January has not been kind to the Rockets.
Granted, a lot of it is their own doing - or undoing - as the case may be. That said, the Rockets lack the 2005 versions of Tracy McGrady and/or Yao Ming (or even Mike James, who was awesome that spring). I still do not expect the Rockets to acquire a significant piece from any trade for McGrady.
Furthermore, what bothers me isn't simply the steady stream of losses. I can handle losing if sufficient effort is being made. I can also accept mistakes that are made from being aggressive.
What I have trouble with is the repeating of these mistakes, and an apparent lack of effort.
I wrote back in November/December that while I am happy the Rockets are winning, the way in which they were winning was troublesome. Because instead of stepping on a team's neck when they had big leads, the Rockets would invariably let a team back into the game, only to survive with close victories. Or they would "let up" and stop being aggressive at the end of quarters/games. Many people disagreed with my assessment and called me a perpetual pessimist (which may be true, but...). Apparently, any win was a good win. The problem is, all the seemingly minor things that bothered me earlier in this season have evolved into significant problems that just do not seem to be going away. And the Rockets are no longer winning. That is truly problematic.
Even worse? I have no real answers or suggestions for what they can do to get better.
A trade won't make that much of a difference.
Giving Trevor Ariza a lobotomy won't matter much either.
Waking up Coach Sleepy might help... but not that much.
And until boy genius Daryl Morey figures out a way to splice the DNA of Chuck Hayes and Shane Battier with McGrady to create a super NBA player that is not only talented - and taller - but actually uses that talent, I'm not sure the Rockets will even make the playoffs this year. (Then again, I've been told that pig and elephant DNA just won't splice.)
All of this is really okay though. We all know they aren't winning the Championship this year. So a token playoff appearance really does not excite me so much. The problem is that after John Wall, this year's draft is supposedly very, very weak. So, uh, yeah, I'm running out of answers.
You know what would make me feel better though? Just beat the Blazers tonight. I don't ask for much.