Listening to James Harden makes you think that the Houston Rockets actually got better by losing Omer Asik, Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons in this free agency period. Looking over their roster while ignoring his not so wise words, you see that the truth is completely different.
So far, although there is still time to make some moves, included some highly recommended ones (like signing Shawn Marion), it’s hard to shake the feeling that the Rockets got weaker. Yes, they have Harden and Dwight Howard as two All-Stars and maybe even franchise players each team would love to have, but they’re kind of thin around the edges, with the same problems they had last season as they bowed out of the playoffs in the first round.
Dwight Howard and I are the cornerstones of the Rockets. The rest of the guys are role players or pieces that complete our team. We’ve lost some pieces and added some pieces. I think we’ll be fine next season.
Harden can put up big numbers. He’s a 25-5-5 kind of guy since leaving the Thunder to get a leading role with the Houston Rockets. Dwight Howard might not be the defensive menace he used to be with the Orlando Magic, but he’s still an almost automatic 20-10 kind of player who has improved on the free throw line and generally seem happy. Yet all of that wasn’t enough last season. So why should a weaker supporting staff be enough this season?
One of the issues Harden and the duo of Kevin McHale and Daryl Morey fail to realize is Harden’s ability. Yes he can score, but he also hurts the team in so many other ways. His selfishness and lack of defense have become notorious during last season and especially during the first few games of the series against the Blazers. It hasn’t made him change his game, and I wonder if anyone within the organization has actually tried to make him change his ways.
The defense is probably a bit better with Ariza arriving, but the Rockets have a weak bench, no backup point guard and actually no real point guard whatsoever, while Daryl Morey is still looking for that ideal power forward he tried so hard to sign or trade for last season. The real way for the Rockets to improve is from within. Is for their star player to change his ways. Is for Morey to actually show he’s the ‘moneyball’ GM many think of him as. But from what we’ve seen up to this point from Harden, he’s not too open to changes. He likes being the guy, even if it’s one of the reasons the Rockets have been underachieving.