This one got out of hand quickly.
The Rockets looked dominant in the first quarter, and they stayed dominant all game long.
It’s hard to provide a coherent narrative that makes a story, a through line, someone can follow from the incoherence that is pre-season basketball. That said, a few things stood out.
Jabari Smith - Remember the doubts from Vegas Summer League? About his shot? His defense? This is only one pre-season basketball game against a real contender for the worst team in the NBA, but...wow. The defense is real. The shooting is real. 6’11” Klay Thompson might never happen. But it really might. 21pts, 5-8 3pt shooting, 8 rebounds in 24 minutes.
To improve? Passing.
Tari Eason - A force. A menace. It’s difficult to believe he only had two steals. 21pts, 10rbs, 2stl, 20 minutes.
To Improve? Fix the catapult 3pt shot.
Kevin Porter Jr. - Looked good distributing. Looked even better off ball. He lacks a reliable finishing move in the lane. He doesn’t have something like the James Harden “Narrow Angle Smash” layup, or a reliable floater. He attacks well, but doesn’t finish as well.
To Improve - Find a reliable inside shot - floater, layup, stop and pop CP3 shot, whatever.
Alperen Sengun - Clearly adjusting from the high physicality EuroBasket tourney, and adjusting to his Rockets teammates. Nonetheless had a solid game. Sengun does finish well inside.
To Improve - Adjust back to the NBA.
Overall this game was a romp. The Rockets were simply better in every aspect than what promises to be a memorably dismal Spurs team. Gregg Popovich mentioned his paycheck as his primary motivator, it’s easy to see why he might say that.
This Spurs team was literally worse than the Rockets at every spot, and in every phase of the game, and at every level of their lineup. I can’t remember the last Rockets team that could athletically dominate an opponent such that mistakes simply didn’t cost what they should have. I can’t remember a Rockets team generally being taller, or at least seemingly taller, everywhere than an opponent.
What did we learn?
This might be a very, very good Rockets team sooner than you might expect. It will also be prone to fall apart in a welter of mistakes, because it remains a young team. It will undoubtedly be a hard team to play against, however many wins it achieves.
What did we learn?
This poll is closed
This is a deep, if not, good team.
Rockets are big and athletic.
Spurs are bad.
It’s wonderful that basketball is back.
PS - Just follow Tari Eason’s mom. You’ll be glad you did. @teroyaeason