Scoring points seems like second nature for James Harden and Jeremy Lin in their new home but their team still lacks certain aspects of what make good teams great. Is big man Josh Smith the answer they seek?
Houston Rockets must solve defensive issues for Lin and Harden
Most experts are hard pressed to find a more interesting story than the Houston Rockets. The franchise took what many felt were some seriously big risks when they reformed their entire starting lineup around unproven players like Lin, James Harden and Omer Asik. Thirty games into the season and it appears for the moment like the gambles have paid off. All three players have All-Star considerations and the Rockets continue to hover above the .500 mark at 16-14. The big reason for the impressive turnaround is their top-ranked offense led by Lin and Harden that averages 105 points per game. That is two full points more than the mighty Miami Heat and three more than Lin's former team the New York Knicks. What has held Houston back over the past months is their continued struggles on defense. They rank second worst in the league, allowing 46% of opposing shots to go in, 8.4 three-pointers a night and 8.7 turnovers. Those are stats that must improve if they have any plans on making hey in the playoff picture. Are there players out there who can help?
Atlanta Hawks can't afford to lose Smith to NBA free agency
Sometimes the easiest way to solve a problem on offense or defense to going after players good at either. For Houston they need not look further than Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith. His numbers alone speak quite loud at 1.4 steals and 2.4 blocks per games. Not bad for a guy who is 6'9" and 230 pounds. With rare athleticism the man can defend the bigger players in the front court or the fast ones in the back court with equal effectiveness. For an idea of his impact, recent numbers taken show the Hawks allow 105 points per 100 possessions when Smith sits on the bench. When he is in however that number tanks to a respectable 97 points per 100 possessions. Any team in the league would take giving up eight fewer points a game in a heartbeat. That is why Smith may become one of the hottest NBA free agent targets next season and why Atlanta will work furiously to make sure he stays. Houston already spent a lot of money and draft picks on the roster they have but winning teams don't rest when a project is unfinished. Smith is a key piece to their championship hopes.
Jeremy Lin and James Harden can handle the offense for the Houston Rockets but the defense is another story. If the team can't groom somebody from within then a serious move for Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks makes too much sense.
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