Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Kevin McHale says he has two starting point guards: Jeremy Lin and Patrick Beverley. Should Houston fans be happy, nervous, or what?
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: Clearly that’s coach-ese, a “you’re not getting me to bite” response by McHale. I have no problem with position-by-committee approaches — if no one seizes the spot as his own. It’d be nice if the Rockets had or could get that guy, but James Harden has handle enough and will be getting the ball when it matters anyway.
Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: I don’t necessarily think it’s a reason to panic on this team. For one, the point guard is, at best, the third option in the Rockets offense behind James Harden and Dwight Howard. For another, Harden needs the ball in his hands to be most effective getting his own points or running pick and roll with Howard. Playing Patrick Beverley as the starter also puts some immediate defensive bite in the lineup and allows Jeremy Lin to come off the bench against the opponent’s second unit and have more room to freelance.
Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: As the great sports saying goes: It is what it is. The Rockets paid a high price to acquire Lin and if he’s not who they thought he is, well, they’ll have to deal with it. Lin has to become a better spot-up shooter because James Harden handles the ball so much, as well as finish stronger at the rim. I love the energy and defensive hustle Beverley brings off the bench, and he can knock down the 3-ball. Fortunately for the Rockets they have a psuedo-point guard in Harden anyway, and I kind of like Lin and Beverley as a tag team.
Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: It should make Houston fans think McHale can talk Coachspeak. And probably a little nervous. Barring rare circumstances, where the back up is one of the best reserves in the league, having two starters means a team does not have one good enough to win the job. That’s not a good thing. Coaches aren’t going to say that, so the reaction is to heap praise on both candidates.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: Depth is important, so to have two competent point guards is a good thing, especially when you have an offensive system that thrives on quality perimeter players moving the ball and spacing the floor. The Rockets’ best lineup could be with both point guards on the floor together, James Harden and Chandler Parsons at the forward spots, and Dwight Howard in the middle. Beverley will need to knock down threes, but that unit could take the pace-and-space style to a new level.
Sekou Smith, NBA.com: Rockets fans should be pleased that Daryl Morey and Kevin McHale have fortified a position of extreme importance with two players more than capable of handling the responsibility. If you need to know how important is to have a solid two-deep at point guard just ask the Oklahoma City Thunder, Chicago Bulls or Boston Celtics. They lost All-Stars at the position, superstars really, and saw their seasons altered as a result of the likes of Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo being lost for either the entirety or the remainder of their respective seasons. There was never a guarantee that Jeremy Lin was going to be the player who inspired Linsanity on a nightly basis for the duration of his career, so the Rockets are doing the right thing by using Beverley as both a motivator and security blanket for Lin. This isn’t like football, where the two-quarterback system often means you don’t have one that you can truly rely on. The Rockets needs both of their point guards to be ready to play at the highest level.
Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: Don’t worry, be happy. Are they supposed to be wary of a point guard controversy? Having two starting point guards on your roster is probably a good thing — you want as much talent available as possible, don’t you? — but only one of them can actually start. The old trope that “it’s not who starts, it’s who finishes” seems perfectly applicable here. I’m sure McHale will mix and match these guys according to match-ups and situations, although Lin’s improved 3-point shooting so far this season would seem to be making quite a case to stay on the court as much as possible.
Adriano Albuquerque, NBA.com Brasil: Definitely a little nervous. Jeremy Lin is not the greatest defender, and Beverley is not the most explosive or creative guy on offense. None of them seems like an ideal fit to take the court against the likes of Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Tony Parker and Steph Curry. Luckily for them, they have one of the best rim protectors in the league, so the Rockets don’t depend so heavily on either of them to be successful on both ends. Lin can distribute and take advantage of defensive breakdowns on the part of Houston’s opponents, and Beverley can stay in front of the ball and get under his man’s skin a little bit when needed, but most of the Rockets’ success or failure will ride on James Harden’s and Dwight Howard’s shoulders.
Hanson Guan, NBA.com China: It’s good news for Rocket fans. Many options are better than none. McHale can choose whether Lin or Beverley starts according to the Rockets’ opponent, giving Houston more tactical choices. Lin is good at shooting and penetrating, and – most impressively to me – can control the tempo of game. Beverly’s different, playing as a physical point guard, especially on the defensive end. That should make up for Lin’s shortcomings. And in fact, the Rockets have three starting point guard, James Harden in the mix, too.