It is no secret that the Houston Rockets need to improve the play of the power forward position if they want to contend in 2013-14. Knowing is one thing, but how they are going to accomplish it is another. One way to do it is to sign either Al Jefferson or Josh Smith in free agency.
The Rockets want to believe that they can fill the need internally, but unfortunately, that will simply not do if the team wants to make a splash in the 2014 NBA playoffs. Chandler Parsons can be effective at power forward, but he would do some much more damage at small forward. That way James Harden can play a more natural shooting guard.
Even though Jefferson primarily plays center and Smith suits up at small forward, both players are more than capable of handling the power forward position.
Jefferson averaged 17.8 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.1 blocks, 1.0 steals and 33.1 minutes per game while converting 49.4 percent of his shots from the field with the Utah Jazz in 2012-13. Considering Houston desperately needs someone to clean up the boards on a bad shooting night, Jefferson and center Omer Asik (11.7 rebounds per game) could work well together in the middle. Not to mention, Jefferson could also be a legitimate threat in the post, something else the Rockets really need.
Smith is the better acquisition if Houston is looking to move the ball up and down the court with ease. He is capable of knocking down shots from pretty much anywhere on the floor, including from 3-point range. Not to mention, he is a blocking machine (2.1 per game career average) who will be very effective on both sides of the court. Mixing him in with Harden, Parsons and point guard Jeremy Lin could be a devastating combination.
Smith averaged 17.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.8 blocks, 1.2 steals and 35.3 minutes per game in 76 contests in 2012-13. He also shot 46.5 percent from the field and 30.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Whether the Rockets decide to dip into free agency to improve the four spot is up to management. With that being said, the organization must address the need externally this offseason in order for the team to be effective in the fall.