Currently the ninth seed in the west the Houston Rockets are facing a trying time in the James Harden era.
The questions sorrounding this team started very early this season and continues to linger.
So where did it start?
Coming in to this season James Harden was beleived to have not been in basketball shape as he comes off a season that had people bidding him for a MVP award.
With Harden out of shape the Rockets were in all sorts of trouble, they were losing too many games, too quickly and someone had to take the blame.
Dwight Howard has been a shell of himself since departing Orlando. While I’ll admit that he has had some nagging injuries that have held him back (no pun intended) he still is yet to be a focal of any offense or assert himself into the game at times.
The Rockets have some young talent coming through in Capela who provides them with a great toughness and potential. However, the team has a striking contrast of older veteran players who are not even close to what they use to be.
So with all this going the Rockets took one look at this situation and decided that firing Coach Kevin McHale was the answer to this problem. Sadly, McHale got the wrong end of the stick here as everyone was left wondering what this would do to improve Houstons current issue.
In the Western Conference there is really no time to be “out of shape” and in between young players mixed with aging veterans there is a bigger problem arising.
James Harden is their best offensive player and that is a one sided debate. However it has become a constant problem within the team and how they play. When the ball is moving and the Rockets utilise the best shot, it looks very good. Then theres the James Harden effect, which involves James Harden isolation ball taking a contested shot.
This type of basketball cannot be played in todays NBA. There is a difference between taking over a game and taking over the ball. In Hardens case, the team is usually to far behind for him to be effective to take over a game.
The Rockets have looked promising over the last couple of years but where are they going?
How long can they sustain a playoff run with their current system?
As trade rumours swirl for Dwight Howard and talks of team chemistry being at an all time low, I just dont see this going anywhere anytime soon.
Do they need to start looking at adding and subtracting, perhaps developing some stability throughout the season. Whichever it is, as a team in the West its not getting easier and if you’re not a top 4 seeded team, your not taken seriously if you want to acheive the main goal and playing catch up is not an option.