After another embarrassing loss, this time at the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Houston Rockets are on pace for a dubious record.
As you can imagine, a franchise just getting off the ground probably had some lean years and the Rockets were no different. They finished that 1967-68 year 15-67. This Rockets team will likely pass that win total and last year's 17 wins. Even still, the Rockets defense has been like a leaking dam since the start of the year, and lately, the cracks have gotten even bigger.
The team, of course, is inexperienced, with several players 21 years and younger. This also goes for chemistry on the court, where there are only five players on last year's team on this year's team. The Rockets also lack a legitimate rim protector and multiple wings to defend on the outside. Factor all this together, and the Rockets are on pace for the worst defensive season in franchise history.
The numbers don't lie. The defense is terrible.
Looking at the defensive numbers, you can see right away why the Rockets are currently 11-30 on the season. The Rockets, as of last night's loss, have the worst defensive rating in franchise history with 115.4. This is after setting that mark last year at 114.9.
Of course, you can’t always base overall performance on defensive rating, but this number seems pretty accurate when you factor in the eye test.
This doesn't even include the fact that the Rockets are giving up 116.5 points per game, which ranks second-worst in Rockets history to last year’s 116.7. It’s been worse in the previous three games as the Rockets are giving up 127.3 points per game.
In the Rockets’ regular starting lineup, Eric Gordon and Jae’Sean Tate are the only players you would consider plus defenders. Yes, Kevin Porter Jr. has improved on the defensive end this year but is prone to defensive lapses. Christian Wood is decent at switching onto guards but is not a paint protector. Jalen Green is a rookie, and with that comes rookie mistakes, which are to be expected.
Coach Silas has to do a better job of getting across to players in practice that if you don't defend, you don't play no matter who you are. The Rockets don't have anyone good enough to dog it on defense but play no matter what.
For the Rockets to improve, they will need time, something they can’t control, and more effort, which is something under their control. Each player on the team has to give more effort. This doesn’t absolve the coaching staff, which has not put the right combination on the court.