Tag Archives: Nick Johnson

Playoffs: Rockets vs Mavericks Round 1

James Harden , houston Rockets, playoffs

James Harden has Rockets in playoffs for 3rd straight year.

Rockets Must Take Advantage Of Favorable First Round Opponent

The Houston Rockets head into the first round of the NBA playoffs as favorites to win their match-up vs the Dallas Mavericks. The Rockets won the season series 3-1, and in three of those games Dwight Howard did not pay. The Mavericks come into town tonight as 6 point underdogs.

There is a big spotlight on both James Harden and Dwight Howard to perform well and at the absolute bare minimum advance to the second round. The pairing should translate into playoff success at some kind of level. If the Rockets manage to lose to the Mavericks not only a disaster but an embarrassing disaster.

It isn’t even just the Houston vs Dallas city rivalry, there have been jabs thrown between Mavs owner Mark Cuban and Daryl Morey for the past 2 years or so. Also not to leave out that Chandler Parsons is a Maverick.

Just this week for a piece with Grantland’s Kirk Goldsberry, Mark Cuban said that there isn’t a more predictable team than the Rockets. He also said that the Rockets are a very talented team, and believes that James Harden is the MVP, but only because the Rockets aren’t very good.

I was actually surprised that Cuban at least gave Harden the nod for MVP since he is pretty much discounting the Rockets as a team. But for a smart man I’m confused as to how he said the the Rockets are very talented but that the 2nd seed Rockets aren’t good.

The Mavericks on the other hand started out the season as a very good team but became a just barely above average team once they made the Rondo trade. The Mavericks exchanged to underrated pieces of their bench in Jae Crowder and Brandon Wright for Rondo. Monte Ellis is a talented scorer but he tailed off a little in the second half of the season. Continue reading

The Houston Rockets Without Chandler Parsons

Houston Rocket, Chandler Parsons, Dallas Mavericks

Houston’s Worst Possible Off-Season Scenario: Fan Favorite Chandler Parsons Is On His Way To Dallas

There was a possibility of this happening, but most us did not expect Daryl Morey and the Rockets to let Parsons walk. If it wasn’t enough of a punch to the gut to see Parsons sign with another team, knowing that the team he will be going to is the dreaded Dallas Mavericks is unbearable to stomach.

It was a surprise when we learned that the Rockets were not going to pick up Parsons’ 4th year option back in June, but understandable once the rationale was understood. Daryl Morey was betting on being able to sign a third star to the Rockets, and then match any qualifying offer Parsons accepted.

For a brief period it seemed as though Morey was going to be able to pull off adding three stars in three consecutive seasons. Bosh slips through the Rockets grasps and opts to choose familiarity in Miami along with more money. A day later Trevor Ariza is signed, and though thoughts of Parsons leaving started to creep in, it was assumed that one or two other small additions would be made, and then Parsons will be matched.

Fast forward two days and the worst thing that the city of Houston could have imagined when the Rockets let Chandler Parsons become an un-restricted free agent came to fruition.

Where Do The Rockets Go From Here

As things now stand the Rockets essentially switched out 25 year old Chandler Parsons for 29 year old Trevor Ariza. With Ariza the Rockets are getting an upgrade athletically and defensively at Small Forward. The Rockets should now be able to better defend the opposing team’s best player from the SG or SF positions. Ariza also brings slightly better 3-point shooting.

Chandler Parsons is virtually better at everything else including creating, ball handling, slashing, and intangibles that you want in a player. Parsons was younger and might have had a little bit more room for growth as a player, it will be a loss but is one that must be tolerated.

Omer Asik was not a big factor in the regular season. Having a back up center of Asik’s quality was a luxury, and having Asik was effective when facing teams that played their big men often. Without Asik who knows how long the playoff series with Portland would have lasted with the way LaMarcus Aldridge was playing. The Rockets must find somebody to fill Asik’s spot on the roster.

Jeremy Lin is a loss of a lesser extent. Lin provided depth and on some nights was very effective providing needed offensive production. But reality is that he was so inconsistent and those nights at times were few and far in between. Lin was also a defensive liability when on the court. Rookie Nick Johnson may eventually step into becoming Lin’s replacement sometime during the season.

The Rockets have yet to address the back up center spot, or a possible solution at the power forward spot. Terrance Jones is heading into his third season, and only second season of getting consistent playing time. Jones played very well for stretches and had several big games. However, many of his best games came against teams that didn’t have formidable power forwards. He also struggled defending strong/skilled big men. The Rockets may have to rely on Jones’ continued growth as a player at the power forward position. He has some post moves and has a decent shot from the perimeter. If he can reach another level or two, which is possible, power forward for the Rockets shouldn’t be as big of a concern.

Daryl Morey took a gamble on possibly being able to construct the best starting lineup in the NBA but has failed on that front for the moment. It is not the first time things have seemed as if they have fallen apart. And fact remains that the Rockets still have two of the NBA’s top 15 players, and Morey knows he must add an actual star to realistically have the Rockets as a legitimate championship contender. Morey did not feel that Parsons could be that third piece.

At one point after the 2012 season the Rockets traded away Kyle Lowry, amnestied Luis Scola, and let Goran Dragic sign with the Suns. The fans questioned and smeared Daryl Morey’s name for months. That October, Morey landed James Harden and 9 months later signed Dwight Howard.

Morey decided not to bring back Parsons because doing so would have restricted the flexibility of being able to make moves for future roster building. We just have to continue to trust Morey’s decision making in trying to build a championship team.

Rockets’ Nick Johnson posterizes in NBA Summer League

Houston Rockets Nick Johnson

Houston Rockets’ second round draft pick Nick Johnson.

Guard Nick Johnson wastes no time in showing off his high flying capabilities in Rockets’ first Summer League game

The Houston Rockets had their first of 4 summer league games earlier today in Orlando, and though the Rockets lost in a close game, second round pick Nick Johnson made some noise with his posterizing dunk in the 3rd quarter.

Nick Johnson scored the second most points on the team today with 18 points, he also grabbed 7 rebounds, had a block, 3 assists and 3 turnovers.

Johnson was 7/14 from the field, 2/6 from beyond the arc, and 2/4 from the free throw line.

General Manager Daryl Morey pointed out on draft night that Nick Johnson would have a chance to crack the rotation and Johnson only added to that confidence with his performance.

The next summer league game for the Rockets in on Monday at 4:00 pm on NBA TV.

Rockets draft C. Capela, N. Johnson, A. Gentile

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Darly Morey happy with the draft selections made.

Daryl Morey believes Capella, Johnson, Gentile have the ability to help the Rockets going forward.

Heading into the draft many expected the Rockets to draft a foreign player because the contracts of players overseas don’t count against the cap, which would allow the team to stay flexible in being able to absorb the contract of a potential star player addition. Speculation held true with Daryl Morey selecting Clint Capela a 20 year old, 220lb PF/C out of Switzerland, who plays his basketball in the French leagues.

Clint Capela is said to have high upside as a player because of his combination of length and athleticism. Draft Express notes Capela as having really good rebound instincts, defensive potential, finishing ability, and great hands. Having a 7′ 3.5″ wingspan allows him to be great rim protector, and Capela will be able to also guard the Center position if he puts on the necessary weight. Capela compared himself to the abilities of Serge Ibaka.

Capela however is still very raw as a player, he’s limited from an offensive stand point, can be turnover prone, and is inconsistent at times when guarding his man.

Morey refrained from getting too specific about what Capela’s near future for the Rockets would entail because contract matters and planning with the agent still needed to be worked out. But Morey did say that he doesn’t think it is too far off as to when Capela would be able to help the Rockets.

Nick Johnson a 6-3 SG  out of Arizona who the Rockets selected with the 42nd pick in the 2nd pick has the highest chance of coming in and contributing to the team in the first year. Johnson as a Junior this past season was an All-American and Pac-12 player of the year. Nick Johnson averaged 16.3 points and 4.1 rebounds, and is known for playing really good, tough defense. In interviews Johnson has pointed out that defense matters to him and places an emphasis on playing well defensively. Continue reading