Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff has been unafraid to sharply assess his team.
But after last night’s loss to the Trail Blazers – Houston’s third straight defeat and sixth in eight games – Bickerstaff kicked up the rhetoric even further.
Bickerstaff, via Calvin Watkins of ESPN:
“We’re broken,” Bickerstaff said. “It’s that simple. We’re a broken team, and we all need to use this break to figure out how we’re going to impact change. If we don’t want to impact change, then we need to be made aware of that, too, and we’ll go in a different direction.
“We can’t continue to go out and play this way. It’s easy to see it’s a fragmented bunch. You can’t win that way.”
This is why Dwight Howard is on the trade block. The Rockets are so incohesive, there’s no simple solution in sight. This increasingly looks like a lost season for Houston, which should emphasize future planning – like dealing Howard, who can become an unrestricted free agent at age 30 this summer.
Yet, the Rockets are just a half game from playoff position. They obviously dreamed much bigger when the season began, but at this point, merely making the postseason should qualify as a success.
It’s Bickerstaff’s job to get them there, no matter how unlikely. He has certainly shown little fear in trying, whether it’s giving these quotes or pulling all five starters simultaneously shortly into a game. He’s trying to put his mark on this team.
The players just aren’t responding, not more than periodically, at least. From James Harden down, nobody plays with the requisite focus and energy.
Nothing in Bickerstaff’s assessment is surprising. It’s just surprising he said it so bluntly publicly.
Then again, that’s nothing compared to what veteran Houston guard Jason Terry said. Eric Ringering of 750 The Game: