The Rockets are finally back to .500 after 14 games. If you had told me that in the offseason, I would have expected an injury or bad luck.
Turns out, there was a bit of both, but the Rockets are finally starting to look like the team we all expected them to be. In the last three games, Houston has regained some of its swagger offensively. The defense toted the water while the offense worked to catch up, but lately the offense is playing well enough to reward the defense.
The shots were always going to start falling for Houston, and once they did, it was going to be back to normal. If Houston’s cadre of shooters can make defenses pay by hitting open shots, James Harden and Chris Paul are going to get more space to operate as defenders are forced to stay home on shooters.
So can we expect Houston to start decimating their opponents like we saw last year on their way to 65 wins?
Yeah, let’s wait a bit.
Really, the Sacramento Kings only have two true veterans in Iman Shumpert and Nemanja Bjelica. Both of them start, but neither is a player that Houston should fear. That healthy fear should be for the gaggle of youngsters that have propelled the Kings to a deserved 8-7 start. De’Aaron Fox is the truth, Buddy Hield is shooting 43% from deep, Marvin Bagley III is showing flashes, Harry Giles is healthy, and Frank Mason III is giving them solid minutes off the bench at the point guard spot. Justin Jackson and Bogdan Bogdanovic are in their second seasons and making strides. Oh, and the Kings have Troy Williams, too.
Combine the excessive youth with the record, and it’s not a surprise that Dave Joerger is probably the Coach of the Year so far in the NBA.
It’s too early to tell if Sacramento is “legit” as a playoff contender. More than likely, their youth will make that a tall task. But for now, it’s cool to see a team that’s struggled for so long, with such a passionate fanbase, reintroduce themselves to the NBA world. Because the Kings aren’t messing around anymore. And that’s awesome.
Tip-off is at 7pm CT