1. Rockets not applying enough effort
It is not solely an issue of roster construction, however. The Rockets are also not playing disciplined basketball as it relates to rebounding.
If you are watching Rockets games, you might notice a lot of standing around when a shot goes up. The Rockets are not boxing their opponents out enough and it is costing them points and possessions.
Whether it is an issue of team mentality, the presence of younger players, or something that Stephen Silas needs to emphasize more as head coach, boxing out is something the Rockets need to improve on going forward if they want to climb from the bottom of the NBA’s rebounding ranks.
It also might be worth noting that P.J. Tucker has been amongst the Rockets’ more prominent rebounders in past years, and at least so far his rebounding numbers are down from those years. It’s possible that Tucker’s age is going to catch up with him a bit this season, which may see him produce less on the boards.
Perhaps Rafael Stone can acquire some lengthier players by the trade deadline to help, but the Rockets need to make improvements in rebounding regardless of whether or not that happens. The players cannot control who is on the roster, but they can control the amount of effort they give on that aspect of the game.
Right now, there are many issues with the Rockets that are contributing to their losses; poor shooting, lackadaisical transition defense, and turnovers being just some of them. But their performance in rebounding is not doing them any favors in their pursuit of winning games.
This is not one of the issues that many were anticipating with the offseason’s acquisitions, but that notwithstanding it is present and the Rockets must address it if they have even playoff aspirations, much less ambitions of championship contention.