Four days off and the addition of a player that another team put in a trade with Daniel Theis and his contract didn’t make the Rockets one of the top four teams in the Western Conference. Surprise!

The team is no better. Especially when the main player added to the trade deadline creates more minute problems than it solves. The Rockets already don’t play, don’t dress, a max contract point guard to continue player development. So, one has to ask, in light of the fact that John Wall does what he does and is paid handsomely for it, why play Dennis Schroder?

Is there a real feeling that he’s part of the next good Rockets team? He is 28 years old.

From what I can see, he’s basically the same player he was when he entered the NBA. A very quick and often effective drive to his right hand, streaky but mostly league average 3-point shooting, mediocre assist play at best, and usually, but not always, poor defense.

What exactly are the young Rockets expected to learn from him? More than they would learn from DJ Augustin, whose place he takes, I suppose? But what is it exactly?

It’s good that the Celtics didn’t like having Schroder on their team so much that they were willing to accept Daniel Theis’ contract, but other than giving up on that deal, what’s the benefit to the Rockets of playing him? That the Rockets could somehow value some kind of sign and trade on his expiring contract? What kind of marginal benefit is that, exactly?

I don’t think player development will be poisoned long term by 27 games of The Schrodent, but it can’t be improved by it either. It’s not Chris Paul, full of wisdom, technique and deep knowledge of the dark arts of the NBA. He is a good offensive bench scorer, with a historically bad temper and poor impulse control. A less interesting version of Lou Williams. It shouldn’t take Christopher minutes.

So now I’ve made a playing time argument, because I just don’t see the point of Schroder getting more than Augustin’s minutes, maybe less, because he’s not known as a sort of organizer of an offence.

That said, this game wasn’t his fault. The Rockets came out like wet, crumbling drywall, and the Jazz came out like a set of angry power saws. There have been times when the Rockets have chained good minutes. They actually won the third quarter.

Jalen Green’s defensive awareness and positioning have improved a lot, as has his overall approach. However, there was never any sense the Rockets could do more than make it a less than ten-point loss.

That doesn’t make this performance any less irritating. In Eric Gordon’s words after the game “We didn’t play a good game. We were right there. Truth.

The Rockets have taken a break and seemingly decided to stay on it, with All Star weekend coming up. The result against a very good, suddenly healthy jazz team was predictable.

The week is not going to get better, as the next two stops are the Phoenix Suns, then the LA Clippers, before the All Star game, and its interesting new format Rising Stars (with a few Rockets), and of course, the dunk contest .


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