Houston Rockets Daily Rocket Science: Who is to blame?

Jan 4, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff talk in the fourth quarter against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 4, 2016; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff talk in the fourth quarter against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports /

One of the biggest arguments of this season has been over who is to blame for the Rockets’ dismal play.

Is it James Harden and his lackadaisical defense and lofty attitude? How about Dwight Howard and his silly antics and age? If not either of them, is it Josh Smith? (Do you even need a reason to blame that guy?) Coaching could be the answer if JB Bickerstaff isn’t living up to his potential.

In reality, it could be any combination of those issues or other ones not listed, but nobody knows exactly. The Houston Rockets face the might-win-70-games-but-are-still-under-the-radar San Antonio Spurs tonight, so whoever is to blame should do us all a favor and stop whatever they’re doing and allow the team to succeed.

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Speaking of the magic “who is to blame?” question, Joshua Van Horn of Space City Scoop answered it as well as anybody could this season. Over a series of five pages, he analytically assessed most of the potentials that could be holding the Rockets down this year. Maybe the biggest thing holding them down though, is the fact that they don’t know what’s holding them down?

For one, in firing McHale while retaining his coaching staff, there wasn’t much of a change in coaching for the Rockets. Secondly, problems produced by poor coaching are resolved not by firing the inept coach, but by hiring a coach with a proven track record.

The only way the Rockets can know whether or not some of their problems are due to bad coaching is by hiring a coach who has had success around the league. If the Rockets have a coaching problem, an able coach would be able to solve some of the Rockets’ issues.

One Houston issue that’s been circulating the sports media world lately is the claim that Harden requested that McHale be fired as well as pushed for Dwight to be traded. That kind of power would obviously cause issues on a team (if you can pass to the guy who can’t get you traded or the guy who can get you traded, you’re going to pass to the latter). However, according to Mike Chiari of Bleacher Report, the CEO of Rockets is not only not confirming whether those claims are true, but claiming that it is entirely false. Check out the CEO’s quote on the matter:

"I can tell you unequivocally, being part of that (front-office) team, those things have never happened. That’s frustrating, and, for whatever reason, it’s been a constant throughout this season. As we struggle and as we continue to struggle a little bit on the court, trying to get things to where we want them to be, that people have continued to take shots at our guys, take shots at our team, with unnamed sources being the ones who routinely provide that information."

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It’s also been a discussion point this season that Howard may be at fault, being unhappy in Houston and wanting more shots and more spotlight. Dwight denounced all of that talk himself, but that didn’t stop many people from believing that this season is his fault. Now, according to Bleacher Report’s Daniel Kramer, D12 announced that he has parted ways with his agent, Dan Fegan. It is still up in the air as to what he wants this summer to look like from a contract point of view, but he does not want Fegan in the picture. The quote from the big man is as follows:

"As I continue to embark on my   journey, I have decided to sever my relationship with Dan Fegan and Relativity Sports. I have the utmost respect for Dan, but this is the right decision for me. My sole focus remains working with my teammates to position the Rockets for a pursuit of a championship. I wish Dan and the team at Relativity all the best in the future.  NBA"

One of the reasons that this season has been so frustrating for Houston fans is that we don’t know who to peg down as the scapegoat. We all have a tendency to put the blame on something or someone else when things go wrong, but sometimes (like right now for the Houston Rockets), it’s necessary to admit that we may just not be getting the job done. Let’s hope that changes, starting now.

Send our Editor any Rockets-related article/video/tweet/gram/vine that we may have missed via Twitter direct message to @TTOTambz.

Next: Can Dwight Howard and James Harden Get It Together?

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