Houston Rockets forward Luc Mbah a Moute is a more significant player in the lineup than you may think. The Rockets’ defensive efficiency was third in the NBA before Mbah a Moute’s injury. But that defensive efficiency plunged to 28th in the league during the month Mbah a Moute was sidelined because of a shoulder injury.
Rockets defensive efficiency before Luc Mbah a Moute got hurt: 102.1, which would rank 3rd in NBA
In month without Mbah a Moute: 109.6, which would rank 28th
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) January 22, 2018
Mbah a Moute missed the games from Dec. 15, 2017 to Jan. 12 this year, after falling awkwardly in the Dec. 13, 2017 game against the Charlotte Hornets and landing on his shoulder. He has recently rejoined the roster last week against the L.A. Clippers.
When you think about the Rockets, defense is probably not the first thing that comes into your mind. They have great offensive weapons in perennial MVP candidate James Harden, floor general Chris Paul, Sixth Man of the Year Eric Gordon and sharpshooter Ryan Anderson.
But pure offense alone can’t win championships. In all their championship runs, the Golden State Warriors are not just offensive powerhouses, as they are also defensive juggernauts.
If the Rockets want to fight for domination in the West with the Warriors, they will need players that can improve their defensive efficiency just like Mbah a Moute.
The veteran forward-center is indeed a presence to be reckoned with on the floor. He may not have the best averages with 7.3 points and 3.4 rebounds, but he affects the game in his own way, especially on the defensive end. In the Nov. 22, 2017 game against the Denver Nuggets, Mbah a Moute even recorded one of the highest plus-minus rating in the history of the game with plus-57.