Houston Rockets play-in need #1: John Wall takes a step back
When the Rockets traded Russell Westbrook for John Wall, they knew it would be a slow process considering Wall was coming off multiple surgeries and hadn't played basketball in almost two years. The situation was even tougher for the Rockets and Wall after Harden demanded a trade on national television after a loss to the Lakers.
Wall is a former All-Star and at times was a top-five point guard. When you have a pedigree like his, you want to prove to everyone that you are still at the top of your game. At times, Wall showed flashes of the player he once was. In a win against the Kings, he scored 28 points on 50-percent scoring. However, he also had games where he struggled.
In a loss to the Heat, he shot five of thirteen from the field, had five turnovers, and struggled on defense. Considering Wall is unlikely to be bought out or traded, for the Rockets to have any chance this year, Wall has to take a step back. The Rockets are likely to run three-guard lineups on most nights. With three players on the court who want the ball in their hands, Wall's presence could hinder the offense.
In Wall's mind, he is still a top-five point guard, but in reality, that's far from the truth. However, Wall can still be an excellent player if he changes his game. He needs to become more like Derrick Rose or Chris Paul and less like Donovan Mitchell. He needs to pick his spots and not try to take over every game. He needs to focus on facilitating for Jalen Green and Kevin Porter, not getting himself buckets. If Wall changes his game, the Rockets could have a dynamic offense.
Another area where Wall needs to take a step back is cutting down on his 3-point attempts. He took 6.2 threes a game last year but only hit them 31.7-percent of the time. Taking fewer threes would help improve the 40.4-percent shooting he posted from the field. If Wall can reign it in from distance the whole team will improve.
Will the Rockets make the playoffs next year chances are it probably won't happen. It's not from a lack of talent but a lack of experience from some of their top-level talent. Is it impossible? Of course, it's not, considering the NBA decided to bring back the play-in spots for both conferences. The Rockets only have to be better than four other teams, and if all three of the topics in this article happen, they could find themselves way ahead of the curve and in the playoffs next year.