James Harden has played like an MVP candidate — 30.6 points and 13 rebounds a game — and the Rockets’ offense under new coach Mike D’Antoni is a machine scoring 107.6 points per 100 possessions (according to NBA.com).
But they hover around .500 (5-4) because they are giving up 107.8 per 100, the third worst defense in the NBA.
Maybe the return of Patrick Beverley will help that, and we could see that this week, reports Calvin Watkins of ESPN.
Rockets starting guard Patrick Beverley said he practiced Friday and expects to return this coming week from left knee surgery.
Beverley didn’t say which game would be his season debut in, but he proclaimed he’s completely healthy. The Rockets’ first game this coming week is Monday against the Philadelphia 76ers.
“I feel very good, excited, can’t wait to play,” Beverley said Saturday. “I can’t wait to play with my teammates. I missed them a lot. I missed being on the road and team camaraderie a lot. I missed playing basketball and missed competing.”
Beverley is a physical, attacking on-ball defender and last season the Rockets’ defense was better with him on the court (2.1 per 100). He likely will come off the bench at first, and while he’s not a dynamic playmaker by any stretch the Rockets’ offense is abysmal when Harden sits, maybe Beverley can help stabilize it. But he could become a starter again — Beverley can shoot the three and there can’t be enough shooters on the court in D’Antoni’s system, plus we know he has chemistry with Harden.