There is rightfully a lot of talk concerning the Houston Rockets going around leading up to the 2013-2014 NBA season. After all, you don’t sign the enigmatic Dwight Howard to join James Harden and then keep under-the-radar.
Much of the talk concerns Howard. People want to discuss how he and Omer Asik work together, either at the same time or as part of a rotation. There has also been some discussion about Jeremy Lin and Patrick Beverley battling for the starting point guard job. However, that leaves some unanswered questions concerning the deeper parts of the Rockets’ backcourt rotation, namely who is going to be their third point guard.
The two likely candidates heading into the season are five-year veteran Aaron Brooks and rookie Isaiah Canaan, taken in the second round of the 2013 NBA Draft by Houston this season. This battle obviously begs the question as to which player brings the most to the table for the Rockets.
It’s actually rather difficult to compare the two because they bring similar things to the table. Both players have shown a solid level of proficiency as scoring guards, but neither is a fantastic distributor or defender. In 325 career NBA games, Brooks has averaged 11.6 points and 3.4 assists in 24 minutes per game while shooting 41.5 percent from the floor and 36.4 percent from three.
Meanwhile, Canaan averaged an impressive 21.8 points and 4.3 assists per game for mid-major Murray State as a senior last season on 43.1 percent shooting and 37 percent three-point shooting. It’s also worth noting that as a junior, when Canaan was surrounded by a well-rounded team, he averaged 19 points and 3.6 assists per game on 46.8 percent shooting and 45.6 percent three-point shooting.
Ultimately, I think that the Rockets have to look for upside with their third point guard, which would obviously give the nod to Canaan. Sure, they could send Canaan to the D-League to develop further, but having Brooks as a third guard feels like a lateral move, something the forward-thinking Rockets aren’t exactly known for. I could be off-base with the Rockets’ line of thinking, but my money would be on Canaan slipping in as Houston’s third point guard.
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