|It has been reported that the Rockets have acquired Ron Artest from the Kings in exchange for Bobby Jackson, a #1 pick, and a player-to-be-named-later (speculation is rookie Donte Greene). This would send the True Warrior to Houston to play next to Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady, and Shane Battier. Wow. So let's break this down.
This is clearly a signal that the Rockets are going all-in for a chance at a title, while the Kings have formally sent in their "rebuilding" paperwork. In Houston, Artest could give the Rockets a much needed edge and toughness that was lacking from nice-guys Yao, McGrady and Battier. Artest and Battier are both combo forwards, which means that they could see a lot of court action together next to Yao Ming. This could be a defensive nightmare for opposing frontcourts, and since Artest can also generate points he could make life a lot easier for McGrady and Yao on the offensive end if everything goes right.
That last line is the key, though, as with Artest it is always a question of "will everything go right"? I'm going to go ahead and say that it is worth the risk for the Rockets, though, as they weren't going to contend with the roster that they had and by adding Artest, they now have championship upside. Another 1st round playoff exit wouldn't have helped them anyway, so they may as well swing for the fences.
The Kings will start one of the youngest line-ups in the league, with Kevin Martin as the clear focal point at the ripe old age of 25 surrounded by other 20-somethings like Beno Udrih, Francisco Garcia and John Salmons. I have to believe that youngsters like Greene, Spencer Hawes and Shelden Williams are going to get more run this year at the expense of 30-somethings like Brad Miller, Mikki Moore, or Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
Overall, an interesting move. I'd give a fantasy boost to Martin and anyone on Sacramento under the age of 27, and a fantasy decrement to anyone on that team over 30. For the Rockets, Yao, Artest and McGrady could all see slightly fewer shots, but on the other hand Artest's presence may take enough pressure off of Yao and T-Mac to help them stay healthy through the year. For now, call the Rockets' fantasy status stable but their chances for postseason success volatile yet upgraded.
Posted by Professor at 7/29/2008 7:24:00 PM