The Houston Rockets have finally announced their starting lineup for tonight’s season opener… sort of. Chandler Parsons gave away information that Kevin McHale has refused to disclose, saying that the starting lineup would be the same as the preseason finale. That means that in addition to the obvious starters of James Harden at shooting guard, Parsons at small forward and Dwight Howard at center, Omer Asik will start at power forward and Patrick Beverley, not Jeremy Lin, will start at point guard.
If this does prove to be the case, it is absolutely the correct decision from McHale. Beverley makes more sense than Lin for a few reasons, and credit goes to the Rockets for ignoring name value and media and fan pressure. First of all, Beverley ended the season playing much better than Lin, and he was a key player down the stretch and in the playoffs for Houston.
Beverley has continued that by outplaying Lin for the majority of the preseason, and he has earned his spot in the starting lineup. Beverley fits well alongside Harden and Howard, because he doesn’t need as many shots as Lin does, and he is a much better defender. Lin will be more effective coming off the bench, where he can be the offensive focal point of the second unit.
Futhermore, Beverley’s future with the team looks much more secure than Lin’s. Beverley makes less than $2 million over the next two seasons, while Lin makes $5 million this year and $15 million next season. Lin’s name has come up in trade rumors several times since Howard signed with Houston, and that will likely continue.
The Rockets also drafted the promising Isaiah Canaan in the second round in June, and it would make sense for them to try to clear up some minutes for him. It is unlikely that the Rockets are going to choose Lin over either Beverley or Canaan in long term.
Don’t be surprised if Lin is shipped out before the trade deadline, and the decision to start Beverley seems to indicate a changing of the guard at the point for the Rockets. This is a good move from Houston, and if they get trade Lin for some depth on the wing or in the front court, in will look even better.