The Houston Rockets made a big change over the summer, ending the Chris Paul experiment after two seasons and trading them to the Oklahoma City Thunder for another star point guard: Russell Westbrook.
There were other additions as well, but for the most part, this is the same team that took the Warriors to six matches in the second round of last season’s playoffs. With the field open as a long-held field, they were once again expected to be contenders in the West.
So far, the returns have been disappointing. Through the first two weeks, they are 3-3 but are probably lucky that they are living below 500. Their three wins are by a combined eight points and have come against some of the league’s worst teams – the Pelicans, Thunder, and Wizards.
They have an untimely defense, shooting 30.7 percent from 3 and being flat-out embarrassed by the Heat on Sunday, trailing by 41 points before losing 29.
Things did not look better on Monday night when he traveled to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies. Late in the first half, he placed a sequence that began with a complete uproar.
Due to pathetic defense and poor decision making, he allowed Dillon Brooks to get the four easiest points he would achieve all season in a few seconds.
With only two minutes left in the second quarter, Brooks caught a skip pass in the corner and met James Harden. Or, well, Hardik stood by him. The Rockets star – who has always struggled on the defensive end – never got shocked, and showed Brooks a way to the basket.
Three different rockets stood and watched in the vicinity of the restricted area, while Brooks edged for a slam.
As Brooks hung on the rim to put some thrust into his slam, Ben McLemore tried to get the ball inside quickly and let the Rockets go the other way.
However, he took his pass and threw it to Brooks’ possession. The Grizzlies wing landed its first sting and went back with the ball for another easy bucket.
The Rockets are so talented and have such a long time to go in the season that you have to give them the benefit of the doubt that they can rotate the thing.
James Harden did not continue shooting 21.5 percent from beyond the arc, opponents did not shoot 45 percent over season 3’s entire break 3 – the worst percentage was 37.6 percent by the Cavaliers last season – and more concussions play together.
Will lead to But sometimes the team shows you who they are, and instead of trying to figure out why it’s not real, you just have to believe in them.
It feels like one of those moments. Even if the Rockets improve as the season improves, they have some issues, especially on the defensive end, that is not going away.