Red Nation Roundup: Rotations and Roster Spots

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With the NBA season starting in just two days, it's time for the Rockets to make their final cuts and to establish their rotation. James Harden, Trevor Ariza, and Ryan Anderson have their spots in the starting lineup set in stone. That's clear. And although there has been some speculation that Nene would start over Clint Capela until earned his spot as a starter, you'd expect Capela to start on opening night considering his pick and roll ability and his high-octane playing style. In regards to the off-guard position, Eric Gordon is expected to start next to Harden due to the arthroscopic knee surgery that will keep Patrick Beverley out for 4-6 weeks.

However, it'd be interesting if D'Antoni looks towards KJ McDaniels as some what of a token start at the shooting guard position so that Eric Gordon's 6th man role can be established. Staggering Harden and Gordon would allow the offense to have a solid playmaker in each of the 1st and 2nd units, and the offense can get stagnant when Harden isn't on the court. He couldn't even get a 2 minute break without the Rockets' offense completely breaking down last year. It was atrocious.

Looking at the bench, Corey Brewer, KJ McDaniels, Nene, and Montrezl Harrell have secured a spot in the rotation. Pablo Prigioni and Tyler Ennis will be fighting for minutes at backup point guard, unless Ennis gets cut. Sam Dekker will be trying to pry minutes as a 3 and stretch 4 from guys like Corey Brewer (Dekker has probably earned all of Brewer's minutes by now). Rookie F/C Chinanu Onuaku will be starting off his career in Rio Grande Valley.

G Bobby Brown, G Tyler Ennis, F Kyle Wiltjer, F/G P.J. Hairston, and G Gary Payton II are all competing for the final 2 roster spots. Kyle Wiltjer (a.k.a, Ryan Anderson Jr.) and Tyler Ennis could make it, but Bobby Brown made a grand final impression with 23 points and 9 assists against San Antonio in the Rockets' last preseason game. As always, it'll be tough to make these final cuts.

It's definitely going to be interesting to see what D'Antoni can do with the rotation and how he utilizes each individual player. Now, in this week's edition of Red Nation Roundup, here are some great articles that will address player news, rotations, roster spots.

Questions left about roster, rotation as Rockets' preseason nears end | Houston Chronicle

Here's an article that addresses key roster spot and rotational questions. It cites preseason performances, thoughts from D'Antoni, and thoughts as to which final roster spot candidates would best fit this organization. Check it out!

Minus Donatas Motiejunas, Rockets move on | ESPN

With D-Mo and the Rockets not getting any closer to an agreement, the Rockets are set to give Sam Dekker his minutes. It includes how D'Antoni can utilize Dekker's versatility, which will be key for cracking a spot in the rotation. All in all, D'Antoni will surely find time for Dekker in Motiejunas' absence from the team.

Rockets' Clint Capela working to fill Dwight Howard's shoes | ESPN

With Dwight's departure, comes Capela's rise. This article articulates how Clint Capela can replace Dwight Howard, and how he can take the steps needed to become the next featured big man in the long line of bigs that have come and gone in the Rockets organization. Expectations are high for the young center, and he seems ready to reinforce those expectations.

Rockets' Eric Gordon moving into starting lineup | Houston Chronicle

With Patrick Beverley out for 4-6 weeks, Eric Gordon is probably the next man up. He will provide an instant scoring punch to the starting lineup, along with an underrated passing ability. Gordon will be ready to play off of what Harden creates.

Scaletta: K.J. McDaniels is primed for a breakout year | Fastbreak

After a couple years as a bench warmer, KJ McDaniels is finally going to get his chance. This article describes what this freak athlete can bring to the table. Blocking shots, monster slams, and great defense, KJ has what it takes to make a big impact for this team.

Kyle Wiltjer: Looking good for the Rockets | SB Nation’s “The Slipper Still Fits”

Kyle Wiltjer! The man can shoot, and he's been showing it throughout the preseason, taking advantage of every minute he gets. He has made a legitimate case for one of the final roster spots, and this article elaborates on that thought.

James Harden could put up historic numbers in Mike D’Antoni’s system | SB Nation

James Harden + Mike D'Antoni = Endless Offensive Opportunity. Here's an article that suggests the potential offensive wonders that this combo has to offer. Harden is a perfect fit in the free-flowing offense that D'Antoni runs. It'll get you excited.

Video: The Case for the Underhanded Free Throw |

Nanu's bringing back the Underhanded Free Throw! Check this video out to see it. You'd wish that a certain Atlanta Hawk would've tried this earlier in his career...


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