The Rockets have been presented with many learning opportunities this season and can use them to improve for next year.
That may sound like a nice way of buttering up a bad year, and that’s because it is. In reality, the Houston Rockets played terribly for the majority of the 2015-2016, and it’s hard to imagine next year faring any worse for them. However, the team does have a unique opportunity to correct mistakes that never should have taken place (signing Ty Lawson, etc.) and right wrongs that nobody thought would exist (firing Kevin McHale, etc.).
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The first three lessons that can be learned are ones that should’ve been learned before game 5 of the series against the Golden State Warriors. As Space City Scoop’s Andre Cantalogo opined, there were three primary things to take away from Houston’s elimination from the 2016 playoffs.
If anything this series against the Golden State Warriors showed fans and critics alike how far removed from being a contender Clutch City really is.
The Texan team needs discipline, stronger leadership – starting with the bench – but most of all they need depth. The dubs had role players that could take care of the deal every night. And if you take a closer look apart from maybe Andre Iguodala none of them are really one of a kind players. They are hard-working dutiful players that benefit from a strong system and game plan, like Ian Clark.
Perhaps the biggest learning opportunity from this season came from having a rookie head coach leading a team full of egos and poor attitudes. For the Rockets to be successful, they have to be led by a coach who has experience in dealing with the aloofness of players like James Harden and the moodiness of players like Dwight Howard. That being said, Houston is planning to interview David Blatt for the head coach position, as reported by Chuck Myron of HoopsRumors.com. After being fired partway through the season, (a decision that I’m sure Lebron James influenced) I’m not so sure that he knows much more about dealing with egos than JB Bickerstaff does.
"The Rockets are expected to interview , writes , who hears from a source who says Blatt is still in the mix for the Knicks head coaching position. Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported late Sunday that Blatt has an , the other NBA team looking for a head coach. The Lakers had reportedly Blatt before they instead moved quickly to hire . David Blatt Marc Berman of the New York Post interview scheduled with the Kings planned to interview Luke Walton"
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The last lesson that we’ll discuss today is the lesson that sometimes things just don’t make sense. In the second part of Red94’s Rahat Huq asking what went wrong this season, he reported on how confusing it was to look at this year’s most productive lineups. For a guy whose numbers have been down all year, Corey Brewer was a part of the Rockets’ most productive lineup this season.
"Houston’s best five-man lineup this year featured Ariza/Beverley/Brewer/Capela/Harden, posting a +28.1 net rating in 74 minutes played. Last year, the team’s best quintet was Ariza/Brewer/Howard/Prigioni/Smith, which posted a +40.0 in just over 41 minutes of play. I’m as surprised as you are that Brewer made his way into the most effective five-man this season."
The thing that I’ve been saying recently is that I hope this season was the fluke and not last season. I’m hoping that, with a few key changes in personnel and attitude, the Rockets can go back to being a great team next season. That way, the woes of this year can be happily forgotten.
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