Should Russell Westbrook and the Houston Rockets be worried?

Houston Rockets Guard Russell Westbrook (0) looks on during a NBA game between the Houston Rockets (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Guard Russell Westbrook (0) looks on during a NBA game between the Houston Rockets (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook said he’s not worried about the Rockets’ losing streak, as it’s still very early in the season. Here’s why the Rockets should actually be concerned!

For the Houston Rockets, the results of the Russell Westbrook experiment have been mixed. At one point the Rockets were on a winning streak, as they won eight consecutive games but then quickly reversed their successes by losing three straight. Westbrook is on pace for his lowest scoring season in the last five years, which was to be expected playing alongside James Harden. Westbrook is also on pace for his lowest assist totals since the 2013-14 season as well, and is shooting his lowest 3-point percentage since the 2009-10 season.

Despite losing to each of the last three perennial playoff contenders the Rockets have faced, the Rockets’ newcomer said he’s not concerned, courtesy of Mark Berman of Fox 26 News.

Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) says it’s too early to be concerned about the #Rockets losing three straight: “Definitely, I’m not worried one bit. I’ll tell you right now, honestly I’m encouraged.”

— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) November 24, 2019

What else did you expect Russ to say? It’s not like he would have publicly said he’s worried or that the team should be worried. Westbrook is in his 12th year in the league, and knows as a veteran to never seep anything out to the media, even if he was concerned.

But the bigger picture is the fact that the Rockets should be concerned. As mentioned, the Rockets actually dropped games against each of their last three legitimate Western Conference contenders, which is a far cry from a team that was expecting to benefit from the Golden State Warriors’ injury woes this season. The Rockets are shooting a lower percentage from the field, from 3-point range and from the free throw line from just last year. Not only that, but the Rockets have also had more turnovers than last year as well, which is not a recipe for success.

The Rockets lost by double digits against the Denver Nuggets and the Dallas Mavericks, and are averaging 15 turnovers over the course of the last three games.

The Rockets are also shooting 29.5 percent from 3-point land during that span, which makes it even less surprising that they’ve lost each of those games. Not just that, the Rockets have been unable to finish games as they’ve collapsed down the stretch during each of the last three games. To add some color to that, the Rockets have been outscored 97-85 in the fourth quarter over the course of their last three losses, which is also concerning.

Next up on the schedule is the Miami Heat, who the Rockets proved to be no match for during their November 3rd match against them. The Heat obliterated the Rockets 129-100, and got out to a hot start, as the Heat were up 46-14 after only the first quarter!

To Westbrook’s credit, it is early in the season, but there are several causes for concern for the Rockets. Although the Rockets did win eight consecutive games, their first four victories came against the Memphis Grizzlies, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls, and the New Orleans Pelicans, who are all unlikely to make the playoffs.

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Hopefully the Rockets will be able to get these issues corrected, because they’ve not fared well against contenders in the West, which is concerning, contrary to Westbrook’s take.