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Rockets Fanatic
07-30-2008, 02:11 PM
There were a lot of contending teams that Ron Artest could have helped. What's unique about the Houston Rockets, however, is they're about the only ones he'll help more on offense than defense.



For most contenders, the lure of Artest was in his much-lauded defensive skill, while the concern was that he wouldn't tone it down on the offensive end and take a back seat to other star players who scored more easily.



For the Rockets, however, getting Artest is mostly about offense. Houston already had the second-best defense in the league a year ago, and in Shane Battier has one of the league's premier wing defenders.

Adande: Getting An Edge

How will Ron Artest fit in with Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady? He should give the Rockets a needed edge, writes J.A. Adande. Story
Hollinger: Artest worth risk
My spies in Houston tell me the idea is to line up Artest at power forward, where he has the muscle to bang with 4s in the post, and then dare bigger opponents to match up with him at the other end. He was extremely effective doing this in Sacramento, and will have a lot more opportunity to do so in Houston since a big chunk of his minutes figure to come at the 4.



And while the Rockets see him as their No. 3 offensive weapon behind Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, it's a strong third. Houston ranked only 17th in offensive efficiency last season, and McGrady sometimes broke down under the strain of having to create offense for everybody else -- most visibly in Game 2 of the Utah series this spring. Houston badly needed another perimeter player who can create his own shot, and Artest fills that hole.



Meanwhile, adding a fourth perimeter player should be of huge benefit to Yao Ming as well. Opponents will be much more reluctant to double him and will have to recover once they do, with McGrady, Artest, Battier and Rafer Alston all competent 3-point threats and Brent Barry and Luther Head poised to come in firing off the bench.



Plus, when McGrady checks out with an injury -- something that's a pretty good bet to happen at some point this season, based on recent history -- Houston has another creator to fill in without too great a drop in quality.



The big idea is that Artest, between his scoring and his underrated playmaking skills, will add enough offense to get Houston well into the upper half of the league in offensive efficiency. From there, the Rockets' suffocating D -- with Artest adding yet another stopper to the mix -- can accomplish the rest. If it comes to fruition, Houston could find itself hoisting the Larry O'Brien Trophy next June.



Obviously, this move comes with a certain level of risk it's Ron freaking Artest, people. But considering Houston's position, you have to like the gamble.



For starters, he likes the coach. Artest played for Rick Adelman in Sacramento and had a very successful run, helping the Kings rally to a playoff spot and scare the daylights out of San Antonio in the first round in 2006. Sure, he might still go crazy at some point, but this is infinitely better than Artest not liking the coach.



Second, the trade didn't cost them much. Houston gave up two first-round picks, but one was the 28th pick in this year's draft (Donte Greene), and the other is in 2009 and is also likely to be in the 20s. Otherwise, they gave up only reserve guard Bobby Jackson, whose minutes will be replaced by two players of comparable quality (Barry and Head), and a chunk of owner Les Alexander's money, which matters only if your name is Les Alexander.



Additionally, Houston has an out. With Artest having only one year left on his deal, it's a relatively low-risk proposition for the Rockets. If he plays hard and behaves, great -- they're title contenders. If not, they'll let him walk and be out only the two late first-rounders.



Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there's The Window issue. Look, Houston's time is now -- and when I say now, I mean right now. Among the starters, McGrady is a very old 29, Yao is 28, Battier is 30 and Alston is 32; behind them, presumptive sixth man Luis Scola is 28, Head is 25 and Barry is 36.



With McGrady and Yao becoming increasingly brittle, it's incumbent on the Rockets to do whatever they can to contend for a title while their two stars are still capable of reaching the mountaintop.



By themselves that wasn't possible, as the past two seasons showed. With a third star and a team-oriented, defensive-minded squad around them, however, things start looking awfully interesting not to mention awfully similar to the reigning champions in Boston.



It's a roll of the dice, sure, but it's a calculated risk with limited downside. Given the cards Houston had to play, it's a tremendous move.



As for the Kings, this is probably about as good as they could have hoped to do considering Artest's volatile nature and expiring contract. Greene was only the 28th pick in the draft, but he had a great summer league and appears to have a solid future as a perimeter-oriented 4 man. The 2009 pick also will help in the rebuilding process -- even if it's likely to be in the 20s -- and while Jackson doesn't offer much long-term help, he's a known quantity in Sactown and might be able to fetch something extra at the trade deadline if he plays well.



Moreover, the trade gets Sacramento under the luxury tax, an important consideration for a team that isn't going to be making the playoffs anyway.



And perhaps best of all, it finally establishes Sacramento as Kevin Martin's team. For the past two years, the Kings have appeared to have a hard time understanding that their most efficient scorer should be getting a bigger chunk of the shots; now that the options of forcing it to Artest or Mike Bibby are gone, Martin can get on with pumping in 25 a game and not worry about going entire quarters without seeing the ball.



But ultimately, this deal is about Houston going all-in to get a ring from its McGrady-Yao nucleus while it still can. And if Artest can use his walk year as motivation to stay well-behaved for a year, the Rockets just might pull it off.


John Hollinger writes for ESPN Insider. To e-mail him, click here.




This is great for Houston cuz this fills the backup C need. Luis Scola will now be the 6th Man off the bench. That means when he plays WITH Yao, he will be a PF, But he will also serve as our backup C when Yao needs to come out. He will split time between PF and C but still get his fair share of minutes. Our 2nd Group is now
C: Luis Scola
PF: Carl Landry
SF: Brent Barry
SG: Luther Head
PG: Aaron Brooks/Steve Francis

Jahari Kavi
07-30-2008, 02:14 PM
He will be the 3 or 2...............you can play him at 4 during stretches, but you're starting lineup will be

PG: Alston
SG: Tmac
SF: Artest
PF: Scola
C: Yao

HOZ THE KNICK
07-30-2008, 02:32 PM
He will be the 3 or 2...............you can play him at 4 during stretches, but you're starting lineup will be

PG: Alston
SG: Tmac
SF: Artest
PF: Scola
C: Yao
that's the lineup they should go with.

SportsFan1988
07-30-2008, 02:34 PM
All that should be done is move Battier into the 6th man slot, that way Artest can fit into the starting lineup.

Alston
T-Mac
Artest
Scola
Yao

6.Battier

It's as easy as that. :)

LAKERMANIA
07-30-2008, 02:40 PM
Artest at the four? lol..

dre1990
07-30-2008, 02:41 PM
Battier
6th man of the year

YankeeFan89
07-30-2008, 02:42 PM
All that should be done is move Battier into the 6th man slot, that way Artest can fit into the starting lineup.

Alston
T-Mac
Artest
Scola
Yao

6.Battier

It's as easy as that. :)

Yeah it makes sense too. But now you have two great defenders to send at players like Kobe throughout the whole game..

How bout Steve Francis can he be the old "Stevie Franchise?"

madiaz3
07-30-2008, 02:47 PM
I've seen a Knicks/Kings game earlier last season where in order to hold on Artest defended Curry for the last half of the quarter and shut him down.

Jay22Redd
07-30-2008, 02:47 PM
All that should be done is move Battier into the 6th man slot, that way Artest can fit into the starting lineup.

Alston
T-Mac
Artest
Scola
Yao

6.Battier

It's as easy as that. :)

I like it

theimortalone
07-30-2008, 02:48 PM
He will be the 3 or 2...............you can play him at 4 during stretches, but you're starting lineup will be

PG: Alston
SG: Tmac
SF: Artest
PF: Scola
C: Yao

What about Battier?

The83rdWonder
07-30-2008, 02:53 PM
I don't think it was Hollinger's intentions to make it sound like Artest was going to start at the 4. He'll get some time at the 4, but not as much as the 3.

Right now I'd go with:
Alston-McGrady-Artest-Scola-Yao with Battier as the 6th man.

Chronz
07-30-2008, 02:56 PM
I full expect Artest to get a good chunk of his playing time at the 4

bryan71023
07-30-2008, 03:06 PM
The Rockets should just put Shane Battier at the 4 spot lol he's 6-8 220lbs but I doubt they do that.

PG: Alston
SG: McGrady
SF: Artest
PF: Battier
CT: Yao

frizbo72
07-30-2008, 03:09 PM
As a jazz fan I would love to see him play the 4. D-Will-Alston, Brewer-Tmac, AK-Battier, Artest-Boozer, and Yao-Okur. I'd take that everyday of the week. Scola is the one that scares me and the less PT he gets the better. Plus I would like to see what Scola can do now he is not a secret anymore.

GCOOKIE7
07-30-2008, 03:58 PM
i'd rather keep Scola at the 4 or even Battier

JordansBulls
07-30-2008, 04:00 PM
No need to put him at the 4, just reduce Yao and T-mac's minutes to around 33-35 mpg so that they are less prone to get injured and are more fresh for the playoffs.

PHX-SOXFAN
07-30-2008, 04:03 PM
I full expect Artest to get a good chunk of his playing time at the 4

not in the west he won't. He played the 4 last year a lot for sacramento and it looked to me like he hated guarding amare when they played the suns. Amare abused him in the game I went to. I imagine the same thing will happen with guys like gasol, jefferson, duncan, west, boozer,

Rockets Fanatic
07-30-2008, 04:05 PM
close the thread plz

yaowowrocket11
07-30-2008, 04:06 PM
No need to put him at the 4, just reduce Yao and T-mac's minutes to around 33-35 mpg so that they are less prone to get injured and are more fresh for the playoffs.

:nod:

That makes perfect sense.

rriders9
07-30-2008, 04:11 PM
If Yao and T-Mac stay healthy they have a legitimate chance at a championship

SHONIE
07-30-2008, 04:11 PM
Battier off the bench. He will split time at the 3 and the 2, with artest splitting between the 3 and the 4, and scola between the 4 and the 5. A solid 7 man rotation eating the majority of the minutes, plus landry, francis, head, brooks, and barry taking the rest of them. Just take some minutes away from Yao and Tmac and keep them fresh and healthy.

SHONIE
07-30-2008, 04:11 PM
plus everything will change once one of them goes down with injury. If yao is out, artest could start at the 4. If tmac is out, move battier to the 2 and start scola. It will all work out

JOSETHEALLSTAR
07-30-2008, 06:20 PM
Alston
T-Mac
Artest
Scola
Yao