Indiana persevered. Credit Lance Stephenson, the guy gets shit, but did he make a difference tonight. I've never seen an athlete so wasteful with his movement, but effective, yet a bonehead at the same time. Some of those putbacks and rebounds were instrumental.
They deserve to go thru in the end, they were comprehensive tonight.
Stephenson is the poor man's JR Smith. I love how Hibbert was all excited at the end of the game, like he was instrumental in their winning this series. At the end of the day, Hawks gave the series away, their ball handling was super sloppy and this game, they missed something like 20 3 pointers and at least half of those were wide open looks. Unless Vogel gets this team to the Finals, I would look to change him and make some personnel moves also (look to move Hibbert, Hill, Turner, maybe Stephenson)
The Rockets, nothing really to be ashamed about in losing to a strong Portland team but...................
they are awful on defense and the last play of yesterday's game was just saw terribly played by them Its almost like they wanted Portland to win. They need to make some moves (I just read the McHale is definitely coming back next year) and I am interested in what those will be. Most likely they will take the safe route, get whatever they can for Lin/Asik, make a play for a Carmelo (more scoring and even less defense) but probably just add a complimentary piece or two to Harden/Howard/Parsons. But, I would actually opine that they need to either get rid of Harden or keep Asik and get some good players in a trade for Howard. Harden is a difficult player to have carry you to a championship. He is a high scorer but that ball just stays with him so often and he refuses to play defense. I don't see how you can maximize Parsons and Howard with Harden on the team and I don't think you need 3 scorers on one team, unless guys adjust their games (a la Lebron/Wade/Bosh). Harden is the same player he was in OKC, just playing more and taking more shots. He doesn't really make anyone better, he'll play the same way whether he has Howard/Parsons on his team or whether he has D League players on his team. If you keep him, I don't see why you need Howard, put Asik in there to give you just about the same rebounds and blocks, what you lose in points you'll make up in the players you get for Howard (a wing defender, a legit knockdown 3 point shooter,).
Trade Howard/Lin to OKC for Westbrook, Sefolosha and throw Perkins in. Both teams get better.
Or trade Lin/Asik for a Rondo, as long as Harden stays as the primary ball handler on the Rockets, they will not get past the second round.
I don't think they're getting past the 2nd round w/ McHale.
No chance they trade either of Harden or Howard. Harden had a terrible series for him, but he was totally beastly the last 2 months of the season. Shouldn't overrate the importance of that one (very important) series. Still doesn't play defense, but I think he does make his teammates better. Dude's not a PG, that's not his priority, but he still averaged 6.1 assists/g, 15th in the league and higher than every non-PG except LBJ. He plays the pick and roll super super well, that was one of HOU's best options this series w/ him and Dwight.
Anyways, no chance they trade either of their superstars. Harden is still a top-10 player in the league, Howard is at least top-15. I like Asik a lot but he still has stone hands, can't shoot, has no moves, has no touch...Howard shot literally 59% from the field this season. Howard was really, really, really, really good this series.
So overall, you add your pieces, but the biggest hope is going to be that Harden improves. Don't know what his work ethic is like, but hopefully he works a ton on his iso moves, post moves, and obviously defense. Coaching is going to be super important for that as well. Parsons is going to be interesting. I think his contract is over, so it'll be a huge commitment if they decide to pay him.
It's a necessity to have 2 superstars to win a ship 90% of the time, and there's literally never been a team that's gotten better after trading one away. Denver was the closest but they're in the lottery now again. More importantly, Morey knows this and believes it fully. He gambled everything on getting those stars, and he's not giving either of them up.
Pacers are going to be very interesting in the off-season. They're probably going to lose to the Wizards, or get pasted by the Heat. If Hibbert continues struggling, I don't think there's any way they trade him, with no value. Similar situation for Hill, but he had way less value in the first place. They might, but I doubt they'd get anything substantial for him.
Turner is a shit player (and always has been), and he's an expiring contract. They're def not keeping him; he's gone, for nothing.
Stephenson is also an expiring unrestricted FA, which is reallllly interesting. A lot of ppl think he's killed a significant chunk of his value these last 2-3 months. If they can keep him for ~8 mil/yr or so, I think they try to do that. If not, then where are they really going?? If they let Lance walk I (might be wrong) don't think they have enough space to sign a big FA.
The only real significant moves they have are: trade Hibbert, sign Stephenson, sign-and-trade Stephenson, fire Vogel. Kevin Pritchard (their assistant GM or something) already said Vogel is staying earlier this series.