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Gary Payton doesn’t see Rockets thriving in the playoffs because ‘they don’t play defense’

James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Gary Payton

Former NBA guard and defensive legend Gary Payton did not mince his words when speaking about the Houston Rockets. “The Glove” is not too high on the always dangerous Rockets because of the team’s inability to play defense.

Because the Rockets cannot contain their opponents as of late, Payton does not believe that Houston will be able to advance far into the Western Conference playoffs this time around. Thanks to the strength of the Western Conference this season, a lack of defense will not go a long way if the Rockets plan on contending for an NBA title in 2020..

Perhaps Payton is onto something here…

This hardly comes as a surprise, however, as Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni is not known for his defensive prowess. Instead, teams led by D’Antoni over the years have possessed some of the best of offensive attacks in league history while once again his team lacks the defensive wherewithal to play hard at both ends of the floor.

On the other hand, the Rockets did not address this need this past offseason as the team only added more offense to the fold. Although former Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook is one of the most dominant players in the league, he also isn’t known for his defense but rather his ability to put up points and assists on the offensive end of the court.

It will be up to the tandem of Westbrook and league MVP James Harden to merely outscore the Rockets’ opponents going forward.