Is this a reasonable possibility? Taking a closer look at the defensive prowess of the Rockets this season:
A more thorough analysis of the Rockets defense is possible. dRAPM of the Rocket's probable 8 man rotation:
Lin's defense - -0.2
Hardens defense - -0.9
Parsons defense 0.1
Asik's defense - 5.4
Howard's defense - 6.3
Bev's defense - -0.5
Garcia's defense - 0
Casspi's defense - 0.7 (at the SF position)
The Rocket's defense last season with Asik on the floor was ranked 7th in the NBA. This was with a lineup of Lin, Harden, Parsons, a bevy of power forwards which I arbitrarily assigned a dRAPM of -1 and Asik. That unit had a combined dRAPM of 3.4. The starting lineup of the CHA game (Bev, Harden, Parsons, Asik and Howard) have a combined dRAPM of 10.2. For a counterpoint Indiana's starters dRAPM is 9.24. So I expect that the Rockets will have a top 5 defense in the league this season, and could very easily lead the league.
The P&R defense in the first game was poor. I believe that it will improve rapidly. I imagine that McHale will make it the main focus of every practice until it does.
Interesting that Bev's dRAPM score last season was worse than Lin's. Just to show that I should not believe my own lying eyes.