Springtime is my favorite season of the year! The weather starts to get warm, flowers start to bloom, and inebriated young adults wreak havoc at tourist destinations. It’s a beautiful sight to see.
The NBA starts to get spicy also, as contenders around the league solidify their spots at top of their respective conferences, while the others try to get in where they can fit in. This is usually accompanied by strategic moves to jockey for a playoff berth based on homecourt or matchup advantages, this is fueled by the visceral dreams of tasting champagne as it burns in their eyes and hosting the Larry O’Brien trophy in the midst of a crowd.
The definition of tanking is a hot topic, where the commentary is based around its definition, morality, and benefit to a franchise. I think we can all agree, regardless if a team is forcing losses or just bad. The phrase means a team is just so bad, that as a result you ‘tank’ to the bottom of the standings. The only difference in the NBA is just that instead of feeling the shame of being mediocre, you’re given a consolation prize of getting first dibs on young talent in the draft.
Much can be said about both teams and their race to the bottom, but none of this matters. The past two weeks, both teams are playing better ball and have been messing up the ‘tank’. Sacramento has a 2-4 record while being the 27th offense and 20th defense, then you got Houston who’s been 3-5 with 23rd offense and 10th defense in the same time span.
If you’re questioning how does this make any sense? Don’t worry I’ll let you in a little secret, none of those wins came from quality teams. The Rockets wins came from the Washington Wizards and the Portland TrailBlazers twice, meanwhile the Kings won against the Indiana Pacers and the Portland TrailBlazers.
I hope you noticed the trend, it’s not just bad teams that they beat. These are teams that have decided to play three dimensional chess and race to the bottom of the standings, to increase their odds of a top pick in the draft.
With that being said I have to give credit to both teams, especially to rookies Davion Mitchell and Jalen Green. Since De’aaron Fox has been sidelined the past five games, Mitchell has been on a mission! He’s been averaging 22 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds , and 1 steal a game in the meantime still shooting 46% from the field and 39% from downtown.
Davion has made a bid for March ROTM honors, but it’s still pretty much Jalen’s to lose. Jalen this month has put up 20 points on 48 percent shooting and has been knocking down three’s at a 39 percent clip. Also, let’s not forget about that myriad of highlight plays he’s given us. Especially that nasty poster Green had on San Antonio Spurs big Jakob Poeltl.
All things considered, can the Houston Rockets beat the Sacramento Kings? According to Draft Kings, Sacramento is favored by 2.5 points. My answer is, why not? When both teams played, the Kings only won by an average of 3 points (which is why you see the spread as what it is). When you factor both teams key players missing time due to an ‘injury’ H-Town’s young talent are arguably better than Sac-Town’s young rotation. However, here’s the blueprint to win tonight’s match up.
● Limit turnovers
● Stop transition baskets
Let’s start with the turnover problem the Rockets have, the team all season have ranked 30th on that end committing 17 a game. Against the Kings, Houston coughs up about 20 turnovers to the opposition in their two matchups. When you commit a lot of turnovers as a team, transition baskets come in a storm. Houston has given up 29 points of turnovers alone!
Houston can win this game just off the talent alone barring if Fox and Domantas Sabonis remain sidelined for this upcoming game. However, if the team follows my advice, the Rockets should win this game comfortably. The question is should they? I’ll leave you the fans and the organization to answer that question.