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Friday March 16, 2012 12:22 PM

Rockets Add Camby, Pick To The Mix

Breaking down Houston's deadline day moves, along with insight from GM Daryl Morey

Jason Friedman
Rockets.com




HOUSTON - Two of the Rockets’ biggest needs heading into this year’s trade deadline: interior defense and rebounding.

In one fell deadline day swoop, they managed to address both issues while barely touching their current rotation, maintaining most, if not all, of their future flexibility and adding a first round pick for good measure.

Thursday afternoon, Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey produced a pair of deals, acquiring center Marcus Camby from Portland for Jonny Flynn, Hasheem Thabeet and a future second-round pick, while also netting point guard Derek Fisher and a first-round selection from the Los Angeles Lakers for Jordan Hill (that pick by the way is top-20 protected through 2017 and is unprotected after that – it comes via Dallas; the Lakers acquired it as part of their December deal involving Lamar Odom).

In Camby, the Rockets add a long, smart and experienced player who still ranks among the best low-post defenders in the league. His Synergy Sports numbers in that area are off the charts, as he’s conceded a paltry .574 points per post-up possession this season, while limiting opponents to 37.2% shooting in such situations. Meanwhile, the soon-to-be 38-year-old also ranks No. 1 among all centers in rebound rate; an important consideration given this note in SI.com’s Zach Lowe’s breakdown of the deal:

“(Samuel) Dalembert averages just short of 25 minutes per game, and during those 25 minutes, the Rockets grab about 52 percent of available rebounds and defend at the level of about the ninth- or 10th-best defense in the league. For the other 23 minutes, Houston grabs only 48 percent of available rebounds, defends at a bottom-10 level and actually scores less efficiently on offense, per NBA.com’s stats database.”

Camby, in other words, should be an excellent option to fill the void when Dalembert sits, ensuring the Rockets see little to no drop-off when their starting center takes a breather. Houston already boasts a top-10 offense; pair that with a defense that can consistently stop teams at a similar level and now you’re talking about a team that should not just be able to make the playoffs, but one that now possesses the potential to do some damage once it gets there (to that point, check out NBA.com’s Fran Blinebury’s tweet after the deal went down: “Who likes Camby to Houston least? Probably OKC Thunder who could be looking at a tough 1st round opponent that has already beat them twice.”).

Again, that the Rockets were able to make this move and add another first-round pick to their arsenal (even though it’s a late first-rounder, bear in mind what Morey has been able to do with such selections in the past – Parsons, Budinger, Brooks, Landry, etc.) while leaving their core rotation and significant future flexibility virtually intact is what makes this savvy bit of maneuvering such a no-brainer from the Houston standpoint.

The Rockets strengthened their bid to make a playoff push while maintaining the ability to produce even brighter days to come. Balancing the big picture and present day is always a delicate dance for every team; that Houston was able to do so helps explain why the Rockets feel as if this year’s deadline day was a win-win situation for both the franchise and its fans.

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Friday morning, Daryl Morey met with the media to address the Rockets' deadline day moves. What follows is a transcipt of his media availability session:

DM: We’re excited to do the trades we did yesterday. I think Marcus Camby is somebody we’re really excited about what he can bring to our bigs rotation. He’s a really effective defensive player. People are obviously very familiar with his game having been in the league for quite awhile. I think people aren’t familiar with how effective he still is. He’s the No. 1 defensive rebounder this year, the year before, the year before that. He was recently Defensive Player of the Year, recently top defensive teams and still was giving Portland quality minutes; their defense was very good when he was in there.

So I’m excited to add Marcus to the team for our playoff push and we also were able to pick up a first-round pick that we think will help us upgrade in the future so we were able to upgrade the team now and going forward which we’re excited about.

Are you able to update us on Derek Fisher?

DM: Right now I can just say that the trade obviously happened and beyond that I can’t comment.

What about your reported interest in Anthony Carter?

DM: I would say I can’t comment on that right now, either. I wouldn’t be able to address that. We did also waive Terrence Williams today – that was another transaction we did today. We’ve got a very strong wing rotation right now and we wanted to give Terrence an opportunity to play somewhere in a contract year.

More player movement in the NBA now than in the past?

DM: I think player movement is actually pretty similar now as the past – there’s just more attention, more media. I think we’re a team that’s never happy with where we’re at until we’re up there with the top championship contenders so that requires that we continue to not be happy with where we’re at and continue to make moves. Mr. Alexander sets a great approach and gives us the resources to do that.

You have two open roster spots right now. Do you have a plan or hope on how to use them?

DM: We’re constantly evaluating as folks here know. We’re almost always at 15 (players on the roster) and that’s because we’re always trying to maximize whether it’s looking at a young player or shoring up depth or things like that, so I would be surprised if we didn’t bring in some folks but I don’t have any names right now to talk about.

Are their goals or positions or traits you might be looking for?

DM: No, I think we’re always looking for upside with our roster spots – that’s one thing, and also depth.

How much did Kyle’s illness affect how you approached the trade deadline?

DM: We expect Kyle to be back. Obviously it’s a blow to our playoff run to not have him. I think he’s our top win-impact player frankly. Goran has been unbelievable though so that’s (helped). I think the way everyone’s really stepped up with him out has been great and then we’ve had Kevin Martin out, too, so our guys have really stepped up and we’re excited about that but we’ll also be happy to get Kyle and Kevin back and available. I think we don’t really have the exact timing for Kyle; he’s got to finish these antibiotics and then we’ll see what the doctor’s advice is from there.

What is Kevin Martin’s status?

DM: He’s got a hurt shoulder. He didn’t practice today and we’re hopeful to get him back soon.

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