Just when you think the Rockets are turning the corner, they drop three in a row, including to the struggling Cavaliers and Wizards. This is a 13-seed, 9-10 team that has had guys miss time due to injuries and suspensions, but those aren’t the most significant problems — Houston has regressed to a bottom 10 defense again and the offense has been good but not good enough to cover up that massive flaw.
Houston’s window is now — James Harden is at his peak, Chris Paul isn’t getting any younger (or healthier) — and that means GM Daryl Morey knows he needs to make moves now to bolster the roster. What kind of moves? Wings, reports Kelly Iko in a great breakdown of the challenges for this team at The Athletic.
Houston is primarily focused on acquiring wing talent, sources said. Their trade market intensity last week, in the midst of their winning streak, was described by one source as “not in emergency mode, but not sitting back either.”
Ideally, these would be 3&D guys who can help space the floor and provide shooting while bolstering that sagging defense. Go ahead and insert your “you mean guys like Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute” jokes here, you’re not wrong but the Rockets can’t re-litigate the past (including Carmelo Anthony), they have to find answers for the future. James Ennis and P.J. Tucker are doing what they can, but they need reinforcements.
There are interesting names out there, including Ariza, Markieff Morriss, Kent Bazemore (big $19 million salary, however), J.R. Smith (Houston reportedly has some interest), Justin Holiday, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Iman Shumpert, and if teams such as the Spurs fall off and out of the heat of the playoff battle more names could come up before February’s deadline. Morey may need to get creative to come up with better options, because those guys listed don’t get the Rockets back to where they were a season ago.
Something needs to shake up these Rockets again.