Rockets Lead

Green’s Extended Absence a Problem for Rockets’ Depth?

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During a preseason game in Japan last week, Houston Rockets’ guard Gerald Green suffered a severe foot injury. It was first reported that the high-flying swingman would only be sidelined two months, but now the injury appears to be more serious than originally predicted.

Coming into this year, Green was expected to emerge as a leader for the Rockets’ bench unit. Where does the team go from here in his absence?

Rotation Moving Forward

Last season, Green was a valuable player for the Rockets. He attempted six threes per game at a 35.4% clip, aiding Houston in its effort to make as many threes as possible. This year, Green likely would have hovered around 20 minutes per game, playing alongside James Harden or Russell Westbrook when the other went to the bench. Now, Coach D’Antoni will have to find other players to step up.

The most-likely candidate for increased minutes is Austin Rivers. Rivers is smaller than Green, but a more pesky and willing defender. He’s improving on offense and a capable ball handler who played crucial minutes in the playoffs last year. His biggest issue, like Green, is a tendency to get a bit out of control on offense. If he can sharpen his shot selection a bit, he could be a major contributor off the bench.

The Rockets also acquired veterans Thabo Sefolosha and Ben McLemore in the offseason. McLemore is a marksmen from deep but a poor defender. Sefolosha, conversely, is a less-willing shooter from the perimeter, but a highly-talented defender. Depending on game flow, these two could see their minutes fluctuate quite a bit throughout the season. While neither one necessarily has the same offensive energy as Green, both can prove to be valuable in other ways.

The Rockets, with the addition of Westbrook, have high hopes for the season ahead. While Gerald Green’s injury certainly dampens things a bit, it is by no means cause for panic. The Rockets have plenty of other options ready to step up, and can compete for a championship regardless.

Above all else, though, here’s hoping for a speedy recovery for Green. Currently on a one-year deal, there is no telling how his career might shake out in the wake of this injury. He’s been a valuable member of the Rockets in back-to-back years now, and it would be a shame to see him go out like this. We wish you all the best moving forward, and hope to see you back playing basketball as soon as possible!

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About Zach Zola

Zach Zola is a student at Brown University studying English. He grew up in New York, but has been a die-hard Rockets fan since the days of Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady. He believes that James Harden is the only King James in the NBA.

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