There is no bigger disappointment in the NBA this season than the Houston Rockets.
Last season the team won 56 games and made the conference finals. This season’s version is 38-41 and is going to need some help from the Utah Jazz just to make the playoffs. Houston fired its head coach, the team’s defense got more than five points per 100 possessions worse (and is bottom 10 in the NBA), the Rockets have blown a lot of leads, and the team just appeared disinterested far too many nights.
A season like this calls for a top-to-bottom evaluation — and that is going to include the job of respected GM Daryl Morey, reports Marc Stein and Calvin Watkins at ESPN.
Sources told ESPN that the Rockets believe every aspect of the organization — coaching staff, front office and, of course, their roster — must be subject to a thorough review in the wake of Houston’s slide to a 38-41 outfit that’s at serious risk to miss the playoffs after damaging losses this week to Dallas and Phoenix….
Sources say Morey, whose contract runs through the 2017-18 season, also faces some uncertainty in the wake of the Rockets’ struggles. Morey’s ever-bold approach to roster assembly won deserved kudos for bringing Harden (October 2012) and Howard (July 2013) to Houston in quick succession, but team chemistry has been a rising concern this season given the well-chronicled deterioration in the Harden/Howard relationship and the failed offseason gamble on guard Ty Lawson.
Morey’s teams have looked good on paper but not lived up to high expectations on the court — having Howard and Harden as the team leaders has led to what felt like Team Skittles. There was not the kind of focus and accountability seen in San Antonio, Golden State, or other top flight organizations.
There are going to be significant changes to the Rockets this summer. Howard is likely gone, and the roster will get an overhaul. The sense around the league is that Bickerstaff did a solid job but will be let go as well because the Rockets want to go big game hunting in the coaching market.
Expect Morey to get the chance to prove he can assemble a team one more time — starting with hiring a coach he can work with. However, if the next incarnation of the Rockets have chemistry issues and flame out, then change could be coming to the GM office.