P.J. Tucker says that the Houston Rockets at full strength are the deepest team he’s ever been around or maybe even seen.
Earlier in the season, the Rockets played games with only seven or eight available players. The injuries seemed to be piling up and the coaching staff had to carefully manage the workload of the available players to make sure that they too didn’t suffer any injuries.
Those days are in the rear-view mirror.
Against Minnesota, Trevor Ariza will make his return after being out for about three weeks due to a hamstring injury. With the additions of Joe Johnson and Brandan Wright from the buyout market, the Rockets will face a new kind of problem. How will Mike D’Antoni distribute minutes among players and will he expand his normal rotation?
“It’s crazy. We’re so deep. Coach was talking about that. With that, what lineups do you play? There’s going to be some adjustment for that.”
“It’s about winning a championship right now. Twenty-five games left and then the playoffs. We just want to win a championship. That’s what matters the most right now.”
P.J. Tucker hasn’t been around a team like this
P.J. Tucker came to the Rockets for a shot at a championship. The forward feels confident in Houston’s chances, as he said that this is maybe the deepest team he’s seen, via Jonathan Feigen.
“This is the deepest team I’ve ever been on or maybe seen. It’s unbelievable. You look around from the days we had like seven players to where we are now, everybody healthy. I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s going to be a lot of sacrificing from a lot of guys. It’s going to be a little different.”
The Rockets hold the league’s best record for the first time in franchise history at the All-Star break. That is a startling fact, considering that this team has rarely been completely healthy since the start of the season.
They’re two things that make this specific Rockets teams different from past years. The first is their defensive mentality. Every great team needs a scrappy defensive stopper. The Warriors have Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, the Spurs have Kawhi Leonard, and now Houston has Luc Mbah a Moute and P.J. Tucker.
The Rockets finally have the depth to allow for multiple elite wing defenders on the floor at one time. That has allowed them to finish close, low scoring games.
The second is a lack of ego. In the past, the Rockets have had certain players complaining about a lack of touches in the post or the fact that they aren’t getting enough shots. This current squad is willing to look past individual statistics and focus on the win column instead.
That sort of unselfishness and leadership from the vets in the locker room sets the Rockets up to compete with anyone in the postseason.