One main part of the disappointing start for the Houston Rockets has been the play of a former Rookie of the Year.
The Houston Rockets are off to a 1-4 start to the season, one of their worst in recent history. The players that are new this year are not meshing well early on, and that includes the disappointing Michael Carter-Williams.
MCW was one of the first signings of the offseason for the Rockets and he joined on a veteran’s minimum deal. The defensive potential and playmaking abilities were one of the main reasons why Daryl Morey and Co. were excited to sign him.
It hasn’t quite worked that way, unfortunately. MCW has been a negative on the court, especially on offense. Let’s look at why that’s the case.
Out of the 409 players that have played an NBA game so far this year, Michael Carter-Williams ranks 394th in offensive win shares and 397th in defensive win shares. In other words, he’s been really bad.
In more traditional stats, Carter-Williams is shooting just 35.5% from the field, 25% from downtown. He’s also missing free throws, shooting just 50% from the line as a guard/forward. We knew he wasn’t going to be lighting it up from the field, but he wasn’t supposed to be this bad.
On offense, teams are able to shut down units with MCW in them. They can sag off and dare him to shoot the 3, clogging up the paint and focusing more on more dangerous players on that end (which is pretty much everyone). Playing him with Chris Paul has been his worst two-man combo, as the opponents outscore the Rockets by 40.5 per 100 possessions with both of them together. Paul is the main leader of the second unit, so that is an unacceptable number.
Defensively, he’s getting beat all over the place. That was MCW’s main selling point, his ability to play decent defense and run the floor. He’s done neither of those and, as we noted earlier, has been one of the worst defenders in the NBA through the first five games.
Yes, it’s been just five games. It’s tough to tell how a player will fit in with a new team whenever they have just played five games for them. But MCW was a sketchy fit from the start with his inability to shoot, and his performances have proven those concerns right. I have to wonder how long he’ll last with the team if he continues to look this bad.