The Houston Rockets might have been a team that I underrated coming into this season. I was fully aware of the capability and firepower that came with James Harden but I didn’t fully believe in the possibility of him getting the rest of his team to play at a high level.
However with an 18-7 record and a 4th seed in the Western Conference, the Rockets are no slouch. Beating some top-notch teams like the Golden State Warriors and the San Antonio Spurs, the confidence is high in the Houston locker room. Some of the things that negatively clouded James Harden’s game in the past has worked to their advantage this season and a lot of that has to do with Mike D’Antoni and the style at which he has them playing.
Moving Harden to the point guard position and acquiring Eric Gordon has tremendously worked out in their favor thus far. The Beard is having the MVP-like season that we all expected him to have, listed as fourth in points per game and leading the league in assists. And while that’s occurring, Gordon is secretly having one of the best years of his career. He’s right behind Stephen Curry in 3-pointers made this season with 90, shooting them at a percentage of .439.
I’m the first one to admit that I was wrong about this team. They are winning games and they are fun to watch. The supporting cast has played their roles well. They’ve surrounded Harden, found open spots, and have been ready to shoot. In previous years they’ve done a lot of standing and watching but with a lot of off-ball movement along with the threat of Harden, it has produced a different outcome. The Rockets are ninth in pace, fourth in offensive efficiency, and second in scoring. The offensive onslaught from this team is hard to guard and that’s what makes them so deadly.
When you have a guy like Harden who attracts so much attention whether he’s driving, coming off a pick, or spotting up for three, it makes your offense even more lethal. The Rockets organization has done a good job surrounding him with knock down shooters that can contribute whenever the defense decides to turn their heads. With so much offensive power, I don’t believe this is a team that players want to face down the road. On any given night, they have proven they can score with the best of them and if you’re having a bad shooting night, your team can be down by twenty in a heartbeat. There’s no question that James Harden is playing great, but his teammates are following in his footsteps making them a huge threat in the Western Conference.