If you look at the worst plus-minus rating in the league for players to have played 20 games, you will see the players of the worst teams. The Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns and Brooklyn Nets are all come to mind.
The Rockets’ Terrence Jones comes into the list at No. 16 with a plus-minus of -4.7. Every time the Rockets play Jones they lose nearly five points during the time he is on the court. This is a guy who has been benched in consecutive playoff series because he just does not show up when it’s required.
Don’t be surprised in the latter part of the season if he is trying to pad his stats and get a bigger contract when he jumps ship at the end of the year.
Josh Smith has nearly declined to the level of Jones, yet for some reason he has found his way into the starting lineup. Smith’s playmaking is so crucial to the Rockets; but, in my opinion, he doesn’t respect J.B. Bickerstaff as he did with Kevin McHale.
McHale managed to get Smith to tone down the three-point attempts and only take in rhythm shots from the top of the key. Since Smith has returned to the Rockets, he has jacked up 62 triples connecting on only 15. To put that into perspective, he launched 58 triples in the four months prior with the Los Angeles Clippers whilst under the tutelage of Doc Rivers.
Not only is he taking so many more three-pointers per game, he is regularly taking the poor looks the defense is giving him. Smith’s role on this team is as a second facilitator to handle the ball when Harden is double-teamed, I think it’s time someone reminded him of his role.
Not only have Smith and Jones been poor, but so too Corey Brewer. Brewer was never one of the most skilled players in the NBA, he was always a runner and someone who thrived in transition. The Rockets’ inability to get out on the break this season has hurt him badly as he has been forced to become a spot up shooter. He is incredibly streaky and hits his threes in patches but in no way is that one of his strengths.
The best asset of the bench last year was the frenetic pace they played at, they would always grab the rebound, take off up the floor and scoring so many points in transition. This season, the bench output is remarkably slower than the starting lineup, the unit can’t defend as a whole and they gamble for steals way too often. I had a long discussion about this on my Twitter account if you care to check it out. The bottom line is the bench is playing at a slower pace than years past and it is really hurting Brewers effectiveness to the organization.
“We’re a broken team. We need to use this break to figure out how we can impact change.” – J.B. Bickerstaff
Not only do the players have to take responsibility for their 29-31 record, but the front office and Head Coach do as well. I mentioned previously that the GM had valued continuity this season and that was the right move, but what can’t be ignored is this team’s failure to make a move at the trade deadline.
As I mentioned earlier, J.B. Bickerstaff’s final words before the All-Star break were that “this team is broken.” If you hadn’t realized, this is an interim coach looking for his first head coaching job and he just called that team broken. It was a ballsy move from the rookie coach, but typical of his shortcomings this season.
But more on that later.
For the head coach of the team to call it broken would imply that things need to change, correct? Well with D-Mo (thankfully) returning to H-Town the only roster change since the opening day is the waiving of Chuck Hayes, Marcus Thornton and now Mr. Lawson. Oh and the re-acquisition of Josh Smith.
Next: CLICK HERE: Who's To Blame For All Of This Mess?