Every-Thing Sports

Jermaine Every: Some names to watch as possible future Rockets

Gerald Green was an underrated signing. Is there another one out there to be made? Rockets.com

LeBron has opted out of his contract with the Cavs and decided to sign a four-year deal with the Lakers. Paul George decided to stay with the Thunder. The Rockets went on to re-sign Chris Paul to a four-year, $160 million-dollar deal, although they lost Trevor Ariza to the Suns. The team is also in negotiations with restricted free agent Clint Capela. The Rockets have the right of first refusal since Capela is restricted. Meaning, if another team signs him to an offer sheet, the Rockets have seven days to match. So far, no team has signed Capela to an offer sheet. This bodes well for their chances to retain him at a relatively decent salary, and sans any poison pills. Also, bringing back Gerald Green on a veteran minimum deal was underrated.

So what’s next for the Rockets? What will they do now? They drafted a couple guys in the second round in De’Anthony Melton (6’4, 200lbs) and Vincent Edwards (6’8, 225lbs). Melton is a slashing defender, while Edwards is a solid 3-point shooter. Neither is expected to contribute much this season. If I had to say who is more likely to see more valuable court time this year, I’d say Edwards. He can step into the small forward/wing role vacated by Trevor Ariza. Melton may only see garbage time, or may earn more time as a defensive replacement.

There are still free agents to pursue that can help this team. But the team doesn’t have the cap space to sign any high dollar guys and will once again have to bargain buy. Here are a few guys I believe Daryl Morey can secure at a reasonable price:

Avery Bradley, Guard

Bradley is the type of “three and D” guy you need on the perimeter. He’s a proven veteran who remains unsigned. Paul has an extensive injury history and Bradley can provide valuable backcourt depth. Someone like him can aid in the loss of Ariza as he can help fill the quarterback of the defense role on the court. UPDATE: Bradley agreed to a deal with the Clippers.

Isaiah Thomas, Guard

I know. I know. He’s a wee fella that’s a defensive liability. But his scoring punch off the bench at the backup point guard spot could work wonders. Thomas had an injury-plagued year and may be willing to take less money and a lesser role to rehab his image in hopes of one last payday.

Luc Mbah a Moute, Forward

His shoulder injury wasn’t fully healed and it seemed to affect him mentally in the playoffs. He’s 31 now and shouldn’t command much more than a veteran minimum contract to return to the Rockets. It’d be worth it to see if he can be the contributor they expected him to be last year.

Jeff Green, Forward

Green missed the ’11-’12 season due to a heart issue. Now that he’s been back and playing well for a few years, his love of the game has been evident. Last year, he proved valuable for the Cavs’ run to the Finals. A long athletic guy that is a willing defender and can score would be a welcomed edition.

Jamal Crawford, Guard

Crawford is a consummate professional who won the NBA Teammate of the Year Award in his 18th season. Crawford is a scoring savant still at age 38. The Warriors and Sixers are teams rumored to be in pursuit. This signing would not only strengthen the Rockets, but keep a potential scoring threat away from their biggest rival.

Honorable Mention:

Alex Len, Center; Jahlil Okafor, Center; Rodney Hood, Forward; Yogi Ferrell, Guard

All of these guys are still out there and unsigned after the initial wave of free agency. None of them should command an outrageous salary because none of them are superstar caliber players. The Warriors just got even stronger with the addition of Demarcus Cousins (I have thoughts on this tomfoolery, but that’s another article). The Rockets can’t match talent with them, so they’ll need to add pieces that fit their puzzle. The better pieces, the better the fit, the better their chances are of knocking off the Warriors. Oh…and they have to watch out for that guy in Los Angeles also.

 

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Should Watson be in the MVP conversation? Composite image by Jack Brame.

The 2020 NFL season has a lot going on. Even if we take the coronavirus out of it, there's still a lot to digest. There are so many great performances being put up, one can make an argument for several players to win league MVP. The quarterback position typically gets more credit than others. If I restrict the argument to quarterbacks only, we're looking at Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, and Aaron Rodgers. Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara, and Derrick Henry are the leading contenders at running back. On defense, there really isn't a standout defender. The defense gets no love, but there are several guys in the running for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

Deshaun Watson has been putting up numbers that have matched or rivaled some of the top MVP candidates over his last seven games. That stretch has coincided with the firing of head coach/general manager Bill O'Brien. Coincidence? I think not. Taking the reigns off a wild horse can often lead to said horse running free and flourishing! So question: Should Watson be getting league MVP considerations? I think so.

For starters, he's been one of the best players in the league over the course of the last seven games. 18 passing touchdowns and only two interceptions. The only quarterback with a better touchdown to interception ratio over that same span is Mahomes (19 and 2, as opposed to Watson's 18 & 2). Factoring in total season stats, of course Mahomes is doing much better. He's on a better team with a much better coach and general manager. The same could be said for Wilson and Rodgers. Put Watson on any of those teams and their records wouldn't be any worse than what they are now.

The Texans are 4-3 since firing O'Brien. While that isn't a great record, consider the fact they started the season 0-4 and looked like a total disaster. Watson looked like he was caged and couldn't wait to be freed. The team's record could be even better if the defense had a pulse. The proper supporting cast has a lot to do with a player's MVP candidate's chances. Now that one of his favorite weapons, Will Fuller, and the team's best corner, Bradley Roby, are both suspended for the rest of the season by the league for violating the substance abuse/PED policy, things will get much tougher for Watson.

If he continues to put up these cartoon like numbers, I don't see why he wouldn't be in the MVP conversation. He's currently fopurth in passing yards, sixth in completion percentage, tied for fifth in passing touchdowns, eighth in QBR, and third in quarterback rating. Watson is emerging as the star he was projected to be coming into the 2017 draft. I'm not saying Watson deserves to be the league MVP, but he deserves to be in the conversation. His MVP candidacy should be treated like the family gathering hierarchy: once you reach a certain age and/or status, you're no longer resigned to the kiddie table. Now you get to sit with all the adults, engage in their conversations, and gain access to things you couldn't previously. Watson won't win the MVP award, but I strongly believe he could finish top five. Especially if he keeps making lemonade with the lemons he's been given.

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