Well, Ron Artest is a Rocket. Or at least he will be once the trade is finalized. I should be excited that my team is getting one of the league’s top defensive talents.
The good news about all of this is that Artest is in a contract year and will hopefully will be on his best behavior while trying to earn some financial security. When he’s on his game, there aren’t many players who can match his talent and intensity. Artest’s size and strength will allow him to spend some time playing power forward, which has been a soft spot on the team for years.
The bad news is that there isn’t anywhere on the floor for Artest. If he does indeed spend some time at power forward, he’ll take time away from Luis Scola, who played well in the absence of Yao Ming. If he stays at his natural small forward spot, Shane Battier has to come off the floor. Battier is definitely the smarter and more reliable player and has the better outside shot to complement what the Rockets already do. Artest has a reputation as a ball-stopper, which will have to change if he is to fit into the team’s motion offense.
Oh yeah, and he’s a bit on the mentally unstable side.
There’s more negative than positive right now. Perhaps there are other moves to come that will make this one clearer. In the mean time, it’s hard to see the purpose. It’s almost as if Houston has realized that the team’s window could be closing and they’re making moves to try to win now.
It could work. And maybe I should be excited that the team thinks it’s ready to take the next step and contend with the big boys.