4. ESPN predicts Rockets as team with most turmoil
Heading into the season, ESPN listed the Rockets as the team who would have the most turmoil, which seemed erroneous at the time. For starters, there wasn’t anything at that time to base this off of, as the Houston Rockets didn’t have any anticipated controversies that were upcoming.
As we now know, the Rockets ended up having a scandal which involved China, but there was no way to anticipate that, and that’s not what ESPN was factoring into this selection. This was the certainly the most tumultuous event the league has seen this season, but that doesn’t make the Rockets the most tumultuous team.
The Rockets have actually been drama-free this season in spite of the fact that they’ve had several things present themselves that could have become problematic. One of which includes the midseason reports (subscription required) that the Rockets were likely to fire Mike D’Antoni, which is surely something that could have had an effect on the team.
The Rockets also dealt with the media’s attempts to split up the team, which was made obvious by The Ringer’s Ryen Russilo reporting that Russell Westbrook was on the trade block, which were certainly fictitious. There’s no way the Rockets were going to trade Westbrook who they had just acquired, considering that James Harden would have had to sign off on that.
On top of that, the Rockets simply didn’t have a reason to trade Westbrook, as it’s not like he’s in a contract year or has been unhappy about his role with the team. This was yet another example of the media trying to create turmoil on the team, and it’s quite commendable how the Rockets haven’t allowed these constant narratives to create tension.
The Rockets have not only not been the team with the most turmoil, but you could argue that they’ve proven themselves to be quite the opposite.
Next: No. 3