Houston Rockets: Defense Is Key To Playoff Berth

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Rockets are ranked as the number one offense in the NBA as of right now. They’re averaging 105.8 points a game. But they’re also at the bottom of the league defensively, sitting at 29th and giving up an average of 103.5 points a game.

If you look at them offensively they don’t have many flaws. If you want to get picky you could say they need a big man who can score in the post. And you can say they need another star to pair with James Harden. Those things are true, but the biggest thing holding the Rockets back from being one of the top teams in the league is their defense.

They are being compared to the Phoenix Suns and the Golden State Warriors of the late 2000’s, which is a fair comparison. Those two teams were great offensively and completely terrible defensively. But how do the Rockets get better defensively on the fly?

Outside of Omer Asik and Chandler Parsons the Rockets are terrible defensively. Marcus Morris has shown flashes of good defense but struggles with guys who are just flat out bigger and stronger than him. Greg Smith has also shown flashes, but along with Morris they are both still very young and need more time to develop defensively.

Let me make this clear. Jeremy Lin is a bad defender. I understand that he averages 1.8 steals a game, which is one of the best in the league, but outside of that he’s awful. He gets beat off the dribble, can’t stay in front of his man and can’t fight through picks. Most of his steals come after he gets beat and throws his hand out to block a pass.

James Harden is not much better than Lin. He struggles with the same things. He also averages 1.8 steals a game but gets killed by most opponents he goes against, just like Lin.

To disguise the backcourt problems defensively the Rockets need to rely on the frontcourt and the bench to get stops. Lin and Harden’s struggles defensively are one reason why the Rockets cut Daequan Cook and Signed James Anderson. Anderson is a much better defender than any of those guys. Toney Douglas is not bad defensively, but he is also more focused on his offensive game.

The Rockets need better defensive help off the bench and in the starting lineup. An upgrade at power forward is most likely coming, and hopefully he brings defense with him, whoever he is. Asik and Parsons can’t do it all by themselves. Without defensive help this team could fizzle out quickly, even if they do make the playoffs.

Topics: Houston Rockets, NBA

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  • http://twitter.com/houstontee Latoya

    The Rockets has blown out those really good defensive team like, Bulls, Kicks, Grizzly etc . to your comparison, so these team are bad defense too?. If the Rocket has a losing record, then if ok you write this..but the rockets have a winning record, so that mean you have no idea what you are talking about. Its all about the W’s. I think you just base on stat, not even watch a Rockets game. This Rockets team is the youngest and almost everybody first year as starter,how they play so far very terrific ,great, awesome ,etc. Just wait few more months and what you said today, might make you a fool that dont know nothing.

    • Kyle Adams

      You sound like a complete fool, not me. You sound like a person who knows very little about basketball in fact. Saying it would only be ok to write this if they were losing? That’s completely ignorant. Yes, they are winning. But have you seen them play again the best in the west like the Thunder and the Spurs? They get completely outplayed and it’s because of their defensive liabilities. They are literally the second worst defense in the league as of now. So my concern is perfectly legitimate. Do you watch the games? Do you see how Asik and Parsons have to clean up Lin and Harden’s mess when their guys blow passed them? I guess not. And if they are better defensively in a few months it wont make me a fool because of speaking of their defense right now, not in the future. So before you call me a fool again look in the mirror and look at the definition of an ignorant fool.

  • http://twitter.com/houstontee Latoya

    Let me make this clear. Jeremy Lin is a bad defender. I
    understand that he averages 1.8 steals a game, which is one of the best
    in the league, but outside of that he’s awful.

    PLEASE FIND A NEW JOB, YOU DONT KNOW WHAT THE HELL YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. I BET YOU NEVER SEEN A ROCKETS GAME,AND BASE YOUR THOUGHT ON STATS. IF I WERE YOU, I STOP HATING AND LEARN MORE FACT BEFORE SAYING WHAT YOU DONT KNOW.

    • Kyle Adams

      Actually, i have watched literally every Rockets game. And yes, i do look at the stat sheets as well. And yes, i played high school basketball as a point guard and played against guys like Daniel Gibson. Jeremy Lin is a REALLY bad defender. Dont believe me? Look up the stats of his opponent on a game by game basis. He makes guys like Greivis Vazquez look like a superstar. He gets beat easily off the dribble. Most of his steals come from getting beat and making a last effort of snatching the ball away. Sometimes it’s going to work. He gets beat so many times a game it’s incredible. So before you insult me again, if you don’t like what you see from a guy who knows what he is talking about i suggest you go read up the latest stat boy Bleacher Report posts.

  • charlie

    Terrible writer with a terrible attitude. The Rockets were expected to be a lottery team. You can’t expect a team that young to be performing this well. Asik has his weaknesses, but considering, he is doing a stellar job at the moment. He will be a star center in the years to come.

    Jeremy Lin isn’t doing that bad a job considering the very few games he has started. Shows some flashes of brilliance from time to time, a much improved game in DEC onwards.

    The Rockets are a talent rich team which will thrive in years to come. They just need to sign up a talented PF and they will be a a serious championship contending team.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=716477380 Ric V. Avelino

    The Rockets were not defeated by the Celtics. They defeated themselves at the free throws, as simple as that. Jeremy Lin has 6 steals and 6 rebounds and 12 points and now zero turn over. Yes, JLin has never been perfect but who is? Right, the Rockets are in the winning trend but that is in the past and they just lose 2 consecutively. Clearly, however, the Rockets lost because of their misses at the free throw line. Jeremy Lin is a star not much because of his plays for he is still learning that he accepts and he is improving but he is a star for everybody talks about him. Highly by his fans and lowly with all the available blames by his haters. In fact, stories about him are the most read.