Houston Rockets Improvement #3: Mix up the lineup
The Rockets starting lineup has been fluctuating throughout the season but their preferred starting lineup of John Wall, Victor Oladipo, Jae’Sean Tate, P.J. Tucker, and Christian Wood could use a slight overhaul.
This lineup has been fantastic but it lacks enough 3-point shooting to be a deadly offensive unit. Tucker is an effective floor spacer but is limited to corner threes, Wood has been good from behind the arc, for a center, but he still plays around the rim frequently, and Tate, Oladipo, and Wall are all poor 3-point shooters.
The Rockets may not want to mess up their defensive chemistry but one of Tucker or Tate should be moved to the bench for a more deadly floor spacer. Danuel House, Ben McLemore, and Mason Jones are not as good on defense as those two but they can hit a wide variety of shots that should help the Rockets offense flow better.
Subtracting from the Rockets starting lineup’s defensive ability to improve the offense is a gamble but it’s one worth taking. Contenders need to be around the top-ten on both defense and offense and as currently constructed this lineup might not have enough firepower to compete with the best teams in the league.
Moving Tate or Tucker to the bench also makes their bench that much stronger and doesn’t mean that they cannot close games with both of them on the court. At the end of the day, the Rockets have what it takes to be at least a league-average offense and with that defense, that could be all it takes to make some serious noise.
When the Rockets traded James Harden their status as a contender went with him. However, with a new identity and roster, this team has a chance at the postseason and maybe even more, if they figure out their offense.