4 Reasons The Rockets Will Be A Better Offensive Team Next Season
The 2020-21 Houston Rockets were a mess on multiple fronts. The James Harden fiasco torpedoed whatever work Houston did to prepare for the season in training camp and they were never able to recover. Even after Harden’s exit, the Rockets couldn’t stay healthy enough to build any sort of chemistry. There was just no method to their madness.
This is why Rockets fans are so excited for the 2021-22 season. In addition to being able to watch a young nucleus for the first time in over a decade, the team goes into training camp with a lot more stability and no expectations to meet. There’s a freedom to knowing that everyone expects you to be one of the worst teams in basketball next season and I’m sure it’s something Rockets players take to heart. Of course, this doesn’t mean anything. You can have a chip on your shoulder and still be terrible.
However, I do think Houston could take a step forward as a team on the offensive end. There are several reasons for this.
1. A full training camp of willing participants
John Wall is the obvious caveat to this point. Rockets fans should prepare for the distinct possibility that Wall never gets with the program in Houston. The Rockets took a team trip to the Bahamas and Wall doesn’t appear to be present. It could be nothing, but as always with these kinds of situations, it could change on a dime and Wall could be sidelined until a resolution is found with the team.The rest of the roster, however, seems pretty excited to be there. There isn’t the same dark cloud that existed prior to last season.
Head coach Stephen Silas will have the ability to actually implement his offense with all the major players present.
2. Healthy shooters
Eric Gordon, Christian Wood, and Danuel House are three of Houston’s most important offensive players and each of them missed at least 30 games last season. They’re all very good shooters (36.8%, 37.1%, and 36.4% from downtown, respectively) and this will really open up the floor for Houston in a way that wasn’t there last season. The Rockets took the third most threes in the NBA last season but also had the third worst shooting percentage from that range. Having three of the best shooters on the roster back will help turn around that second statistic.
3. More shot creators available
In addition to being awesome shooters, Wood and Gordon are two of Houston’s most efficient scoring threats. Wood averaged 21 points per game last season on 59.1% true shooting while Gordon averaged 17.8 points on 57.7% true shooting. As important as passing and shooting are, reliable one-on-one scoring is invaluable to good offense in the NBA. The Rockets will have that in droves next season when you also factor in Kevin Porter Jr. and rookie Jalen Green. Having John Wall as a table setter would be helpful to Houston’s cause, but the fact that they have so many off-the-dribble threats to lean on should advance them past a bottom five offense in the NBA.
4. A better tone and more structure
This may not make a lot of sense, but the Rockets’ effort level tailed off when it became clear how messy their season was going to end. Harden never bought the proper urgency and it set the wrong tone for the rest of the season. Victor Oladipo and John Wall took a lot of ill-advised jumpers off the dribble and there didn’t seem to be much movement going on off the ball. The Rockets don’t have to deal with a disgruntled star player next season and the team will have the ability to implement a more structured system. This structure can bring along cohesion if everyone buys in early on.
They’re not going to be the 2017-18 Rockets, but Houston has enough firepower to at least get closer to league average offensively next season.