With nearly a quarter of the season in the bag, the Houston Rockets sit at 5-15 and are in last place in the Western Conference. While the prospects of finishing with the league’s worst record for a third straight season, an unachieved feat, has some clamoring for more wins, the Rockets have had a far better season than meets the eye.
The Rockets’ net rating of -6.1 may be the third worst in the league, but it’s miles off the bottom two. The Pistons are 29th at -8.7, and the Spurs are at a putrid -10.2. It is also a stark improvement on last season’s -8.4 net rating, and that team had an entire season of Christian Wood.
The most promising development is that the Rockets’ offense has ticked up significantly. They’ve gone from a 108.4 offensive rating to 110.3, and that’s with a lower effective field goal percentage. If the shots start to fall, the Rockets could finish with a league-average offense, something they haven’t accomplished since James Harden led the attack.
Rebuilds are tough. They’re full of losses by design, but when you look at the Rockets’ performance in light of all the self-imposed hurdles, the season starts to look far more promising. Before we get into player grades, we’ll grade the team as a whole.