Moving along to part two, focusing on a couple of point guards with a Houston Rockets flavor...
As a Chicago native, and just 26, Beverley fits the age profile of the team for both the now and then. A sensational defender, his ability on defense will complement the second unit (and Rose) perfectly. Unlike Aaron Brooks, who is as hot and cold as they come, if things are not working out offensively for Beverley, he is still a playable option for Coach Hoiberg within a rotation on a consistent basis. The tenacity and effort he brings to his on-ball defense is something only few guards in the league can rival, and with less required from him offensively, he can focus his energy on defense, which is the end of the court where he can truly be a game changer.
Though a point guard - and weirdly enough – the 2015 Taco Bell Skills Challenge winner, we shouldn’t be expecting much playmaking or dribble penetration that forces defences to collapse, leading to passing lanes for his teammates. Averaging only 3.4 assists per game in 2014-15, he will not floor anyone with his vision. To be fair, playing next to James Harden, who acted as a pseudo point guard within the Houston offense, the volume was not there for him to showcase this side of his game. Nevertheless, he is not someone who should be expected to come in and run set pieces or create good offense off pick and rolls.
What we can expect offensively is an above average three-point shooter. In his three seasons in the league, he has made 243 total buckets from deep, and in the process, sporting a very respectable 36.1% on the long ball. This makes Beverley a legitimate ‘3 & D’ option at point guard, something which is rare in this league giving the amount of guards that are more than comfortable giving minimal or inconsistent play on that end of the floor.
Outside of the three point shot, his offensive game is quite limited. To date, he has attempted 1,202 field goals in his short career. Over half of that number (56.1%) has come from behind the arc. Now, the Houston Rockets are known for their willingness to chuck away from deep, so perhaps this number is slightly inflated and doesn’t truly highlight what other skills he may have, though his field goal percentage from 3-16 feet (38.1%) suggests he is not comfortable working closer to the basket outside of clear line drives.
Another random and underrated skill Beverley possesses is his ability to rebound as a guard. Often the smallest man on the floor, height did not offer any constraints. With 4.2 rebounds per night, Beverley would rank twelfth amongst all point guards. This is certainly a notable achievement, and further proof that he can offer a team an unorthodox option that will bother opposing squads.
Currently a starter with the Rockets, one would have to imagine he would like to remain as one. It will be interesting to see what contract the Rockets are prepared to offer Beverley. Daryl Morey is prone to chasing the big names, so cap space will be imperative for the Rockets if they want to land a big name, therefore trading pieces and letting guys walk may happen. It already has begun with rumors doing the rounds on draft night about Terrence Jones being made available. Another thing that could hurt the Rockets is timing. In pursuit of the bigger names, will other teams swoop in and prioritize Beverley before Morey does?
One would have to imagine he remains a Rocket given the aging back-ups on the roster in Jason Terry and Pablo Prigioni. I also have reservations about the Rockets landing a name like Love or Aldridge, so they may bring the band back. Should the unlikely occur, and the Rockets do get a big name, another potential suitor would likely be a Texas rival. The Dallas Mavericks will have cap space, and with the Rajon Rondo experiment failing miserably, they’re in the market for a point guard. There clearly is an obvious connection between Beverley and Parsons, with the free agent already on record stating his former Rocket teammate had been in contact with him about a potential reunion.
Of course, there is also our friends in New York. The groupies of the NBA, they will take anything with a name. Good luck to them.
Is Beverley a realistic option for the Bulls? Probably not. We would need to find a way to convince him to accept a lesser role, and likely far less in both annual and total contract value.
The fit would be great, though I wouldn’t bank on it. That said, we're interested...
Dallas, New York, Chicago, Cleveland and, of course, Houston are among the teams interested in Patrick Beverley (@patbev21), per sources.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 30, 2015
The name Jeremy Lin carries a lot of stigma with NBA fans.
People are not over Linsanity. It reached annoyingly epic levels, none of which Lin himself could control, which unfortunately, he bears the brunt of.
The Houston experiment didn’t work. He couldn’t co-exist with James Harden. As someone who likes to dominate and own the ball at point guard, he was never going to win that battle internally and often found himself spotting up at the three point line, which clearly wasn’t his game.
On an inflated deal given to him by Daryl Morey, Lin would find himself traded to the Lakers in order for the Rockets to create cap space. He would go on to team up with a former Bull who shall not be named, play in a system where defense was optional, and where gaining a relationship with Byron Scott would be difficult.
Now a free agent, it is clear that Lin’s role in this league is as a reserve guard, meaning he is going to need to accept a pay cut. That’s the type of statement that makes Bulls management very happy.
Despite public perception, Lin is actually a good NBA player. In a crappy situation in L.A, he put up some very solid numbers. 11.2 points per game, 4.6 assists per game, and he made 36.9% of his threes.
As mentioned, Lin likes the ball in his hands. Linsanity became an actual thing because of that very fact. Anthony missed games. Stoudemire missed games. Once they returned, opportunity was diminished, so was the hype.
With this very basic thought in mind, if Lin is going to be your key ball handler, you’re not going to be a good team. He isn’t good enough to be that guy. As your back-up point guard, a role he needs to accept, he is more than suitable to run a second unit.
Though turnover prone, they come from his willingness to get into the paint and create passing lanes. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but something that needs improvement. Perhaps at times he forces the issue and bites off a little too much, so that part of his game needs to be managed closely. All you have to do is stop him from watching Steve Nash YouTube highlights pregame and it should be all right.
As a willing passer and someone who likes challenging the big men of the game at the rim, Lin can run an offense within a pick and roll, a skill that shouldn’t be undervalued. With more of this basketball expected in Chicago under Hoiberg, that could certainly be a weapon if harnessed correctly.
Lin has a very basic offensive game. That is meant as a compliment. He is either going to try and get to the hoop, or he is taking a jump shot from 20 feet or further out. That’s his game. Perhaps he takes too many mid-range shots at the rate he hits them at (31.9%), but at the age of 26, with an improving three-point shot, you would hope that would be something he could be influenced to improve under Hoiberg and his system requirements.
The pitfalls with Lin will be two things; his willingness, or more accurately, his ability to play defense, as well as his ability to keep improving off ball and to be an option to put next to Derrick Rose.
Do not expect good defense. Based on his physical characteristics, he likely will never be good on this end. His new team needs to accept that, and with the Bulls going backwards on defense last season, fit will be a point of consideration. The positive? Surely he couldn't be any worse than Aaron Brooks?
Working and playing off the ball will also be a hurdle. The best we’ve seen from Jeremy Lin has always been when he owns the ball. It’s often been on bad teams when this has occurred. That is not overly encouraging. It didn’t go well with Harden, so will it work with Rose & Butler?
Lin will come cheap, or at least cheaper than his previous $8.4 million price tag. Does that mean he will be in our price range?
I would expect the point guard to find a new home well after the main moves have been signed, sealed and delivered. The mini mid-level still may be too low, but with the Knicks and Kings being the main suitors for his services to date, perhaps he would take a flyer on a team that isn't completely clueless?
He may be an option for the Bulls. Time will tell. From a pure contract perspective, $3.4 million is a reasonable deal. This may be the case, but why do I still sit here, with several questions around fit and role, and worry that it may become a problem?
Stay tuned for part three, where I look at the remaining point guard options for the Bulls. Spoiler alert - it's not pretty.