LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 04: Goran Dragic #3 of the Houston Rockets goes up for a shot over Ryan Gomes #15 of the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on January 4, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Steve's busy this morning attending his son's rugby match (I think it's a "match" anyway, rather than a game) and has asked me to assemble today's "Questionable Blogger". Steve had a little conversation with Tom Martin of The Dream Shake our sister SBNation Rockets blog. Tom answers Steve's questions below, while Steve answers Tom's questions over there. (It wasn't long ago (March 4th) that the Clips faced Rockets. Steve and Tom went mano-a-mano on that one as well. Find it here.) Capisce?
Steve Perrin:When last we chatted, I asked you about Houston's strange obsession with 2009 draft busts. Well, at the trade deadline the team parlayed a few of those guys into Marcus Camby and
the corpse of Derek Fisher a first round pick. Have you got your head around the new additions to the team yet? I have to say, I find it all a little bewildering. Camby and Fisher are both 37, and Camby is in the last year of his deal. Are the Rockets trying to win a title this season? If not, why do this? Was this trade about now (Camby) or the future (the Dallas pick)? I'm confused.
(Go on and make the jump to see Tom Martin's fascinating answer.)
Tom Martin: Reports indicated Houston went for the home run and tried to acquire Dwight Howard or Andrew Bogut, but neither of those worked out. So they did what they always seem to do at the deadline: They traded away expiring contracts and second-round picks and attempted to get some value in return. I'd say Camby and a first-rounder is a pretty darn good haul for three '09 draft busts and a conditional pick. But there's a lot of Rockets fans who, like you, are confused by this because they thought Houston would make a move that could finally determine the direction of this team (rebuild, reload or win now). To me, the thinking is simple: With Ricky Rubio out of the picture and with the Trail Blazers hosting a yard sale, the Rockets figured they might as well grab a nice piece for their bench (which really, really helps them) and gear up for a playoff run without harming the future. In fact, they helped the future by getting that draft pick, though it's only going to be somewhere in the 20s. So, I liked the moves, and I think that it's smart of Daryl Morey to want to keep this team competitive in a way that doesn't hamper the Rockets' cap room this summer.
SP: Seriously though, you're going to miss Thabeet and Flynn and Hill. Admit it
TM: I'll miss Thabeet's superhuman ability to pull stray cats from tall trees.
SP: Chase Budinger was the starter at the end of last season after the Shane Battier trade, he started some this year, then he fell completely out of the rotation, and now he's back playing in the last three games. Help me out here -- I honestly have no idea what's happening. Did he get hurt to lose his rotation spot? Did someone else get hurt for him to get it back? Or is McHale just trying to figure things out? I thought the Rockets were high on Budinger -- he's always looked good when I've seen him play.
TM: Budinger's play indicates just how inconsistent he can be. We love Budinger... then we hate Budinger... BUT THEN 22 POINTS FROM BUDINGER, LET'S LOVE HIM AGAIN! That's the rollercoaster ride we deal with, because he's such a one-dimensional player. I don't think the Rockets planned on benching him so often this year, but they desperately needed a good wing defender in the starting lineup and Chandler Parsons answered that call rather quickly. On top of that, Marcus Morris is trying to show he can play and while Terrence Williams is no longer around, I think Morris could keep Budinger on the pine. It all depends, though, on how each of the bench players is playing. McHale does have a set rotation, but some nights he just sticks with the hottest hand.
SP: Bacterial infection? Really? Should I stay away from STAPLES Center on Saturday? Seriously though, I hope Kyle Lowry is going to be alright. He's been absolutely brilliant this season. Do you remember anyone being out for three weeks with a bacterial infection before? More importantly, how has Goran Dragic been in Lowry's absence?
TM: Goran has been fantastic as a starter this year. In the six games he's started, he is averaging 16 points and nine assists on 54% shooting from the field. The only trouble is: who backs him up? It sounds like it won't be Derek Fisher if the Rockets negotiate a buyout, so apparently they're going to go after Anthony Carter (ew). Either way, as good as Goran has been, we need Lowry back so we can trot both out on the floor.
SP:Two days off? In March? The Clippers are in the midst of a stretch of 9 games in 12 days, and you guys come in with two days rest -- thank you, NBA schedulers. Do you miss basketball? The timing was good though -- you got to focus on the Trade Deadline
TM: I think this team needed two days off to regain mental stability. You know, since all of them are always on the trade block. Publicly, might I add.
SP:What is the status of Kevin Martin for this game? He's been banged up quite a bit, the latest being a strained shoulder that kept him out of the last two. Will he play against the Clippers?
TM: As of now, Martin is 50/50 to play, according to the Chronicle beat writer. At the rate he has played lately, however, I'm fine with either scenario. It hasn't been pretty to watch, and it's likely why Houston couldn't move him at the deadline.
Don't forget it's a 12:30pm start at Staples today. Should be an interesting and revealing game. I'm taking on the recap duties, so... stay tuned for some awesomely extraordinary post-game analysis.