The Houston Rockets are once again sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference for the third straight year and have the worst overall record in the league.
The 2022 Rockets started the season with a thin frontcourt and injuries to key players such as Jae'Sean Tate and rookie TyTy Washington. Their prized rookie Jabari Smith has struggled immensely early in the season, and it raises concern that another high-drafted pick has started slowly under head coach Stephen Silas. The Rockets' continued struggles have left many wondering if he is the reason.
We saw Jalen Green struggle in the first half of the season, but Silas kept him in the starting lineup to let him eventually find his groove. Although, many of the critiques were that Green wasn't in the best position to succeed in the offense.
Silas is universally known as an offensive guru and for his role in developing young stars such as LeBron James, Steph Curry, and Luka Doncic. In 2019, as the offensive coordinator of the Mavericks, we saw them finish the regular season with the most efficient offense in NBA history. They had a rating of 115.9 per 100 possessions setting a new record.
When the Rockets hired Silas in 2020, there were plenty of expectations. Unfortunately, he got dealt a bad hand when Russell Westbrook and James Harden demanded trades, leaving the roster decimated.
Following that season, the organization drafted four rookies, and Silas faced criticism over his development of those players, which left fans calling for his job. At the time, it was ridiculous because of the circumstances. It was his real first season coaching a team with a set roster and without any drama.
However, the mistakes from last season are still being made. For one, the offense has no movement and has failed to find its identity. Silas has preached about ball movement and "making the right basketball play," but how many times do we see multiple handoffs followed by pick-and-roll after pick-and-roll that leads to nothing?
Green is the team's best offensive weapon, but he is underutilized and has fans clamoring for Silas to run the offense through him in crunch time. Jabari Smith is also not being used properly, as he is relegated to a spot-up shooter standing in the corner.
This is the last year Silas has guaranteed money on his contract, and it will be interesting to see what Rafael Stone plans to do this offseason if the team remains at the bottom of the standings.