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Houston Rockets vs. Utah Jazz game preview

NBA: Houston Rockets at Utah Jazz Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

If Stephen Silas loses to the Jazz, he might get the blues.

Sorry, I had to.

It’s starting to seem like Silas’s days are numbered. Brought in to coach a Houston Rockets team with Russell Westbrook and James Harden, Silas has been stuck with a team deep in development. But therein lies the problem.

What development has happened? Most development seems to have come through repetitions in NBA minutes. Well, any coach could dole out minutes. “But,” you say, “head coaches don’t really coach players in terms of their skills. That’s up to assistant coaches and personal trainers that players go to in the offseason.” That’s fair, but coaches (mostly) pick their assistants, right?

I think what has bummed me out the most about the current iteration of the Rockets is a lack of identity. Or system. If you had to define the Rockets in one word, and the word had to be positive, what would it be? Young? They’re barely eager or precocious. Certainly not tenacious as a whole. The negatives come much easier: discombobulated, unorganized, frustrating, calamitous, directionless, unprepared, lackadaisical, and stagnant. And those are just off the top of my head. We could be here all day.

I think Justin nailed it in his recap:

It’s apparent that something needs to change. Whether it’s lineup changes, figuring out who should initiate the offense, trades, coaching changes etc., something is going to have to give, especially in light of recent happenings.

The vibes are not immaculate at this time and it has become abundantly clear that time may be ticking.

I’m wrestling with this, because I think the Rockets know that being bad is good. The ESPN piece last year made it abundantly clear that Tilman Fertitta and his son Patrick, along with GM Rafael Stone, know that they shouldn’t make big moves now or risk messing with the chemistry and growth of this young Rockets nucleus. Objectively, firing Silas probably does nothing in the short term. Bringing in an interim coach isn’t going to change anything. Houston’s offense wouldn’t transform overnight into the Golden State Warriors offense even if Steve Kerr was suddenly coaching in H-Town.

But this isn’t about the short term, and it never has been. Earlier this year, it felt like the Rockets had found a groove. I was openly writing in these previews that the Rockets wouldn’t be sweating out the lottery this season because they’d be picking around 8 and that would be fine. However, that was all predicated on Jalen Green being better than last year. Ditto for Kevin Porter Jr. and Alperen Sengun. Or on Jabari Smith Jr. finding his niche and expanding his game as much as he could this season. None of that is happening. The Rockets have four potential backup point guards, and at the halfway point of the season none of them have claimed the role of actual backup.

And now we’ve got KPJ saying he’s the head honcho? I’m all for empowering the kid and letting him feel like this is his team, but there’s about five other guys whom I’d wish this team followed in terms of style than KPJ. And they’re considering bringing James Harden back? To this team? With these players?

Speaking of, one of those five aforementioned players might return to the court tonight. That would be Jae’Sean Tate, and absolute dog on a team sorely lacking them.

Oh, and the Rockets are playing the Utah Jazz tonight.

Just to lighten things up after the depressing first part of this preview:

Tip-off is at 7pm CT on AT&T SportsNet Southwest