The widely accepted viewpoint in sports is that a team is only as good as their record would indicate. In the case of the Houston Rockets, this would mean they’re the worst team in the NBA, as they’ve gone 16-52, which represents the fewest win totals in the entire league.
The problem with this viewpoint is that the Rockets haven’t just been losing games simply because they’re the worst team in the NBA. We’ve seen the Rockets lose games in which they struggled to field an 8-man roster, due to injuries, which would make it difficult for any team.
We’ve also seen the Rockets narrowly lose games against significantly better teams. The Rockets have also pulled off wins against significantly better teams, like the Milwaukee Bucks, which took place on the night that Kevin Porter Jr. became the youngest player to score 50 points, while also dropping 10+ assists.
The statistic that proves that the Houston Rockets aren’t the worst team in the league
There’s also a key statistic that explains why the Rockets aren’t the worst team in the NBA, which should be simultaneously intriguing and encouraging for Houston Rockets fans. In fact, the Oklahoma City Thunder hold that crown by a longshot.
According to ESPN Stats and Info, the Thunder have been outscored by 490 points over their last 25 games, which is morbidly bad. In fact, this is the worst by any team in NBA history, topping the 1992-93 Dallas Mavericks, who previously held the record, as they were outscored by 489 points.
This means during this stretch, the Thunder lost by an average of 19.6 points. By comparison, the Rockets lost by an average of 16.6 points during their infamous 20-game losing streak this season (333 total points).
The Thunder were recently blown out by the Indiana Pacers by 57 points, as the Pacers won 152-95, setting a franchise record for points. Granted, the Thunder were largely limited to rookies and 10-day players, but the same can be said for the Rockets, and especially in their recent games against the Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz.
If you recall, the Rockets were without Kevin Porter Jr, John Wall, Christian Wood, and Jae’Sean Tate due to injuries, and had to sign Khyri Thomas at the last minute. In spite of that, the Rockets barely lost both games, falling 141-133 to Milwaukee and 124-116 to Utah.
So although it’s been a brutal year for the Rockets fanbase, which has become accustomed to competing for a top-4 seed in the Western Conference of late, the Rockets haven’t even been the worst team in the league this season, regardless of what their record has been.