The Houston Rockets have needed a defensive minded wing the entire season, and they’re confident they can trade for one before Feb. 07.
The Houston Rockets’ recent loss against the undermanned New Orleans Pelicans exposed some of their biggest weaknesses.
When our offense is humming, it’s still just as potent as ever, but the Rockets can’t shut down opponents consistently anymore. Losing both Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute hurt in the offseason. The “switch everything” defense doesn’t work without a few long, stout defenders, it just creates mismatches.
Speaking of mismatches, our current lineup is out sized even when the Rockets are matched up with their correct positions. Starting three guards means that the opponent’s small forward almost always has a size advantage. Even with most teams playing small nowadays, P.J. Tucker, who is only 6-foot-6, is usually shorter than the opponent’s starting power forward. And with Clint Capela out, Kenneth Faried, a natural power forward, is giving up a lot of size down low.
At the time of this writing, the Rockets have the league’s fourth worst defense, ranking lower than Atlanta, Orlando and even Chicago. Furthermore, the Rockets also rank fourth in rebounds per game and are the second worst defensive rebounding team in the league. Lastly, the Rockets are giving up the most points in the paint per game in the NBA.
The point of switching on the pick and roll is to stop the ball handler from having an easy lane to penetrate the defense. But the Rockets are essentially hosting a layup line game in and game out because their guards and wings can’t keep their opponents in front of them.
Fortunately, the front office is looking to add a defensive player before the trade deadline on Feb 07. According to the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen, the Rockets are looking for a defensive-minded forward that can shoot the outside shot, but also help with rebounding, and they’re confident they can strike some sort of deal before the deadline.
Feigen said that Houston could be interested in Memphis’ JaMychal Green, a 6-foot-9 power forward who is shooting 38.7 percent from 3-point range and is averaging 6.4 rebounds this season.
The Rockets also still have an open roster spot after they cut James Nunnally and traded away Carmelo Anthony in order to sign Kenneth Faried. They could potentially trade for a player like Green and sign someone similar to Daniel House Jr. in the next couple of weeks, which would make this a much deeper team.