Houston Rockets negative #3: The defense
The Rockets’ defense has been an unmitigated disaster to start the season. Part of that was due to the team missing key players over the first two games when they gave up season highs of 128 and 124 points.
If those two games are removed the Rockets are giving up an average of 110 points per game which would have them tied for 12th with the Charlotte Hornets. However, the Rockets are playing at a below-average pace which means on a per 100 possession basis they’re closer to average.
The Rockets defense can be described as average at best, which simply won’t cut it in the hyper-competitive Western Conference. Only DeMarcus Cousins has a positive defensive box plus-minus right now, which means the rest of the team simply has to be better on that end.
The easiest route for the Rockets to improve their defense is to get better on the boards. Their 75.8-percent defensive rebounding percentage is 28th in the league and an improvement in this area will turn more good defensive possessions into the ball back in the hands of the Rockets and not their opponent’s.
If the Rockets can get tougher on the defensive boards and prevent their opponents from hitting 39.2-percent of their 3-pointers against them then they’ll have an ability to improve from their middle of pack defensive rating from last season. Contenders have top-ten offenses and defenses and right now, without improvements, the Rockets will fall short of that.
Next: Positive #2