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Houston Rockets: Five Realistic Options To Improve Immediately

By Andre Cantalogo
6 of 6

Jan 23, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) and center Dwight Howard (12) in the first quarter against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

1 – James Harden and Dwight Howard Must Take Charge As Leaders

There’s absolutely no reason why a team with two top 20 players in the NBA should suffer like the Rockets are suffering right now. The team is currently misguided on and off the court lacking leadership, effort and intensity.

Those should all come first from Dwight Howard and James Harden. Yes the load is on their shoulder, yes they must take responsibility for the Rockets poor form and record. It’s part of the reason they make the big bucks. Yes partly for their production, but partly to lead the team around them and make them better.

Harden and Dwight must make sacrifices for the team, set the example, play on back-to-back games whenever necessary, take care of themselves to avoid injuries.

Those are all attitude changes, however on the court here’s two suggestions for Houston’s star players:

Use Howard as an Offensive Weapon – 

After Sunday game against the Knicks, it remains to be seen whether Dwight Howard can recover from his offensive slump, nevertheless the Rockets can’t give up this irresistible force of nature.

Despite everything, Howard remains an amazing athlete and the Rockets should try to use his strength and speed to score in bunches.

Right now Howard has a field goal average of 58.7% (his worst as a Rocket), but is only attempting 9 shots per game. The last time he attempted so few shots was in his rookie season when he averaged 8.3 shot attempts per game. Part of the key for the Rockets’ growth will be Howard contributing on offense.

James Harden must become a Team Player Rather than a One-Man Show – 

As  entertaining as it is seeing James Harden dropping 40 or 50 points once every two games, it doesn’t translate into automatic wins anymore. But what some people are actually perceiving is the only way for the Rockets can grab wins this year, may instead be hurting the team more than helping the cause.

In case you want a more detailed breakdown you can read our editor’s Tamberlyn Richardson article on SCS where she debates that James Harden over utilization is actually part of a flawed system.

The Beard must focus on helping his team out in other ways, Sunday night against the Knicks for example he insisted on firing shots when they were clearly not dropping and almost cost the Rockets the game in the process.

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Harden must understand there are capable players around him. He should be looking to integrate his teammates on offense not exclude them by trying to take the game on all by himself.Perceiving that your teammate is hot and using your technique to facilitate plays is part of the star’s maturation process.

A great example of a player that went through this process is LeBron James, however when he fixed that problem he started winning championships.

It’s not how many assists you get but the quality of plays you run that makes you a facilitator for the team. It’s not just lobs to Dwight, but passes to the open corner, drives to the basket to open defenses, etc.

If James Harden understands that, then he too might take the Rockets to a title, but that’s still a big if. Ultimately Harden needs to TRUST his teammates.

Next: NBA Sideline Chirps

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