Stop me if you've heard this before: a well-known NBA analyst takes a shot at the rebuilding Houston Rockets. Well, to be fair, we can take out the word "rebuilding" because they'd take unabashed shots at the franchise whether the team was contending or not (we've seen that before too).
The latest media figure to join the line of critics of the Rockets is long-time NBA player JJ Redick, who knows a thing or two about the sport. On Redick's podcast, The Old Man and the Three, Redick unleashed on the team, offering the below commentary.
Now that's alot to unpack. Where do we start?
How about the fact that Redick is actually right, in many regards. There are some truths to what he says, although it's painful to admit.
But it's important to keep that same energy with other organizations that we also know to be dysfunctional. For example, did Redick say the same about the Orlando Magic (his former team)? Or the Charlotte Hornets? Or how about the Detroit Pistons?
Why JJ Redick's comments about the Houston Rockets are problematic
Because the last time I checked, the latter two are also in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes. One of the main criticisms aimed at the Rockets over the last several years was the decision to select Jalen Green over Evan Mobley (which was the right decision, might I add), but the Pistons also passed on Mobley and seem to escape the same vitriol. Why is that?
Sure, the Rockets have gone 55-171 since 2020, but they were also 692-430 from 2006-2020, which represents a 61.6 percent winning clip. During that span the Rockets also had the most consecutive postseason appearances (2012-2020), so were they dysfunctional then?
It's important to note that this is simply a rebuild. A temporary state, if you will. Everyone goes through it, at one point of another.
The Cleveland Cavaliers did it after LeBron James left (twice), the Lakers did it before LeBron arrived, the Oklahoma City Thunder did it after tearing down their roster and shipping out Russell Westbrook and Paul George, and the list goes on and on.
Realizing that the best path towards stockpiling talent is getting rid of aging players doesn't make a team dysfunctional, that's actually smart. But the overarching issue with Redick's jab, which again, I'll admit had some truths to it, is the timing.
The Rockets have looked very competitive, of late. Did Redick see the win over the Boston Celtics, who rank second in the Eastern Conference at the moment? Or how about the win over the Los Angeles Lakers, who seemingly viewed the Rockets as a push-over, as they sat superstar Anthony Davis?
Or what about the gritty win over the New Orleans Pelicans, who are fighting for a play-in spot? If Redick had made these comments when the Rockets were on their 11-game losing streak, that would've seemed more appropriate.
Or when they were on their 13-game losing streak earlier in the season, at least that narrative would've been more fitting. But to say this when the team is gelling and building chemistry seems a bit like piling on to the already existing lazy narratives surrounding the franchise.
What Redick really told us is that he hasn't been watching any Rockets games of late (if at all).