It’s no secret the Rockets are a contender in the absolutely stacked Western Conference, but will they be as good as they were last year? That’s to be determined. However, they are making all the right moves since they let Trevor Ariza slip this off-season. They have now gotten rid of that ugly contract with Ryan Anderson.
Ariza is a “glue” guy that most teams would love to have. He’s a solid on-ball and perimeter defender, while also having a very sound offense game. He can knock down the 3-ball, attack the rim, and play out of the triple-threat position. But as we all know, Houston is now looking at Carmelo Anthony to play a similar role and contribute to this team in an Ariza-like manner. Besides Melo, Houston still has their starting 4 from last season, P.J. Tucker. These guys are expected to stretch the floor and knock down jumpers after a dish from Harden or CP3.
Ryan Anderson would have been the next guy in that rotation, until now. Don’t get me wrong, Anderson is a knock down shooter. He’s got size and skill, but what is he worth to Houston? Certainly not what his contract entails, which would require Houston to pay him almost $42mil over the next two seasons. Sure, he can shoot the ball, but he’s an absolute target for opposing teams in pick-n-roll situations. Anderson can’t play defense, and that’s what Houston needs to focus on with losing Ariza. It truly doesn’t matter how strong their offense is, when the Warriors are the team to beat in the West. You will not beat the Warriors with offense.
Of course with Anderson’s hefty contract, Houston had to take a comparable contract in return, which comes from the likes of Brandon Knight. With about $30mil over the next two years, Houston still has some contractual issues with Knight. But Knight wasn’t the only player from Phoenix in this deal. Houston also acquired big man Marquese Chriss who will have more of an impact than most people realize.
Chriss is a young big man with very high potential in many areas of his game. He will be very effective if he moves off-ball with Harden and CP3 dishing out dimes. Chriss also brings a defensive presence which will pair up nice with Clint Capela on the floor, or be that substitute when he’s not. I’ll tell ya, Marquese Chriss was a sneaky value play for me all season long on Draftkings last year, and I expect nothing less this season. Don’t be surprised when you see Chriss stretching the floor and in the corner and knocking down plenty of 3-balls.
Overall, it was good move for Houston as it seems like they’ve been trying to dump off Anderson’s contract for a while now. I think they got more than they needed in return, and are better than they were yesterday at this time. Keep an eye on Chriss if you’re a DFS player…the value will be there all season long.