Houston Rockets Daily Rocket Science: A drastic difference

Feb 27, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) during the game against the San Antonio Spurs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 27, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) during the game against the San Antonio Spurs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

The contrast between James Harden’s great stats and the Rockets’ poor record could be cause for worry.

Despite the Houston Rockets‘ so-so record (30-31), James Harden has one of the most impressive stat lines in the NBA. He sits at second in the league in points per game, seventh at assists per game, and leads all shooting guards in rebounds per game. He is tied with Steph Curry for the most 40 point games this season, and has one of the few 50 point outings this year.

If his team were doing as well as expected, he’d be right in the middle of the MVP conversation. I mean, the guy absolutely carries the team on a nightly basis. But, as it should be, he’s fallen from the status he had last year. Still an absolute superstar, and one of the top 5 players in the league if you ask me, but not quite considered as formidable an opponent as he was last season.

Houston Rockets news and notes from around the web

Despite all that concrete evidence of superstardom, Ethan Skolnick of CBS Sports has the audacity to challenge the Beard’s status. Okay, I’m a little biased, but still–I feel as if it shouldn’t be a discussion. He argues that the Rockets not making the playoffs would be enough to push him down to the 2nd level of NBA stars. I think that Harden has proven himself enough to be considered a superstar by any point of evaluation (nobody questioned Westbrook‘s superstar status when his Thunder didn’t make the playoffs last year), but go watch the video and hear him out just to be informed.

For the next article, I won’t be discussing anybody on the Rockets. I just felt that it’s necessary and useful for Houston fans to be up to date on the new home for Ty Lawson. According to Sekou Smith of NBA.com, the point guard has agreed to a contract with the Indiana Pacers after having discussions with the New York Knicks. Lawson is in the middle of the worst year of his career, averaging just 5.8 points and 3.4 assists per game.

The seven-year veteran point guard played in 53 games with the Rockets this season, including 12 starts. But he never really fit in with James Harden and gave way to Patrick Beverley in the starting unit.

Lawson gives the Pacers added depth in the backcourt behind George Hill and Monta Ellis.

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There are a lot of reasons why the Rockets won’t win a championship this year: poor defense, the San Antonio Spurs, lots of turnovers, the Dwight Howard situation, and the Golden State Warriors just to name a few. In Josh Martin’s Bleacher Report article, however, he has another opinion: the Rockets won’t win because of Michael Beasley. Though that’s an interesting and probably not too accurate assessment, it makes sense that the new signing can work for a representation of the whole season: a decision for the future when the team should be putting themselves in a position to win now.

Yao, though, was a stud whose NBA career was undone by foot injuries. Beasley, on the other hand, is a journeyman better known for off-court transgressions and being the No. 2 pick behind Derrick Rose in 2008 than anything he’s accomplished in uniform.

In that case, he may be just what the Rockets’ soap opera needs: Another wild card.

Or not.

The next two games on the Rockets’ schedule are packaged together in a back-to-back of East-West match-ups, playing the Chicago Bulls tomorrow and then the Toronto Raptors the next day. The team is more familiar this season with the sub-.500 placement, but a couple of wins this weekend and they’ll be back above the mark. With new additions in Michael Beasley and Andrew Goudelock, both games should be interesting to see. Hey, maybe one of them turns out to be the missing piece. Sure it’s a long shot, but a guy can dream, right?

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Next: Appreciating James Harden

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