Who will star for Houston without Yao, Artest?

Without Yao Ming and Ron Artest, the Rockets lineup is
missing 36.8 ppg, 15.1 rpg, 5.1 apg, 1.9 spg and 2.2 bpg.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - On Friday, the Houston Rockets announced that star center Yao Ming will have surgery on his broken left foot and might not be available until the training camp before the 2010-11 season.

While this is really bad news for the Rockets, someone will have to pick up the slack for the absence of both Ming and Ron Artest on the scoring and rebounding front which will make a couple of different names "fantasy-worthy."

Without Yao and Artest, the Rockets lineup is missing 36.8 ppg, 15.1 rpg, 5.1 apg, 1.9 spg and 2.2 bpg.

Who will get the time on the court, almost 70 minutes, and the opportunity to play with 40% of last year's starters gone?

Most of the increase in points production would probably go the Tracy McGrady. That is, of course, if McGrady could stay healthy. That hasn't been the case in three of the past five years. T-Mac has missed 109 games over the past four years, including 47 last season. He's already expected to miss the first 15-25 games next season after two off-season surgeries (left shoulder, microfracture left knee).

McGrady has averaged as many as 25.7 points-per-game in a Rockets uniform, so we know he can produce given the opportunity and good health, but in the meantime, someone else will need to score.

Up front, the two players who will benefit from Ming absence are Carl Landry and Luis Scola.

Scola was already a borderline fantasy player with averages of 12.7 ppg and 8.8 rpg. Now with Yao on the sidelines, he could easily become a 15-point, 10- rebound per night player.

If Scola were to slide over to the center position, Landry could take the power forward role and improve on his 9.2 points and 5.0 rebounds in 21.3 minutes of action. Still, he might not get enough of a boost to be a full-time fantasy forward.

Other options could include recently acquired Trevor Ariza (8.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.8 apg with Los Angeles Lakers) or first-round draft pick Chase Budinger (18.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.4 apg with the Arizona Wildcats).

All these unknowns will make watching Houston Rockets preseason games much more important than usual.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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