February 19, 2015 at 2:19 pm

Rockets acquire KJ McDaniels, Pablo Prigioni in deadline trades


Daryl Morey’s deadline day streak is still alive.

The Houston Rockets sent out multiple second-round picks today, acquiring small forward KJ McDaniels from the Philadelphia Sixers for Isaiah Canaan and Denver’s 2015 second round pick, then sent Alexey Shved and second round picks in 2017 and 2019 to the New York Knicks for point guard Pablo Prigioni.

The deals were first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

McDaniels is a surprise. The 6-foot-7 rookie wing, who just turned 22, is a high flyer with good defensive potential. He is averaging 9.2 points on just 39.9% shooting, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 25.4 minutes a night. He also is rare in that he was a second round pick that took a one-year deal, making him a restricted free agent this summer.

Prigioni is an older player at 37, but he’s a career 41.4% three-point shooter in the NBA and keeps the turnovers down. It could be a sneaky addition here.

The Rockets missed out on a potential major boost to their needs when Goran Dragic was traded to the Miami Heat, one of the teams that he apparently was willing to re-sign with. The Rockets were stung by Dragic’s unwillingness to re-sign with Houston, and Houston’s offers had to reflect that. Surprisingly, several other bigger name point guards — Isaiah Thomas, Michael Carter-Williams, Brandon Knight and Reggie Jackson — were also traded and the Rockets were not involved in any of those moves.

On the bright side, the Rockets hold on to their best two draft pick assets — the 2015 first round pick of the Pelicans, which would currently be a late lottery selection, and the 2015 second round pick of the Knicks, which would currently be the top pick of the second round.

KJ McDaniels Highlights

Pablo Prigioni Highlights

Posted in Houston Rockets |
February 16, 2015 at 2:04 pm

Is Goran Dragic to Houston suddenly possible?

If you’ve been reading ClutchFans or the forums at all for the last seven months, you know there has been one overriding focus and trade target that has consumed the fans — how do the Rockets get Goran Dragic back in Houston?

There’s just been one problem — that has looked pretty much impossible.

That may be changing. The Suns lost five of their last six games going into the break and are now barely holding on to the 8th spot in the Western Conference, just a half-game ahead of the now-healthy Oklahoma City Thunder. Suns general manager Ryan McDonough recently confessed that the team’s “roster balance is a little off” and that they are “a little too backcourt heavy” and President of basketball operations Lon Babby added that the the Suns plans to be active at the trade deadline. Surprising no one, ESPN reported that the Rockets are “plotting a renewed attempt to try to convince the Suns to part with Dragic”.

David Weiner joins me on the podcast to discuss the Dragic possibility and others as we approach the NBA Trade Deadline this Thursday. We discuss why Dragic is the best (and perhaps only) fit on the market, weigh the Donatas Motiejunas question and touch on the Charles Barkley-Daryl Morey feud.

Goran Dragic Houston Rockets

Posted in Houston Rockets, Podcasts |
February 14, 2015 at 9:17 pm

Patrick Beverley wins the 2015 All-Star Game Skills Challenge

Let’s be honest — very few expected this. But Patrick Beverley has been doing this kind of thing throughout his career: When very few expect much out of him, he surprises.

Beverley won the All-Star Game Skills Challenge Saturday night, defeating a talented pool of point guards to take the crown. He went head-to-head and beat Isaiah Thomas of the Phoenix Suns, Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks and strong>Brandon Knight of the Milwaukee Bucks to become the 2015 Champion.

“I hope Coach McHale was watching,” joked Beverley. “Maybe I can get some plays now.”

It didn’t hurt that Beverley had Mr. Hakeem Olajuwon in his ear during the competition.

Patrick Beverley Hakeem Olajuwon

Here’s the full video of Beverley in the competition.

Beverley also spoke to the media after the event. Here is the full press conference.
Patrick Beverley Skills Champion

Posted in Houston Rockets |
February 11, 2015 at 1:32 pm

If there’s an ‘idiot’ here, it’s Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley Daryl Morey

By now you’ve heard about Charles Barkley blasting Daryl Morey and the analytics movement in the NBA after Tuesday night’s game.

After Barkley said at halftime that the Rockets were “one of the two worst defensive teams in the NBA”, a claim that is truly ridiculous, Morey responded with a tweet:

Barkley then went into the tirade against Morey in post-game that is full of more holes than the street meat he craves.

But what was really eye-opening was that Barkley said Morey, who he called an “idiot”, has only made the obvious moves of adding superstar talent.

“He went out and got James Harden and Dwight Howard and (he’s) going to tell me that’s analytics,” said Barkley.

Interesting, because here’s what Barkley had to say about the Harden trade at the time. Two days after Morey pulled off the deal and gave him the then-controversial $80 million contract, Barkley went on ESPN’s Pardon The Interruption (full audio) and said how great of a trade it was…

… for the Thunder.

I love the Oklahoma City trade. I think that trade made them better. I’m a Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb fan. I like that trade a lot for them.

Host Tony Kornheiser then asked Barkley point blank if he felt Harden was a “foundational player the way the Rockets apparently do.”

I do not. I do not see him like that for the simple fact (that) being an instant offense off the bench, when they’re going to give you the ball every time and you’re the dominant scorer, it won’t work like that when you’re in a traditional offense.

Ouch. Harden, currently riding back-to-back games of 40+ points, is now considered by many to be the NBA’s MVP leader this season. This is revisionist history at its finest. Barkley would have you believe this was an obvious move, yet he himself did not see this coming out of Harden.

On the other hand, Morey — as well as many others who believe in so-called “analytics” — did.

“We feel like James Harden is a player we can build around. He’s an elite offensive player, a complete player. I still think he’s an underrated player,” said Morey the day after the trade. “He’s absolutely someone that, when they see him step into the role of a star with the Houston Rockets, people are going to realize just how good he is.”

Added Morey: “To win the title, you have to have a foundational player, and James is that.”

And if you like watching Barkley flip flop, here’s a more recent case as Barkley completely changes course on Josh Smith (who he implied last night was an obvious addition by Morey) in the span of a month, going from a mistake signing to the second-best player on the team who needs 10-15 shots a night.

However, what is being lost in the shuffle of an unnecessary debate over analytics is the history that sparked Morey’s tweet in the first place — Barkley’s consistent hatred for the Houston Rockets that has spanned for years now. It’s hard to believe this is a player who donned the uniform for four seasons and said at the time that he wished he had played his whole career here.

Posted in Houston Rockets |
February 9, 2015 at 11:19 am

What’s Wrong With Patrick Beverley?

Patrick Beverley

In the last nine games, Patrick Beverley is averaging just 7.7 points on 32.9% shooting and 25% from three-point range (11-44).

But it’s one thing to struggle offensively as a role player. It’s another to be wildly inconsistent at your bread and butter — defense.

MK Bower of CultureMap joins me on the podcast from the Toyota Center after the Rockets fell 109-98 to the Blazers. We discuss the game, Beverley’s struggles and the team’s need for help at the point. We also touch on just how special this season has been for James Harden, the trade deadline and the impact of Dwight Howard being out 6-8 weeks.

Posted in Houston Rockets, Podcasts |
February 8, 2015 at 6:34 pm

Dwight Howard reveals “6-to-8 week” time frame for return

Dwight Howard on Sunday spoke to the media for the first time since receiving a bone marrow aspirate injection in his right knee, and the Rockets’ center revealed that he expected to be out six to eight weeks.

“Looking at the doctors say six to eight weeks, you’re like ‘Oh man, that’s a long time,'” said Howard. “But then I just start thinking about the positive things that can happen in those six to eight weeks.”

Howard was in great spirits, saying repeatedly that “everything happens for a reason” and that he’s looking at the positives.

Dr. Walt Lowe of the Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine Institute, who performed the procedure, followed Dwight in speaking to the press and said that time frame is “very reasonable.”

Lowe was asked when that 6-8 week time frame technically started and he clarified that Dwight can come back much sooner than that, depending on how he’s doing.

“It’s kind of whenever you want it to (start),” said Dr. Lowe. “Seriously, it’s just an estimate. This will happen as he heals, so I’m not going to let him wait to four weeks if he’s ready to push at two. We have to make decisions week in and week out based on how he’s doing and based on the level of loading. I’d say from the day of the procedure, the day he quit playing is probably where that concept comes from, but really it’s more just a time frame to say that’s probably very reasonable for him to be Dwight again.”

Lowe was optimistic, saying it’s not a day to day thing but a “week to week” injury.


Posted in Houston Rockets |
February 4, 2015 at 6:55 pm

James Harden Named Player of the Month… Again


James Harden is making his case for 2014-15 MVP.

Harden was named the Western Conference Player of the Month for January today, marking the second straight month he has earned the award. It’s the first time in franchise history that a Rocket has won the award in consecutive months. He joins Yao Ming, Hakeem Olajuwon and Moses Malone as the only Rockets players to win Western Conference Player of the Month Honors multiple times.

It’s no surprise. Harden averaged 25.8 points (47.6% FG, 42.6% from three and 87.4% at the line) to go with 6.7 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 2.2 steals per night in January.

Over the last two months where Harden won the awards (31 games), Harden is averaging 28.0 points on a blistering 47.7% from the field and 40.7% from three, 6.9 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals.

Posted in Houston Rockets |
February 4, 2015 at 11:50 am

The latest news on Dwight Howard’s knee is not good at all


The Houston Rockets released an update this morning on Dwight Howard’s knee, and it’s not exactly encouraging:

This morning Dr. Walt Lowe of the Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine Institute conducted a bone marrow aspirate injection on Rockets center Dwight Howard’s right knee. Howard will begin rehabilitation immediately and will be re-evaluated in approximately four weeks.

We went from twisted ankle to this. Howard, who has missed the last four games, will miss a minimum of 13 more over the next four weeks, but the procedure that he underwent shows that the knee issue they’re trying to tackle is more serious than something that would just require rest.

The Rockets are known for not revealing much about player injuries, as we saw for some time with Terrence Jones, and we certainly don’t have all the facts about Dwight’s knee here, but a bone marrow aspirate injection suggests a cartilage issue. Dwight revealed as much back in early December, but it was hard to take his words as an actual medical diagnosis. Not anymore.

“The problem was my cartilage was wearing down, and it’s been wearing down because I’ve been playing basketball for a very long time,” said Howard at that time. “When you have the bone rubbing on bone, it brings a lot of pain.”

When there’s a cartilage issue in the knee and the words “bone on bone” are used, microfracture surgery is always feared.

Again, I’m not pretending to know the details of the situation and am in wait-and-see mode like the rest of us, but it’s hard to be too optimistic after reports like this.

UPDATE: While it’s still clear there has been some cartilage loss in Dwight’s knee, Dr. Walter Lowe did provide that optimism, speaking with local Fox’s Mark Berman to provide some context on why they went forward with the procedure.

It’s a biologically active injection that helps almost everything heal in the knee. We took some bone marrow out of his pelvis. It gives us some young, very strong platelets with a lot of healing factors. I think his prognosis is great. This is something we did today to try to hasten the recovery time. It’s really a shot. It’s not a surgical procedure. It’s a 20 minute deal. I don’t think it’s a big deal. We want to do everything we can to give Dwight the best chance of being back as fast as he can be back. The other side of that is we want him to feel like Dwight and be one hundred percent when he comes back. This sort of mixes those two things together. I think he would get well even without this today. We’re really treating this like a bone bruise. There is nothing structurally wrong with his knee. That soreness is what we’re trying to get rid of. So we’re really basically treating a bone bruise. The time frame for these bone bruises to heal is in that 4-6 week timeframe. The most important thing for Dwight is his pain (to be) gone. That’s more important than what the MRI is going to show me in four weeks. As long as we’re seeing a combination of bone bruise gone away (and) symptoms being better, then that’s when we’ll start the transition back to the court. What makes this heal is essentially rest. I would certainly expect him before the playoffs. I hope we have quite a few games before the playoffs. I really expect him to recover and play again this season.”

Posted in Houston Rockets |