemistry of the team, because I thought he was a selfish player and person. But I think I felt that way, because I never really looked into his situation and so I bought into the media hype about him. Now that I’ve gotten to know him a little more, I don’t think he’ll disrupt the team chemistry–especially since most of the guys want him on the team.

As I’ve said in the past, even though playing in the NBA is a tremendous privilege, it is still a job for these guys, at the end of the day. And, like any job, when you’re not happy, you’re not performing at your best. Howard has not been very happy with his job for several seasons and that’s why he’s had a few rough seasons. But I think he finally does feel like he’s exactly where he belongs in Houston and will start having fun again on the court. I expect Howard to have one of his best seasons in this upcoming season, if he’s 100% healthy. I think he’ll thrive in a team that will do everything they can to make him successful. The most recent example is the fact that they’re working to hire Hakeem Olajuwon to coach Houston’s big men. So I don’t expect to see the Dwightmare in Houston.

I think Rockets will do exceptionally well with Howard. Of course, the big question for us LOFs is what happens to Lin? Well, there were a lot of Lin trade talks leading up to the Howard signing. I’m sure most of you have watched Paul’s videos from Conservative New Media. If not, go and check them out, because I completely agree with Paul’s analysis/speculations of what the Lin trade talks were all about. Rockets shopped Lin (and Asik) around mostly for Howard’s benefit. And now that they have Howard, Lin is very likely to remain with the Rockets. I think another big reason Lin will stay is that Lin’s stock has gone down due to everything that happened in the playoffs, so Morey can’t get the value he wants for Lin. I’m not as confident that Asik will stay, although I think Asik should stay. Even with Howard, Rockets still need a solid backup center and now Rockets have the luxury of having a premiere center as a backup. The only way I trade Asik is if we can get a good backup center and another pretty high caliber player. But I think it would be a mistake to trade Asik for an all-star level Power Forward and not have a solid backup center. I’m one of the rare people who don’t think we need a star Power Forward, because I have a lot of confidence that Terrence Jones will fill that role. He may not be an all-star, but he’ll be good enough for what we need at that spot in this upcoming season.

Anyway, I’m getting a little off topic. Back to Lin. From a purely basketball standpoint, Howard is perfect for Lin. I mean, you’ve got two of the best pick-n-roll players in the game, so their skill sets are very complementary. Lin lost out on tons of assists, because Asik wasn’t a good with catches and finishes. Also, Rockets didn’t do enough pick-n-rolls–especially early in the season–because they didn’t have any big men who were comfortable with setting picks. We all know that Lin thrives in the pick-n-roll, so that was a big reason for Lin’s slow start in Houston. So from a purely basketball standpoint, having Howard is great for Lin.

Of course, there are other factors involved for Lin. The biggest factor is that now that the Rockets have another big star, will McHale sacrifice Lin’s game even more? If McHale focuses purely on X’s and O’s then Lin’s game shouldn’t be sacrificed and should actually be emphasized even more. But I don’t have much confidence that that’s going to happen. We’ll see, though. At the end of the day, a lot of it will depend on Lin and how well Lin’s shot improves. He’s been working hard on his shot all summer and it was already improving very steadily last season. So I do expect Lin to shoot much better this season.

So, overall, I’m a lot happier than I expected I would be about the Howard signing. I see big things for Houston and for Howard. And I potentially see big things for Lin, too, unless McHale screws it up. The Lin situation will have to be monitored during training camp and such. Hopefully, Lin stays with the team, but, like Paul from Conservative New Media, I wouldn’t freak out if Lin got traded. We’ll follow him wherever he goes.



20 thoughts on “Morey Finally Gets the Pretty Girl, Lets Hope She Doesn’t Turn into a Dwightmare

  1. Hallo Mr. Philosopher!! I miss your posts.
    What I like about this DHoward thing is that JLin has been quiet about it unless he is ask to comment.
    Anyways, what matters to me is like you said Mr. Philosopher, wherever JLin goes we go with him.
    #LOF #LinFollower

    • Haha. Yeah, I’ve been slacking off here.

      I think one of the reasons Lin has been quiet is that Rockets wanted to show Howard that they were doing whatever they can to get a third star and Lin was one of the players they put out there to trade. So Lin had to stay quiet. Cause normally, Lin is the first person to welcome players on Twitter. I also think Lin has similar reservations that us LOFs have about how McHale and the Houston organization might make him sacrifice his game even more now that they have a star on the team. When he commented about how huge it was for the team to get Howard, I didn’t see too much genuine enthusiasm. I think Lin is in wait-and-see mode like me. If we’re talking X’s and O’s, then Howard and Lin should make each other better. If Lin is going to be the primary ball handler, then that’s definitely going to be the case. But I think McHale is probably going to limit Lin’s ball handling even more this upcoming season, so I’m counting on the fact that Lin’s shot will have improved significantly. If he’s got his shot, then he’ll be able to overcome whatever limitations McHale puts on him. Overall, i’m excited about the upcoming season and hope Lin stays with the Rockets. But, yeah, we’ll go wherever he goes. 🙂

      • That’s how intelligent Jlin is.
        He’s enjoying his off-season anyways 🙂
        He had fun with his workout/s with Dorell Wright and kid Devin.
        And of course him playing soccer for Steve Nash’s Foundation 🙂

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  3. Just finish watching his latest youtube video. I can see he has more muscle then before. He use left hand. He forgot the past. Press on to the future. I think he is physically, mentally and even spiritually ready. I am tightening my seatbelt.

    ( well, left hand is still a little weaker in power than right, but good enough 🙂 )

  4. Thanks, fire9flyer, for mentioning the new video.
    Check this out Rubielyn (it’s on Lin’s Facebook timeline)

  5. To Lin fans, this video is both inspiring and reassuring. At this moment, amid the shadow of trade speculation, seeing Lin’s dedication and hard work gives the best soothing power. It’s nice of Jlin (and his team) to release this video so we curious fans could get a peep into his offseason life, knowing that he’s doing his best to improve—building toward a new future. Although the tone of the narration makes it sound like a commercial—and it can fit as one–the message Lin is sending is so positive: He’s not dwelling in the past; he’s moving on! And that’s the right attitude to take, not just for him, but for everyone.

    I’m glad to find this place back to life–after a long dry silence. I have to admit that I won’t really feel OK if Lin gets traded (because it feels like the Rockets organization doesn’t appreciate him at all). But we’ll just have to toughen up—prepare for the best and hope for the best! I think it would be a shame if the Rockets won’t even let Jeremy have a shot with Howard and the semi-new team. So I’m glad for now that he’ll stay—for as long as can be!

    • Thanks for the link, fire9flyer! Great interview. I’m a fan of Jason Friedman’s write-ups. Lin is definitely focused on all the right things this summer, so that’s great to see.

      I would say his analysis of PnR is solid, but wouldn’t say it’s extra-ordinary. But I’m not sure if there is an extra-ordinary way to analyze a PnR. It’s more in the execution. I think most point guards look for similar things. It’s just a matter of how well they are able to see these things in real-time and execute in real-time that makes all the difference. But that’s just my very humble opinion.

      As long as McHale stays out of the way, I see big things for Lin and the Rockets this season.

  6. You probably have seen this LIn’s video:

    What I’d like to say is Jeremy is not only a basketball player with a great story we like, but a fun-loving young man that enjoys making funny videos!

    • I actually haven’t seen this. Thanks for the link. I wonder why this is not on Lin’s YouTube Channel and who’s behind this.

      • I think the video is made for his China trip Mr. Philosopher.
        If I am not mistaken, the vid’s debut was during his interview wherein he played 3 on 3 afterwards in Beijing.
        I also noticed that the host and the staff were wearing a black shirt with the writings of “Double Double 10” at the back.

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