We're back. This is a weekly column to track the Houston Rockets standing in POWER RANKINGS across the NBA.
Six games into J.B. Bickerstaff's tenure the Houston Rockets have limped their way to a .500 record under the new head coach. As a team the boys in red sit at 7 - 10, good for 10th in the Western Conference.
Getting Bickerstaff three wins has required two shaky overtime victories against inferior opponents and an embarrassing two point victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. Those "bright spots" were divided by a three game losing streak.
The McHale shakeup has taken place on the court in addition to the sideline: James Harden is scoring an average of 39.3 points in Houston Rockets wins. Clint Capela and Patrick Beverley are in the starting lineup. Ty Lawson is barely touching the court. Corey Brewer doesn't deserve to touch the court. There's been a lot going on.
All of these changes have done nothing to stem one trend: Hoopsheads are out on this team.
OVERREACTION: An abysmal start to the season has transformed the Rockets from analytics darling to deeply flawed experiment:
PESSIMISM: With the exception of Sports Illustrated (SI) the POWER RANKINGS have condemned the Rockets to bottom dweller. Despite a superior record, the Rockets are still ranked below the New Orleans Pelicans and Portland Trail Blazers by everyone but SI. People paid to watch and write about the NBA for a living believe Sacramento Kings are better than the Rockets right now. Woof.
OPTIMISM: The Houston Rockets are overcoming a cacophony of turnovers and sit only a game out of the Western Conference playoff picture. The 7-10 record is currently good for 10th in a deteriorating conference. A solid run of play will allay fears this team is unstable and incapable of making another playoff run.
Optimism can be justified with a brief peak at the Southwest Division, once the toast of the NBA. In The San Antonio Spurs won't be caught, but the Mavericks and Grizzlies can be tracked down if Houston finds a groove:
|San Antonio Spurs||14-3||0||9-1|
|New Orleans Pelicans||4-13||10||3-7|