The Houston Rockets roster just took a step in the right direction in the wake of their 4 consecutive losses which marks the team’s longest losing streak since January 2013. Immediately after the Boston Celtics defeat the team had a ‘players-only’ meeting to address the problems and issues that have resulted in their disappointing start of the season.
Kevin McHale’s team is currently the second to last team allowing more points off turnovers (20.5). In the game versus Boston (Monday), the Rockets conceded almost twice as many: 39.
Although easy to detect the team’s real problem: defense, it’s their lack of effort, energy and general indifference from the players in recent games that is drawing particular attention and ire from the fans.
Some would say coach Kevin McHale is lost and that is possible as he’s indeed showing signs of desperation, trying to mix and match, looking for answers he cannot find. Against the Celtics, Marcus Thornton was inexplicably benched for the first 3 quarters. McHale later, after the embarrassing defeat addressed the media, calling for a change of the back court and overall attitude.
As Calvin Watkins of ESPN wisely puts it’s one thing to coach strategy, it’s a another trying to coach effort.
What could possibly be considered as an even more surprising case is the fact the meeting was called by one of the most criticized players presently on the roster: Point Guard Ty Lawson.
Ty Lawson said Rockets had the players only meeting he wanted. Called it productive.
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) November 17, 2015
Despite having McHale’s full confidence for the first 11 games of the season, Ty Lawson has been playing dreadfully. Unable to produce or create opportunities on the offensive end, the floor general is suffering to integrate himself to the Rockets system.
Most fans and analysts believe Patrick Beverley should once again become the team’s starting guard with Lawson leading a second unit as a sixth man.
In reality, the main problem of sharing the ball with James Harden has been an issue and though it’s easy to contend that Harden hasn’t been fully reliable himself, he remains the team’s star and face. Here is a look at players reaction and comments regarding the talks:
"“ ” – James Harden It was a good talk. We hadn’t communicated like that since the season been going. Now, it’s about carrying over."
"“ .” – Ty Lawson No matter what the coaches say we need to do. We need to be on the same page. For the most part, I think we got everything in order"
All comments and remarks surely seemed optimistic calling for a change in attitude, though many critics have been especially worried with Lawson’s following note:
"“ .” – Ty Lawson Coaches’ say, ‘run this pick-and-roll coverage.’ We were calling something totally different"
Now, that’s an incredibly troublesome statement. Lawson is deliberately saying the players were “doing their own thing” with no regards to the coaches opinion and calls.
That in itself should’ve become something much more carefully evaluated. We all know players in the NBA have a very high level of freedom on the court, calling their own plays, having a say on final possessions and sometimes even drawing plays etc. Nevertheless, Ty is admitting to doing that in a struggling team that has been suffering with a lot of consecutive losses.
There is absolutely no way for the Rockets team to get back on track without listening to their coaches, Kevin McHale and J.B. Bickerstaff. We can only hope that the team meeting has a positive outcome for the remainder of the Rockets season.
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The improvements will need to go through an orchestrated effort from the staff and the roster. Listening and hard-work are key.
Monday night it was clear: the team is completely giving up midway through the game when things are not working out. That’s not how the Rockets will get back to their winning ways. What the Houston Rockets might need right now is a good injection of energy and intensity, a spark that might come from the youngsters but must be fueled by the team’s veterans. Some of what we saw against the Celtics in the fourth quarter.
As a Houston Rockets fan I implore the team: could anyone please show some effort and interest?
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