From the moment Dwight Howard let it be known that he was taking his talents to The Bayou City, Rockets fans have understandably garnered high expectation for the 2013-14 season. When you have arguably the best player in the league at two of your positions, it's to be expected. Yet one thing many of those already making their plans for a parade downtown next June failed to realize is that while the potential for greatness is there, these things take time.
The fact that Chandler Parsons is the longest tenured Rocket on the roster is the first reason to expect needing a little time to mesh. Even I thought the chemistry was well ahead of schedule with how terrific the team looked in preseason, but the logic remains that it is just the preseason. While Houston is sitting at an okay 8-5, the thoughts of the many late game collapses and the "they should be 11-2!" proclamations sit front and center.
Last night's collapse in Dallas was just added to the list of crap games the Rockets have given away. The Lakers, Sixers and Mavs all have found a way to trick Houston into snatching defeat from the jaws of victory with their inability to close a game out. However, I'm still not mad about it. Does it suck? Especially losing to Dallas? You better believe it. But am I concerned?
For three plus quarters last night, we saw a team that could beat anybody. We saw a team that looked like the best team in the Western Conference. What we also saw was a team still trying to figure things out when faced with adversity. I know all the national media guys, that are already rooting for Houston to fail mind you, are using the "elite teams don't lose games like that one" line, but who cares? You know who else they said that about? The 2010-11 Miami Heat.
Sure, the Heat lost in the Finals, but many seem to forget that they didn't look like a Finals contender for all of November that first year together. In fact, their record after 13 games? 8-5. In addition, they were as bad as 9-8 at one point and many were calling for Erik Spoelstra to be fired. Three years and two titles later, fans in Miami (contrary to popular belief, there are some good fans out there) are quite happy Spoelstra kept his job.
So all of the calls for McHale to be fired is just ludicrous. All those expecting the team to be 11-2 at this point need to pump the brake a little. Developing the kind of chemistry needed with this much roster turnover takes more than ten or twenty games. It takes more like forty or fifty. This isn't NBA 2k14. Patience is more than a virtue; it's necessary.
Now, if these things are still happening in February; then I'll be concerned and entertain your calls for the team to part ways with Kevin McHale. I know folks are a little hypersensitive right now about Houston sports because they feel such scorn towards the Texans, but just separate the two. The two couldn't be more night and day.
Requesting patience from a group of fans so hungry for any type of success is like asking Chandler Parsons to date a fat chick; it isn't likely to be a granted request.
Just try to calm down, take a deep breath and simply relax. James Harden hasn't even played close to his best ball yet this season. Dwight is getting better in the system every game and Parsons is learning to be one hell of a distributor. There are plenty of positives to take out of the first three weeks of the season. I'm not saying you can't gripe; by all means feel free to do that. But let's stop the witch-hunt for Kevin McHale and tying to encourage a panic trade. By now we should all know Daryl Morey doesn't do that.
We're almost fifteen percent of the way through the schedule and are currently on pace for 52 wins. This team will learn to close those games out in the fourth and they'll likely end up with more than 52 wins, in my opinion. But maybe I'm just so optimistic about this team and its future that I'm whistling past the graveyard here. Who knows.
But I'm going to stay patient and reassess at the halfway point. For your sanity sake, I suggest you do the same.