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Relax Rockets fans

The Pressure’s Off

NBA: NBA-Draft
Very Shiny Suit
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

For the past five or so seasons, being a Rockets fan has been a fraught experience, compared to being a fan of other teams.

The Rockets best player in the past several seasons has been (until he was traded) James Harden. This is good, in that James Harden had one of the best offensive player runs in NBA history. He had seasons where he was runner up for MVP where he pretty clearly outperformed the other candidates.

This is bad in that James Harden was also during that time easily the most vilified player in the NBA. He became the go-to scapegoat for nearly any NBA problem. Too much 3pt shooting? Blame James Harden and the Rockets. Despite league wide trends showing surging 3pt shooting on every team.

Too many FTs? Blame James Harden and the Rockets. Despite the beloved Giannis shooting free throws at a significantly higher rate than Harden.

Too much high pick and roll, and ISO ball? Blame James Harden and the Rockets, despite the whole league more or less doing exactly the same at this point, if not doing it more than the Rockets did.

Not enough defense, and the game is too slow? Blame James Harden and the Rockets. Despite the whole league playing at a pace that would have been considered fast by the SSOL Phoenix Suns.

If there was something, anything, someone didn’t like about the NBA the most likely cause was, of course, James Harden and the Rockets.

This, combined with the Rockets playoff frustrations and woes, and a shifting lineup of costly point guards, made for an experience of hopeful misery.

The Rockets had, undoubtedly to fans, a top five, maybe top three player. Everyone other than Rockets fans seemed to hate him. (Until he went to a major media market, and there was a sudden, shocking, reassessment of his career and talents.)

The Rockets were, mostly likely, the second best team in the NBA, during the Warriors Cap Spike Mini Dynasty (not to be mean, but it just seems harder when Kevin Durant isn’t there, doesn’t it?).

Fans of the Rockets went through roller coasters of emotions. Chris Paul is in (and the players who went from the Rockets in that trade formed much of the core of a very good Clippers team). Chris Paul was out, and suddenly his Bizzaro World Self, Russell Westbrook was in, but all the Rockets future flexibility was out, too.

None of this applies now. The Rockets are going to be fielding a team of guys around 19-20 years old. Sometimes it’s going to look great. Often, it’s going to look awful.

That doesn’t matter. What matters is those players stay healthy, develop, reach their potential while on the Rockets, and work well together. What matters is growth. Growth isn’t fast. It doesn’t happen minute by minute in games in late February (well it does, but if you’re tracking it that way, you’ll go crazy).

Take a deep breath Rockets fans. You’re off the clock. You’re not the bad guys. Try to enjoy this experience.


I’m feeling

This poll is closed

  • 76%
    hopeful, and relieved.
    (406 votes)
  • 3%
    (18 votes)
  • 11%
    like I should be angry about something, but I don’t know what.
    (63 votes)
  • 7%
    like I’ll have to bring my angst to the Mavericks.
    (41 votes)
528 votes total Vote Now