Ralph Sampson was part of the pitch to bring Dwight Howard to Houston — he’s a Hall of Famer and part of the Rockets history of big men.
But like a guy who has been through the long grind of an NBA season, Sampson knows assembling good players is like having all the ingredients to make Pad Thai — putting it together in a way that works is something else entirely.
“You got a good start (in Houston), you got the makings of a good foundation, now the coaching staff and everybody’s got to put it together,” Sampson told ProBasketballTalk during the adidas Nations high school showcase, where Sampson was a coach. “The pieces are coming together but it’s an 82-game season a lot of things can happen as far as injuries or other situations.”
Keeping Howard healthy and getting him back to playing — particularly defending and rebounding — like he did in Orlando would be key. Sampson said he thought if the systems are set up right he thinks Howard and Amir Asik could work together.
In offense, the Rockets should have a killer pick-and-roll with Howard (and he’ll get the ball more on the roll from James Harden than he did from Jameer Nelson back in the day) but it will take more than that.
“You got to have more than a pick-and-roll,” Sampson said. “You got to have a lot more offense. They have more offense with Harden, and (Jeremy) Lin and others guys. They should have a good squad.”
Should be. It’s just a matter of how it comes together.
Report: Lakers working toward buyout with Jose Calderon; Warriors, Rockets interested
The Lakers took on the salary of Jose Calderon this year so they could get a couple second-round picks from the Bulls (Chicago got him from New York in the Derrick Rose trade), but even with the previous regime in Los Angeles the aging point guard was never part of the future.
Sources told ESPN that it’s not yet a certainty Calderon will secure his release from the Lakers in the coming days, but the sides are indeed discussing the options as Wednesday’s playoff eligibility deadline nears….
Sources say that Calderon, if he winds up hitting the open market, would instantly become a target for both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.
Cleveland may also have interest if their plan to land Deron Williams when he is bought out by Dallas goes awry.
Calderon, 35, was not part of the Lakers’ regular rotation, playing in just 24 games. He can still knock down a shot if he has space and can set his feet, and he still has a high hoops IQ and can see the floor, but his athleticism has faded, and that can leave him exposed. Particularly on defense.
Players are being waived now so they clear in time for teams to sign them by March 1, after that said players are not eligible for playoff rosters.
There are better players to hit the waiver wire in the coming days — D-Will, Andrew Bogut, Matt Barnes — but Calderon is going to land somewhere. He’d be a solid third point guard and veteran presence for a playoff run.
Marquese Chriss blocks Bobby Portis, who gets testy (video)
The time off during the All-Star break did Dwyane Wade some good.
The Bulls guard turned back the clock on Friday night, leading the Bulls with 23 points and topping it off with this dunk that proved to be the dagger, sealing a Chicago win. The Suns were convinced Wade was going to run the shot clock way down before making his move and they lollygagged into position — so he just blew past everyone for the poster slam.
With a couple of minutes left to go in the second quarter, Isaiah Thomas made the steal when DeMar DeRozan lost the ball on a drive, and Thomas was off to the races. Trying to prevent a lay-up, Carroll decided to foul Thomas far from the basket, but did so with a forearm shove that sent Thomas sprawling on the ground.