There’s no doubt in the minds of the NBA and the fans that the Houston Rockets are elated to have signed All-Star center Dwight Howard this summer and, as a result, that they have high hopes for the upcoming 2013-2014 NBA season. However, the arrival of Dwight in Houston also puts the team in a bit of a quandary.
Obviously the Rockets are going to feature Howard quite a bit in their lineup alongside James Harden, but they also have another big man that they want to get on the floor as much as possible in Omer Asik, who, coincidentally, started all 82 games at center for Houston last season.
I speculated earlier this summer that the Rockets could and should experiment with Asik at the power forward, a position of weakness for Houston, so they could get both of their big men on the floor. However, it appears that the Rockets are planning on experimenting with Howard rather than Asik at the four.
Houston general manager Daryl Morey participated in a Reddit AMA (short for ask me anything) on Friday evening and was asked about Asik playing the power forward. Morey responded by saying, “Coach [Kevin] McHale plans to experiment with Dwight at PF and Omer as C in training camp. If it works and helps us win, obviously we would look at using it.” Well that certainly changes the perception of the way things could play out.
Obviously there is still no telling if we will see any looks with Dwight or Asik at the four in the regular season, but Morey saying that they are going to look at Howard at power forward is truly surprising. Neither Howard nor Asik are really suited for stretching the floor at the power forward and both are, more or less, true centers. Sure, having both on the floor makes for a ridiculous defensive and rebounding frontcourt, but it could also clog the lane a great deal offensively.
For all we know at this point, Dwight could surprise everyone and develop his game to fit at the power forward. Going off of his track record, though, this seems like an experiment that isn’t going to work out. When opening night rolls around, I’d be quite surprised if Asik and Howard were both in the starting lineup.