After months of nail biting suspense that was almost too hard to endure, Erick Dampier has finally agreed to sign a deal with the Houston Rockets. Praise the lord, let the people rejoice.
I guess this kind of makes sense for Damp – the Rockets could offer him the most money (approximately 2 million, if reports are true), and he gets to play for a squad that could contend given a best case scenario turnout from it’s roster.
But what to make of Houston’s involvement in this deal?
The immediate response is “well, they need depth behind Yao”. With the gargantuan Chinaman working under a minutes limit that tops out at no second ends of back-to-backs and no more than half of the games he participates in, logic dictates that other bodies fill in the frontcourt void. However, a swift look at Houston’s roster finds a plethora of other bodies who are just as capable of that as Dampier.
Brad Miller was signed this offseason, and while you don’t want him to be your primary center, he’s capable of playing half a game. Chuck Hayes is only 6’6”, but he’s the largest 6’6” guy you’ll find, and he started at center all of last season. He can definitely give you spot duty. Luis Scola was signed to a massive, 47 million dollar extension this summer, and should never ever play less than 30 minutes a game. You have two promising youngsters in rookie Patrick Patterson and second year man Jordan Hill, who may not be ready to help a contender yet, but who are big and have potential. And Jared Jefferies is, I guess, alive.
All in all, you have 8 guys competing for 96 frontcourt minutes. EIGHT! There are teams that don’t have 8 legitamite rotation guys on their entire roster, let alone at two positions.
Now, I’m not knocking the Damp signing. He will immediately become the team’s best defensive big man (Synergy had him ranked 97th in the league at defending post up plays, and 53rdat defending the roll man in the pick and roll), and best non-Yao shotblocker. After watching the Rockets get killed inside in their first two games of the season, and in the perennially size-driven Western conference, a team who has only two “true” centers (if such a thing exists anymore) could certainly use Damp.
However, this move has me feeling that something is up. I may be rating Daryl Morey too highly here, but the man has shown that he knows what he’s doing, and between the frontcourt logjam, the Knicks’ picks he got for Tracy McGrady (you may laugh), and the depth he has throughout the rest of the roster, this looks like a set up for something big. The big Rocket trade everyone has been waiting for may have gotten closer.