In a word: perhaps. But I’m not totally convinced Ron Artest won’t do more harm than good to any team he lands with. There are, however, a few reasons for Rockets fans to feel OK about this trade.
1.) Artest is unquestionably talented, especially on the defensive side of the ball. With him and Tracy McGrady on the wings and Yao Ming’s presence around the rim we should be looking at one of the stingiest defensive teams in the Western Conference.
2.) He actually won’t try to kick Rick Adelman’s ass. By all accounts, Adelman and Artest got along well in Sacramento and Artest considers him one of his favorite coaches. One of the keys to reigning in Artest’s crazy is pairing him with a coach who (sort of) understands what he’s dealing with. As if anyone could ever understand what’s actually going on in that head.
3.) Let’s be honest, the Rockets are pretty good already. The problem has been keeping both of their stars healthy. No trade can help that.
Now, I also think there are few cons. Most notably that Ron Artest is certifiably crazy. I don’t care where he is, who his teammates are or who the coach is. It’s probably just a matter of time before the ticking time bomb goes off again. The man is unstable.
Another thing, where are the points coming from? T-Mac is an elite scorer and Yao is one of the best centers in the league, but the rest of the roster is a humdrum of offensive talent. Artest can score but his true value is on defense. Can they win the West with two real scoring options? I don’t know.
I suppose time will tell, but my knee jerk reaction is this trade is a wash. I don’t think Ron Artest is worth a first round pick.