January 13th was a grim day for H-Town. James Harden, the face of the Rockets for the last nine years, took his talents to the Brooklyn Nets. It was no shock that The Beard would be granted his leave from Houston, especially with how vocal he’d been in expressing his frustrations with the franchise. The bottom line is, Harden wants a championship and his faith in Houston dwindled.
After a slow 4-9 start to the season, fans started to lose their faith too. Many critics predicted Houston to struggle at the bottom of the Western Conference this season, especially after losing a MVP caliber player. It wasn’t too long ago that tanking for a lottery pick didn’t seem absurd. Well, this is a message to keep the doubters in check and to praise the continued support of the optimists.
As stated from a recent article on Christian Wood, it’s too early to underestimate this year’s Rockets roster. The team is on a six-game winning streak, which includes blowing out the Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards, and Oklahoma City Thunder by more than 18 points. Just recently, the Rockets scored a franchise best 28 three-pointers over the Thunder. The 30-point win over OKC doesn’t resonate with a team destined for an early offseason.
With Wood, Victor Oladipo, and John Wall, along with a strong cast of supporting players, the Rockets definitely have the talent needed to secure a spot in the playoffs. Wood is developing impressively, Wall is feeling healthy again, Oladipo is fitting into the system well, DeMarcus Cousins is finding his groove, and Eric Gordon is exceeding expectations. Not to mention, Jae’Sean Tate, Mason Jones, Sterling Brown, and David Nwaba are all solid bench players. Everything seems to be going right for this new-look squad.
Also, Houston is very effective on the defensive end of the court. According to Basketball Reference, the Rockets have the third-best defensive rating in the league. After losing a player like James Harden, who’s notorious for his lack of help on the backcourt, it’s no surprise head coach Stephen Silas has been able to adjust this aspect of their play for the better.
Houston’s next challenging match up will come Thursday, against the Memphis Grizzlies, who are on a seven-game winning streak. This interdivisional game may determine which franchise holds the longest winning streak in the NBA this season. With the Rockets creeping up on the 8th seed position, a victory would also provide a great boost of momentum. Not to jinx H-Town, but a playoff run this May is looking very likely.
Are the Rockets a playoff team?
This poll is closed
You better believe it!
Nah, they’re gonna miss out