The Houston Rockets are off to a slow start at 1-2. While it is still early, there are a few things that have been big issues in the losses, including rebounding.
The Houston Rockets have been slow to mesh with each other in the first three games of the year. That shows in their 1-2 record and apparent issues with the team.
Is it way too early to be worried about an issue the Rockets have? Of course. However, it isn’t too early to discuss them and ways they can be better in those areas. One of those main issues so far is rebounding.
This problem was highlighted at the end of the game last night when it took the Rockets far too long to secure the rebound in the final minute of the game, giving up several offensive rebounds in the process. This eventually led to the team losing by just three points.
Let’s take a look at the rebounding problem:
Last year, the Rockets were an above-average tenth in the league in defensive rebounding. They were pretty good on the glass, despite taking advantage of small ball opportunities quite a bit. Clint Capela led the way, averaging 10.8 boards per game. The team had four more players average over 5 rebounds a night as well.
The sample size is obviously super low at just three games this season, but the rebounding numbers have been significant. Capela is averaging just 7 of them a game so far and P.J. Tucker is down from 5.6 to 3.7 per night.
The one positive on the glass, though, has been Carmelo Anthony. His shot has been bad as he is continuing to learn his place in the system, but his rebounding has been a solid addition. He is averaging 6 boards a game in the first three and had a 10-rebound performance against the Lakers.
In the first blowout loss to the Pelicans, the Rockets were outrebounded 54-29. The second game that they won against the Lakers, the Rockets won the rebounding battle 54-44. However, they lost in the third game and also lost in total rebounds 35-49, including allowing 12 of them on the offensive glass.
The Rockets must be a better rebounding team if they want to be a top-tier contender in the Western Conference. Allowing 12 offensive boards in unacceptable and just flat-out cannot happen. It starts with Capela and Tucker, the best two rebounders on the team. They need to be more active in their area, especially when the team goes small with Tucker at the center. We’ve seen P.J. excel in that position, let’s hope he can get back to that.
The Rockets play the Jazz on Wednesday, once again without Chris Paul as he is suspended. If they give a similar rebounding effort, then Rudy Gobert is going to absolutely dominate and it could get ugly.