Drama hasn’t left the Houston city this season. Be it the downward spiral that followed their historic season or the drama-laden extra-time win against the Warriors — it’s been a strange but nonetheless intriguing season for Rockets. If we speak of about the current situation, Rockets have won 12 out of their last 14 games and it appears like they finally have some sunlight coming into their gloomy season — perhaps, they’ve finally entered the books of punters in the sports betting domain.
However, their recent form might have segued their woes that have straggled behind them despite the results. Their dismal start of the campaign had many factors contributing to it and some of them are yet to be resolved.
Imagine a team getting the number one seed in a season with mere 15 losses in the whole campaign. And then a few changes in the roster and management and bam! They lose 14 out of their 29 games. Obviously, we’re talking about Rockets and all of this drama has got us wondering, what could possibly go wrong for Houston in one summer?
Let’s find out!
Poor transfer business:
Generally, good teams find ways of bolstering their squads in the summer period. But there are exceptions and some situations could be inevitable and force your hand into doing something you don’t want to — Understandable. For example, the departure of departure of Ariza to Phoenix Suns and Mbah a Moute LA Clippers was unfortunate. They left for a better contract. These two players were a vital part of Rockets’ defence — which has been shambles this season. Their game against Utah Jazz is a good reminder of how awful their defence has been as they conceded 70 points in the paint in that game — shows how opponents penetrate their defence for fun.
So, what did Rockets do to make up for it? They re-signed the ageing Chris Paul, and added Carmelo Anthony to their roster. Paul’s signing could still be justified in the relative sense — we’re not talking the huge wage bill in this point — but Carmelo’s signing has worked poorly for them. After a dreadful campaign of mere 10 games, Rockets made a decision to part ways with the veteran.
One of the biggest concerns for the rockets and Chris Paul is injuries. Age spares none and sadly, none of us are ageless — including CP3. There’s no denying that he has a history of sublime ball handling but now he’s 33 and as it appears, age has started to take a toll on him. He has struggled a lot with his hamstring throughout his career and nobody thinks things are going to get any better in terms of fitness for Chris. Now if you’re thinking about offloading him, there’s are problems with that too. He’s old now and has probably left his best years behind. We’re not denying that he could restore his greatness — but sadly the chances of that are very thin. Coming back to the point, there are two major problems with the idea of selling – a huge wage will and demand of a player like him in the league. Former is a bigger problem here. Houston have offered him a huge deal this year and finding a suitor to match that price is going to be elusive. On top of that, if we see all the teams, he doesn’t fit in any of them — as per his abilities and their requirements. Then another problem is finding a player to replace him. And out of the pool of available players, there are no players who could do justice to his role.
James Harden is running a riot at this moment. He’s in red-hot form right now and could mess with any coach’s sleep at this moment. Points win you games and yes, offense is a great form of defence — but Rockets case this season has been anywhere along those lines. If though they have done impressively well in their recent games, their defensive stats are still questionable. Let’s take a look at their defensive stats.
These stats speak a lot. No matter how well they do in the offence, if they want to do well in the long run, they would need to pick up the pieces in their defensive arrangement.
An overlooked factor has been the departure of their assistant coach, Jeff Bzdelik. His partnership with Mike D’Antoni was like two kids on the seesaw — making both ends of the game fun. Their management portrayed the balance that that’s essential for a top team. Mike D’Antoni did justice to his reputation of offensive basketball, Jess got the best out of their defence.
Is there hope?
Their recent form speaks for themselves. Regardless of how poorly they started their campaign, it appears like things have finally started to come their way. We’re in January now, and it wouldn’t be fair to write them off. But there are still some voids that need to be filled and some of the players need to step their game up. Considering the form, the bearded genius is in right now, if he gets the right support from his teammates, Houston would surely be a force again. Capela has been impressive. He’s averaging 12.8 rebounds per game while Harden and CP3 have been the usual suspects in steals. If they keep their foot on the throttle like this and progress like they have been lately, they could give a fair fight to their rivals and end their season in a better position on the conference table. Although it’s not going to be a walk in the park for Harden and co. As the old saying goes, consistency is going to be the key. They still have a lot of time to mend things.
Can Rockets keep themselves from injuries and Harden in the form he’s in? Only time will tell.