The Houston Rockets without Harden
When the Rockets first moved Harden, the fanbase was divided, as many were relieved for the saga to finally conclude, while others were sad to see one of their favorite players in a different uniform. The Rockets acquired Victor Oladipo and a historic amount of draft capital from the Brooklyn Nets, which they were in dire need of, thanks in large part to the Russell Westbrook trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2019.
The Rockets lost three of their first four games without Harden, but went on to win six consecutive games, as the John Wall, Victor Oladipo, and Christian Wood trio paid huge dividends, earning the moniker of W.O.W. Wood suffered an untimely injury against the Memphis Grizzlies on February 4th, which was the last victory the Rockets secured, before losing the next thirteen consecutive games, heading into the All-Star break.
The Rockets currently rank 14th in the Western Conference, with only the Minnesota Timberwolves trailing behind them, and enter the NBA’s March 25th trade deadline as one of the primary sellers, as they possess assets such as Eric Gordon, P.J. Tucker, and Oladipo, who could all be contributors on contending teams. It’s been reported that the Rockets are prioritizing players over draft picks, which could be beneficial for teams like the Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks, who are devoid of draft capital.
Although Rockets coach Stephen Silas hasn’t exactly had the smoothest experience in his first season as head coach of the Houston Rockets, the positive side of all of this (if there is one) is that things won’t get any worse than the current fate of the team, giving him early tests and experience that could prove to be vital down the line.
But as ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith explained, none of this would even be happening, were it not for James Harden.