Being a point guard usually means making your teammates better and keeping the stars happy. Jeremy Lin doesn’t have to score a lot for the Houston Rockets to succeed, but their best chance of keeping both Dwight Howard and James Harden happy is starting the fourth-year player at point guard, which for some reason is something Kevin McHale is still not certain about.
The Houston Rockets tried the interesting combination of Dwight Howard and Omer Asik in the starting lineup as they beat the Dallas Mavericks 100-95. The experiment didn’t work out too well, and it’s not going to be something quite common to see the two of them together. If Howard and Asik are on the floor at the same time, the team needs three shooters surrounding them. Lin isn’t a shooter, but without him, there’s no one good enough in spreading the ball around to make it work.
There aren’t that many questions left about the Rockets as we approach the beginning of the new NBA season. One of them is who is going to be the starting point guard for the Rockets. Not because it should be an actual choice. Lin is a better player and point guard than Patrick Beverley, but Kevin McHale refuses to say that at the moment Lin is his first choice.
While looking at Lin’s shooting (2-of-9 from the field) in the win over Dallas some might think that he hurt himself in this two-horse race, the assist column and even beyond the stats, simply looking at the way the Rockets play when he’s on the floor, and especially the ability to keep the balance between Harden and Howard, tells a different story.
Dwight Howard enjoyed what might have been his best game in this preseason with 15 points, 17 rebounds and 3 steals, playing 29 minutes in the win. Harden scored 19 points and also connected on 4-of-5 from beyond the arc, but he also turned the ball over, in another sign that the ball shouldn’t be in his hands for such long periods.
One of the surprises of the preseason, Omri Casspi, had another strong performance, scoring 10 points and adding 4 rebounds, positioning himself towards having his best season since his rookie year with the Sacramento Kings. It was interesting to see the first ever Israeli derby in an NBA game, as Casspi, the only player from Israel in the NBA thus far, played against Gal Mekel, who is taking his first steps in the league for the Mavs, so far only making preseason appearances.
The Rockets’ season hinges on a few factors, but there’s no doubt that the James Harden – Dwight Howard relationship, and to be more exact, the level of what can be describe as happiness about playing with each other, is the most important one. In order to keep that one going in the right direction, it’ll take for neither of them to become some sort of offensive focal point that comes at the expense of the other. Lin, even if he can’t put up points as quickly as Beverley sometimes is able to do, is a more suited point guard for the job.