The end of the season before the actual off season starts is time for speculation and maybe doing some daydreaming. The Houston Rockets find themselves in a crossroads situation. It has to do with their head coach Kevin McHale, but they’re sticking with him. It should have to do with changing the role James Harden has, and the same going for Jeremy Lin, but it’s hard to believe any of that wishful thinking.
There isn’t a consensus (there never is) about what the Rocket should do to make themselves an actual contender – a team that makes it past one round in the playoffs and looks good enough to win a conference semifinals series. Everyone seems to agree that Kevin McHale isn’t exactly what some might call genius head coach, and everyone recognizes James Harden’s awful series against the Blazers, but that is where the agreement stops.
Because there are those who don’t think Jeremy Lin is a good basketball player. Never have, never will, and don’t understand why he’s getting paid so much money and why haven’t the Rockets gotten rid of him by now. A lot of those people have been holding the same grudge against him since his New York Knicks day. As if rising to stardom out of the blue and then showing you’re human after all is some great sin.
Lin has had his ups and downs over the last couple of years in Houston. When he arrived, before the Harden trade, it looked like he was going to be team’s number one player, both as the face of the franchise and his role as a point guard who’ll do everything for them on the court. Then Harden arrived, which isn’t a bad thing necessarily, but a lot of what’s happened since that trade hasn’t worked out in Lin’s best interests. It also hasn’t been as beneficial as some might think for the Rockets.
We’ve been through the Jeremy Lin trading possibility a few times by now. The Rockets will move him for the right package. The problem is the way they’re looking at it. No one is saying to trade James Harden (although there are some interesting, unrealistic theories), but leaving things as they are just makes no sense considering it’s clearly not the way to get the best out of this team.
Assuming Jeremy Lin stays, and assuming the Rockets or the men calling the shots don’t have some personal issue with him and our out to get him (you never know), their best interest should be making more of Lin, as a starting player or as a sixth man. While keeping Harden happy is a big goal, the bottom line should be doing what’s best for the team. Making James Harden an untouchable star who is free to decimate a team’s night without blinking an eye has been a mistake that needs to be fixed.
There are players that need to be brought in in different roles, mostly on the bench. McHale seemed to lose his confidence in quite a few players as the season reached boiling point. But is McHale someone who should be trusted to do the right thing with the talent at his disposal? Daryl Morey thinks so, and that’s what counts. That seems to be great news for James Harden, but not so much for Jeremy Lin or the franchise itself.