Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ron Artest to the Rockets

Amidst all the talk of NBA players going overseas, the Rockets made a big splash yesterday trading for star SF Ron Artest. The Rockets parted with PG Bobby Jackson, a former King, a 2009 1st round draft pick, and rookie forward Donte Greene.

This trade gives Houston a legitimate 3rd option on the offensive end and arguably the best on-ball defender in the entire NBA. Last season, Artest averaged 20 points a game, 6 rebounds a game, shot 45% from the field and 38% from three. He has proven over the course of his career that he is a balanced two way player who plays both ends of the court very well. His best trait is being a smothering on the ball defender who can take the best perimeter player on the other team and take him right out of his comfort zone.

Artest, who's size and build gives the Rockets many different options, won the 2003-04 Defensive Player of the Year and his defensive ability is well respected in NBA circles. Off the court though, Artest hasn't been able to stay out of trouble. Obviously there was the 2004 Brawl at Auburn Hills (you know the one where an overreaction by Ben Wallace was the leading factor in ruining the Pacers franchise), there was the incident where he almost came to blows with Pat Riley, an arrest off the court for domestic abuse, a suspension from the Pacers because he dim wittingly asked if he could take a month off to promote an R+B album. Artest has had his fair share of off court issues and his behavior seems to be on a slippery slope since the Brawl at the Palace.

Despite all of his legal problems, Artest and the supporting cast around him is too good for this marriage not to work. You have a #1 scoring option in McGrady, you have a legit big man in Ming, you have a few nice role players such as Shane Battier and Luther Head, along with Dikembe Mutombold assuming Houston resigns him. Houston made themselves significantly better yesterday as they basically traded nothing and ended up with an upper echelon small forward in the league, as well as a legitimate third option that could help McGrady finally defeat the battle that is known as the 1st round of the NBA playoffs.

Now I don't think its time to crown Houston, as they still are in the Western Conference. If everything pans out as planned, they still could conceivably lose in the first round if they get hold of a bad matchup. Still, all in all I love the trade for Houston as they vastly improved their team and gave up a bucket of used baseballs to do it. Houston now just has to stay healthy. If they do stay healthy, they have the kind of team that can go deep in the playoffs.

1 comment:

Amani Roberts said...

Good article. Nice pic as well. Good choice there. Perhaps the Rockets are now the 3rd best team in the West behind LA, New Orleans and nip and tuck with San Antonio ...

Don't forget to mention Skip to My Lou ... ;-)

Good work