The Houston Rockets have a big problem with bench scoring so far this season. How can this issue be solved for the rest of the year?
The Houston Rockets have looked good in almost all of the month of November until recently. They have now lost two games in a row to Eastern Conference foes, the Pistons and the Cavaliers.
The main issue in these games, even the wins, is the lack of bench scoring from the Rockets. There are many reasons for this, mostly stemming from the struggles of Eric Gordon. He is shooting 33.6% overall and just 26.2% from 3. Those are unacceptable numbers from a guy who has been a finalist for Sixth Man of the Year two years in a row, including winning it two years ago.
The Rockets currently rank last in bench scoring by a considerable margin, at 26.7 points per game (next closest is 31.3). While that’s not too different from last season (29.5), last year’s bench shot 42.7% from the field as opposed to this year’s at 38.1%.
Let’s look at a few ways that the bench scoring can improve this season, as it is a necessity if the Rockets want to reach their lofty goals this season.
Hope the current players improve
One thing the Rockets can do is continue to trust the guys that they currently have on the roster. Eric Gordon had a great and efficient game last night while starting for Chris Paul. If he continues that production off the bench, the team will be just fine.
Gerald Green is another guy that needs to step up, or he’ll lose minutes. His scoring is nearly half of what it was last year, down from 12.1 points a night to 6.8. His shooting numbers are down all around, as well. If he isn’t making his shots, his defense is too poor to justify giving him minutes.
Brandon Knight is hopefully returning soon to the Rockets. He can be a weapon off the bench when healthy, so maybe he can step in and take some minutes away from unproductive guys if he is scoring at a high rate.
Pursue some trades
Daryl Morey is always active in the trade market, especially around the deadline. It’s possible that with this bench scoring dilemma, the Rockets might need to dip into the market a little bit earlier than expected.
Finding a solid wing that can stretch the floor and bring some scoring to the team off the bench might be the way to go. Someone like Kent Bazemore who can also play defense would be nice, while others like Kyle Korver could be a potential backup option. He certainly torched Houston last night.
The Rockets still have the taxpayer’s MLE sitting in their pocket ready for the buyout market. Some players from bad teams might end up being bought out, and the Rockets should be ready to take advantage of that.
Trevor Ariza is a popular name of someone who could return in the buyout season. After leaving this offseason to take a $15 million contract with the Suns (I certainly don’t blame him), he could find his way back to the Rockets soon.
Other players the Rockets would be looking at would be a backup center that can rebound at a high rate. The scoring part is obviously important, but the Rockets have also struggled on the glass big time. That’s another article waiting to happen, though.
Let’s hope the Rockets can improve their bench and get back to their winning ways soon, starting against the Wizards tomorrow.