While the Rockets are much improved from last season, they still have some work to do if they want to be truly great.
Last year, the Houston Rockets were the third seed in the Western Conference. While they had one of the best offenses of all time, they still had some weaknesses. Even with the additions the team made this summer, they still will need to improve if they want to have a chance at a championship.
The Rockets, while they have an incredible offense that got even better with the addition of Chris Paul, still lack in defensive rebounding. Clint Capela and Nene Hilario are a solid duo on both ends of the court, but the team has not had good rebounding from the power forward position for years (looking at you last year, Ryan Anderson). As a result, the Rockets are a middle of the pack team on the defensive boards.
However, the Rockets are a pretty good offensive rebounding team. Last year, they ranked in the top 10 at 10.9 ORB per game. Clint Capela accounted for 2.9 of these per game and was great at offensive rebounding.
Another huge, and I mean very huge, area that the Rockets lack in is rim protection. In shots from less than 3 feet from the basket, opponents of the Rockets shot 68.9%. This number was the worst out of any team in the league. This stat is incredible, as the Rockets were in the top part of the league defensively in every other distance as far as field goal percentage goes. Capela and Nene need to improve their shot blocking and rim protection in general. Will they be able to do that this year?
Defensively, the Rockets still have to improve. However, the team got better by bringing in players Luc Mbah a Moute and P.J. Tucker. They also traded for Chris Paul, a much better off ball defender than Patrick Beverley. So overall, the defense of the Rockets should be able to improve from 18th overall to a top 10 one. Clint Capela should show even more growth on the defensive end this season.
Capela in the Africa Game
Speaking of Clint, be sure to wish him luck as he heads off to the NBA Africa Game.
We will post a full update on how him and Mbah a Moute play whenever the game is over.
*All stats via Basketball-Reference*