Nearly halfway through the NBA season, the Houston Rockets are establishing some healthy habits that set them apart from others in the Wild West.
With 38 games in the books, the Houston Rockets find themselves on pace to win 56 games this season due largely to their thriving offense. Looking at the firepower on the team led by James Harden and Russell Westbrook, that should come as no surprise. Harden is following up his 36.1 points per game last season with a 37.7 scoring average thus far while Russ is tallying 24.6, 7.7 rebounds and 7.0 assists per contest.
The scary part for the rest of the league is how successful the Rockets have been despite integrating a new piece as big as Westbrook into the lineup. His ability to push the ball, attack the basket and find open guys has made Houston’s offense more dynamic than it ever has been, making them less predictable than in seasons past.
Here are four ways the Rockets are setting themselves apart from the rest of the Western Conference so far.
Pace of Play – 104.2 (1st in the West, 2nd in the NBA)
In today’s high-paced game, possessions are key. The Houston Rockets have been able to hover at or around the top of this key category by averaging 104.2 possessions per 48 minutes, which is only tenths of a point behind the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks.
Last season, Houston was near the bottom of the league in pace, averaging only 98.39 possessions per 48 minutes, which was 27th in the league. That statistic was one of Mike D’Antoni‘s biggest points of emphasis in the offseason along with defensive rebounding. Let’s just say when your team’s pace is struggling, adding Russell Westbrook to the mix is just about the best possible solution.
Throughout his career, The Brodie has been one of the best in the league at taking the ball down the court off a missed shot and making something happen quickly on the other end. At times, he can get a bit ahead of himself with his killer speed, but that’s a small price to pay for what he brings overall.
Next: Efficient Offense