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Rockets’ brutal start puts them on path for NBA’s all-time worst record

Rockets, John Wall, Christian Wood, Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr.

The Houston Rockets cannot seem to catch a break this season. Obviously, no one had them at the top of the Western Conference this year. However, regardless of the fact that their roster boasts some questionable NBA talent, most people did not envision this season going downhill in this manner.

As of right now, the Rockets are standing at 1-15, with the lone win coming against the Oklahoma City Thunder. That was the second game of the season, and they have now posted 14 losses in a row. At this pace, the Rockets will finish with the worst record in NBA history. Here are a couple of reasons why that is and why they could set a new record for NBA futility.

Houston Rockets’ historically bad start

Lack of NBA talent

The first reason is clear to anyone who looked at their roster coming in. There just isn’t enough proven NBA talent on this team to consistently win games. Christian Wood is a good player, but when he’s a team’s best player, that’s a major problem.

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It is important to mention that there is some future promise on this roster. Obviously, their second pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Jalen Green, has a bright future in the league. While he is still adjusting to the NBA, he has put up some monster games and showcased his talents to the world. Kevin Porter Jr. and Alperen Sengun, among others, do have potential and could be assets for the future. Perhaps Eric Gordon can help the future as well by bringing back an asset in a trade.

Otherwise, the squad is either risks that might pay off, or John Wall, who is just there to pick up the paycheck and wait to be traded/released so he can potentially jumpstart his career. The Rockets probably shouldn’t be this bad, but given this roster construction, it’s not that surprising they’re awful.

Rockets are tanking

The decision to sit John Wall effectively telegraphed this strategy. In the competitive Western Conference, the Rockets do not stand a solitary chance. Going for meaningless wins would be counterproductive to the future of the franchise. The next draft is full of great talents who could change the course of the franchise.

Thus, the Rockets have made a decision to focus on development this season and not really concern themselves with winning.  Even if the Rockets were really trying their best to win, and the players and coaches certainly aren’t blatantly tanking, they simply do not have the quality.

It is entirely logical to see this squad and understand why they are not winning games. Also, it is entirely logical to see the next draft class and understand why the Rockets do not really want to try to win games. Again, it would be unfair to say that they are simply out there not trying as a collective, but the ultimate goal of this season is developing the young players. If they can pull out some wins here and there to help that development, great, and it would obviously be nice to avoid finishing with the worst record ever.

The 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats currently have the worst record in NBA history at 7-59. The 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers are a close second with a 9-73 record. Given how poorly the Rockets are playing (historically bad offense, most turnovers in the NBA by a mile), it’s entirely possible to think they could set this record. With so many teams trying to win, there simply aren’t that many other bad teams out there, making it tough to pick up victories over the course of the season.

Perhaps Stephen Silas’ group will find a rhythm at some point as the youngsters develop, but things aren’t looking good so far.