FanPost

The Rockets' struggles remind you why you should appreciate Bradley Beal

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The early season struggles of the Houston Rockets have reminded me why we are fortunate that the rumored Beal for Harden trade never happened. Of course, if you haven't heard already, last week the Houston Rockets fired their head coach, Kevin McHale and there has been such a large debate if he truly deserved to lose his job.

Interestingly enough, some pundits like Charles Barkley have pointed the blame squarely on their GM Daryl Morey and his inability to evaluate his team because of his love for analytics. Perhaps there is a bit of truth to what Charles Barkley is saying and perhaps the criticism of Morey is fair that he relies too heavily on analytics, but when I think about this situation, I go back to thinking about the trade that could have happened with Bradley Beal (and Chris Singleton) going to Oklahoma City for James Harden and I realize that the Wizards are more lucky than smart.

As the aformentioned Washington Post article suggests, the decision to not make the trade was probably right but for the wrong reasons. Maybe there were some deeper reasons for why Ted Leonsis was reportedly unwilling to pay James Harden $80 million deal to play basketball here, we may never know, but what I do know is there are some purely basketball reasons for why the trade should have been null and void and we are seeing evidence of it now.

How? Let's consider the Rockets biggest off-season acquisition of Ty Lawson from the Denver Nuggets. Ty Lawson is a speedy PG, who is known as a good facilitator, but not necessarily a great shooter, who can create offense for himself and others. Ty Lawson's two seasons ago shot 43% while averaging a career high of 17.6 points per game. His statistics, including his outside shooting were eerily similar to our PG John Wall. The two certainly have some similarities in their game. Consider the following from the past two seasons:

John Wall

Year Assists Per Game Shooting % 15ft-19ft Away Shooting % 20ft-24ft Away Unassisted FGM % of FGM Unassisted
2013-14 8.8 36.8 34.1 425 73
2014-15 10.0 41.2 36.3 386 74

Ty Lawson

Year Assists Per Game Shooting % 15ft-19ft Away Shooting % 20ft-24ft Away Unassisted FGM % of FGM Unassisted
2013-14 8.8 37.8 32.1 270 78
2014-15 9.6 37.1 39.9 312 77

Neither one of them seem to be markedly better than the other beyond mid-range. Based on stats alone, both of these players generate quite a bit of their own offense which is clear by watching them. They handle the ball a lot and the statistics support the notion that they have been most effective as scorers and facilitators when the ball is in their hand, which is difficult when you are playing with such a ball dominant player as James Harden.

So, you maybe asking, why am I making this comparison of Lawson to Wall? Because this is who James Harden would be playing with if he was traded here. Right now, Ty Lawson is shooting 31.6% from the field, he is averaging a career-low 7.7 ppg this season which is lower than his scoring average as a rookie backing up Chauncey Billups when he averaged 8.3 ppg while playing about 10 fewer minutes per game. Because of how poorly he has started the season he actually lost his starting PG position, which is being occupied currently by long time veteran, 38 year-old Jason Terry.

You certainly can point to a lot of factors as to why Ty Lawson is not playing well but for every factor I can run off names such as Jeremy Lin and Patrick Beverly as an example of players who did not fit with Harden too. Why is that the case?

Just from a pure basketball observation, Harden's game is very difficult to mesh with the right guard. He has the same issue as Gilbert Arenas had with his time here, where he needed a player that was good enough defensively to take on the more difficult guard assignments due to his defensive deficiencies, but he also needs an offensively efficient guard who can be effective off the ball and not be a liability on offense.

Those type of players are hard to find especially having one who is willing to stand and watch Harden create the offense with no guarantees of being featured offensively. Ty Lawson is not that type of player and neither is John Wall.

We are so easily caught up in the idea of getting big name players that we do not consider that most of the elite teams do not build their franchises in that manner. The reason why Ty Lawson and James Harden have not, and likely will not gel has nothing to do with talent.

They both are very talented and good at what they do, but it's more about building your team around players who skill set gel together and who game works with the philosophy of the team. That is why despite the flaws in his game, Bradley Beal was and will be the better player to be next to John Wall going forward.

That isn't to say that Bradley Beal is a better player than James Harden, but it simply comes down to fit. Maybe over time, they will figure this out and Lawson and Harden will make this experiment work, but there is nothing out there that suggest that Harden is going to handle the ball less or that Ty Lawson is going to become a more effective player off the ball.

Consider Golden State for a moment. They won a championship with only one player that would probably be consider the best at his position. The rest of their players are good or even great, but they still won because they fit the system they run and how they want to play.

If the Wizards want to also go the route of building a championship contenders with John Wall being the key piece in what they are building around, it simply never made sense to get a shooting guard who demands the ball so much. Sometimes these decisions that come down to stats, sometimes it's just basic basketball. Does James Harden really fit John Wall's style of play? I think it's time for us to breathe a sigh of relief and realize we dodged a bullet even if it may have been unintentional.

This represents the view of the user who wrote the FanPost, and not the entire Bullets Forever community. We're a place of many opinions, not just one.