The Houston Rockets took a shellacking in game numero uno. Yes it’s true, the Orlando Magic were the more physical team and as Ime Udoka put it, he wasn’t expecting the team to “wilt under their physicality.” On the bright side, it’s only the first game of the season.
On the more annoying and less optimistic side, we live in a society tortured by hot takes and quick dismissals. Naturally, the Rockets caught some of those overreactions coming off last night’s loss. A 30-point drubbing will do that.
Following the game, I read through the tweets, watched some presser, and looked through the comment sections — some of these are yours — and gathered some of those (over)reactions to capture the essence of how the public feels about last night’s game. They read as the following:
Sentiments that the Rockets are still very bad
Listen, this very well may be true, but everybody is entitled to an off night. The problem is that it was pretty much the case for everyone not named Dillon Brooks or Alperen Sengun. On top of that, getting nearly doubled up on the boards was frightening, but I expect someone like Tari Eason will help out with that issue once he returns from injury.
While losing game one in this fashion was a bit deflating, I’ll remind people that this isn’t the end of the world. Game two offers the chance for redemption.
Sentiments that Jalen Green is not a number one option
Starting off your third season with 10 points on 2-for-10 from the field isn’t ideal, but not much about anything was ideal for the Rockets. We can chalk this off to a rough outing, but I’ll acknowledge the most important aspect to Green becoming the lead option is consistency. His floor has to be much higher than this, period. If he bounces back against the San Antonio Spurs, let’s hope that’s the start to something special.
Sentiments of Jabari Smith Jr. being an overhyped defender
It’s not that Bari is a bad defender, he’s just not what we necessarily expected when we took him. As James, our TDS colleague, put it, he might not be the defensive anchor that was advertised.
Got to expect the unexpected. Bari enthusiasts argued that he was a perfect fit alongside Sengun. The floor spacer who can cover for his D. Now, it looks like Bari might be more of a help defender who’s optimized with a rim protector, and they both need touches on the low block— James Piercey (@JamesPiercey11) October 26, 2023
That’s not to say he can’t still be a really good defender, it just changes the way we have to look at it. Having a defender like Brooks helps nullify the opponent, we’ll just need Smith to hold his own for his individual matchups.
Sentiments that Amen Thompson isn’t ready
Amen certainly struggled with the speed of the NBA early on as he either lost his dribble or had the ball poked out on a handful of occasions. It’s to be expected for any rookie so it should be taken with a grain of salt. He looked more comfortable as the game went on and even though his shot struggled to fall, at least he didn’t shy away from taking those opportunities. I’m not sure I want him taking seven three-point attempts at this stage of his career, but he’ll learn when to pick his spots with more burn.
Despite his struggles, my main takeaway from this game is that he looks massive out there and I envision his agility will turn him into a plus help defender. I noticed his eyes darting everywhere when he was guarding off-ball. If he’s anything like his twin, Ausar (5 blocks in his first game), they’ll both make for some elite free safeties.
Sentiments that Dillon Brooks was the best player on the team
There’s no question that Brooks had a great game. He had Banchero and Wagner in check whenever he was on them and this was an ideal offensive performance from him. If he can keep making his threes AND also accept not being a high-volume shooter, he’s damn near perfect in his role.
He just can’t be the best player on the floor every night for Houston. Something has went terribly wrong if that trend keeps up.
“This was the worst game the team has played individually and collectively.”
This quote actually comes directly from Udoka. Technically he isn’t wrong, it’s just the sample size is as small as it could possibly be. If this was the worst possible scenario, it has to be all up from here, right?