Quantcast
Connect with us
James Harden, Russell Westbrook

Houston Rockets, do we have a problem?

The Houston Rockets endured their latest defeat on Sunday, as they were hammered by the Miami Heat by a score of 129-100.

The Rockets are now 3-3 on the season, which isn’t terrible, but their problems run much deeper than their record.

Houston is allowing a ridiculous 127 points per game, which ranks last in the NBA. It is also surrendering 113 points per 100 possessions, which ranks 29th (only the Golden State Warriors have been worse).

Even in a modern NBA era where offense runs rampant, that is horrible, and no; the numbers are not skewed from the Rockets’ 159-158 win over the Washington Wizards last week.

Houston has given up 117, 123, 112, 158, 123, and 129 points, respectively, over its first six contests. Even if it is also scoring a heck of a lot of points, that type of defense is not going to result in a whole lot of wins.

The Rockets have never been known for their defense, but things have never been this bad, and it’s hard to pinpoint a specific problem.

We can point to Chris Paul no longer being a member of the team, but honestly, Paul was sidelined for a huge portion of his two-year tenure in Houston, and even when he was out, the Rockets’ defense wasn’t nearly this bad.

Russell Westbrook has never been an elite defender, but he is not the sole reason for Houston’s struggles.

It could very well be a culture issue more than anything else, as Mike D’Antoni has always been an offense-first head coach, one who has never been to an NBA Finals as a result.

Not to mention the fact that this Rockets team may have run its course, even with a new addition in Westbrook.

As many points as Houston has been scoring, James Harden has not been making shots, as he is shooting 37.1 percent from the floor and 21.5 percent from downtown. He has been living at the free-throw line, attempting 15.8 foul shots per game, but that is not sustainable, not even for Harden.

Of course, a legitimate argument can also be made that Harden’s poor shooting won’t hold up, which is true, but still, that won’t solve the Rockets’ defensive woes, nor will it plug the clear hole Houston has in terms of a No. 3 scorer.

Eric Gordon was supposed to be that guy, but he has been horrendous thus far, and I’m not sure Gordon is a legitimate third option even on a good year.

The Harden-Westbrook pairing always looked like an awkward one, and while that hasn’t been the main issue thus far, it still has not been great, as Westbrook’s horrific shooting struggles have persisted from last year.

So couple what is clearly a flawed offensive system with a horrendous defense, and you get exactly what you are seeing now: a mediocre ballclub that seems to lack an identity and does not even resemble a contender in the rugged Western Conference.

Is it too early to break the emergency glass? Probably, but it’s not too early to call attention to the obvious concern that is surrounding Houston through the first couple of weeks of the season.