Could the Houston Rockets Have Still Been a Playoff Team without James Harden Acquistition?

2 of 9

Does James Harden Enhance the Talents of His Teammates?

Apr. 15, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA: Houston Rockets guard Jeremy Lin (7) takes a shot over Phoenix Suns guard Goran Dragic (1) in the first quarter at the US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

As much as Harden facilitates for guys like Chandler Parsons, Lin and Omer Asik, he also just takes a lot away from other players. Lin could potentially average three to five more points per game if he were a more featured guard.

Lin’s usage rate is extremely low, 38th among NBA point guards. There are a number of backups who are more heavily featured in their teams’ offenses than Lin is with the Rockets, despite the outward appearance that he is fully integrated.

Lin finds a number of ways to impact the game, though. He’s a very underrated defender with good lateral foot speed, and he understands how to cover the pick and roll. He’s smart. He communicates well. And Lin makes the Rockets a far better team.

If Kevin Martin were still on the Rockets, Lin’s offensive initiative would be more like it was in New York, and he’d either sink or swim.  I’d venture to say swim, but the sides of the Lin debate are fairly drastically split:  most people either think Lin is great or that he’s garbage.

I adopt a much more realistic stance in believing Lin is simply a very good NBA player who had a phenomenal start.  His high-upside may be just to average 15 points and seven assists per game, but it’s almost as though people neglect to realize that is avery good stat line for a starting point guard.  Linsanity is a more appropriate moniker than imaginable, because a lot of Lin fans and Lin Haters truly are equally as insane with their inaccurate assessments of Lin’s talents.

And Lin is just one of many Rockets who have helped this team become the playoff threat it is.

Chandler Parsons is one of the best second rounders in the last five drafts or so, coming unheralded out of Florida. The 6’9″ small forward compares very favorably to Scottie Pippen, in terms of play style and impact.

Parsons is capable of big scoring nights when the Rockets need it, and is also the league’s best bargain since he gets paid a meager $880,000. Parsons has averaged 15.4 points per game, 3.5 assists and 5.3 rebounds.

Parsons increased his Player Efficiency Rating to 15.32, which ranks 21st among small forwards. His big game potential can be noted in the fact that he’s had 20 games with 20 points or more, though the Rockets are just 11-9 in those games.