6. Rockets’ defense
When the Houston Rockets decided to go small, many basketball experts expected them to take a step back defensively, which was a questionable assumption. Just because they gave up size on the frontline doesn’t necessarily mean their defense regressed.
Especially with P.J. Tucker, who is known for his defense, not to mention Robert Covington, who has previously been named to the All-Defensive team. Any basketball follower should know that pairing up two stellar defenders would be a problem for the rest of the league, and Perkins has noticed the same.
“I’ve been more impressed by the Rockets defense. Ever since [they got rid of their] center, their perimeter defense has gone up a notch. And I love Robert Covington and PJ Tucker..”
The benefit of Tucker and Covington is that they are accustomed to defending forwards, but they are built in such a way that they can also defend bigs. Covington is 6-foot-9 but has a 7-2 wingspan, which allows him to defend opposing bigs. Tucker has a wingspan of 7-feet, which more than makes up for his 6-foot-5 frame.
On top of that, Tucker is stocky, as he weighs 245 pounds, which allows him to battle big men in the post. On top of that, James Harden is one of the top-15 post defenders in the league (by the numbers), so the whole idea that the Rockets regressed defensively because of the departure of Capela is asinine. Fortunately Perkins has taken notice.
Next: Russ at the rim