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Familiar story as Rockets fall to Kings 125-105

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It isn’t really the basketball, is it?

NBA: Houston Rockets at Sacramento Kings
More to come?
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockets lost again. They played a couple of decent quarters, and coughed up a couple of terrible quarters. They can’t protect the rim and they can’t shoot. They can’t defend the break, and they can’t score in the paint without a lot of work. They really, truly, can’t shoot.

So that’s a story. A familiar one. Once again the Rockets lose big, but lose in an effortful way. The players the Rockets should be able to count on to score reliably simply can’t shoot, if they happen to be available to play.

The whole cast of key Rockets remains unreliable, and generally not present, with Christian Wood, John Wall out, and Eric Gordon looking like being out for some time. David Nwaba, Danuel House, Rodions Kurucs and in theory, Dante Exum, are also out. Another familiar story of this season.

A real story for me is just how shockingly bad Victor Oladipo is on this team. I had no idea he was like this before his trade.

If this is Victor Oladipo’s game, it’s amazing anyone was able to get a good season out of him. Kudos to the Pacers. He’s almost (almost) comically terrible on offense. He’s so dismal it isn’t funny the way Westbrook’s insane confidence could be, though.

Whenever Oladipo is not actively moving with the ball, he acts like a nervous 7th grader, throwing the it away as quickly as possible, even if it is into opposing players’ hands, feet, or into the stands. The idea of him as a point guard is ludicrous. A point has to be able to hold his dribble under pressure, at least a little, and Oladipo can’t do that without utter panic and attendant mistakes.

When he is moving with the ball, he seems unable to get past anyone, so he’s usually stopping in front of the basket for an awkward-looking stationary flip shot of some type. That’s his most reliable shot, besides unreliable free throw shooting off contact on no-hope drives.

The sooner he’s traded the better.

That’s another story.

Yet another story, and stop me if you’ve heard this one, is that Eric Gordon was looking pretty good, and then got hurt. Perhaps seriously.

PJ Tucker is a story. A sad and annoying one. The Rockets evidently made him a pretty good contract offer, but he wanted a great deal more. Now he’s waiting for a trade and not playing. Hopefully someone will trade for the player he was last season, or the player he can be closing out close games (of which the Rockets have had none in recent memory).

The last story of tonight’s defeat was the GLeague Rockets. Kevin Porter Jr had a great debut outing as a Houston Rocket. He also, surprise, looked like he got hurt, but being 20 years old, he came back in the game, and afterwards played worse, but still better than Oladipo. Porter had 13pts, 5 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 steals and a block in 29 minutes. He looks like an NBA player, at what level remains to be seen, but a very high ceiling seems possible. Also, credit to Porter Jr for bringing back El DeBarge’s 1980s hair.

Martin Jr has a less exciting but productive night, going 6 of 9. He was generally able to make layups, which is not to be assumed.

This isn’t a team of abject and terrible players. It is a team that simply doesn’t work, and does very little well as constructed.

When that story changes is anyone’s guess.

Poll

Is this the plan?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Yes.
    (26 votes)
  • 21%
    No, but it is now.
    (46 votes)
  • 6%
    No.
    (14 votes)
  • 59%
    Top Four Mercy Pick Is The Plan.
    (125 votes)
211 votes total Vote Now