Houston Rockets: The defensive outlook for the 2019-20 season

Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets will have a revamped coaching staff for 2019-20 so with the subtraction and addition that has occurred, what should we expect? Look.

A big loss in the offseason for the Houston Rockets was the releasing of associate head coach/defensive coordinator Jeff Bzdelik and assistant defensive coordinator Roy Rogers, and among other questions surrounding the team and its personnel, what can fans expect from the defense going into the 2019-20 season?

In 2018, the Houston Rockets got off to a HORRID start defensively, which caused general manager Daryl Morey to contact Bzdelik in hopes of bringing him out of retirement. Luckily for Houston, the defensive guru came out of his retirement and helped bring a huge improvement to a team struggling to make a stop defensively.

As the season progressed, Houston improved defensively and it certainly showed in the rankings. The team went from 25th in defensive rating at the beginning of the season (112.7) to finishing within the middle of the pack at 17th overall (110.1).

Numerically, that doesn’t sound like much of an improvement but any fan that watched a game could notice a change. The improvement of James Harden on defense, Clint Capela’s assertiveness in the paint and even P.J. Tucker’s maximum effort were all instrumental variables that affected the Houston Rockets‘ improvement on the defensive end.

With the 2019-20 season underway, Bzdelik is now on the Pelicans’ coaching staff and the Chicago Bulls snatched up Roy Rogers.  Without these men no longer with the team, what expectations should we have?

In a move to counter the losses, the Houston Rockets signed veteran assistant coach Elston Turner, who will be returning to the franchise after a previous stint on Rick Adelman‘s staff from 2007-11.

The Houston Rockets were 2nd in the league in terms of defensive efficiency in his first season (86.5 points per 100 possessions in 2007-08) and never fell lower than 18th (106.2 points per 100 in 2010-11).

Turner has a sterling reputation for being a defensive-minded coach and the 60-year-old NBA lifer

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will be Mike D’Antoni‘s top assistant.

But let’s start with the additions. Houston added Russell Westbrook, Tyson Chandler and Ben McLemore this offseason. Westbrook is not as good of a defender as Chris Paul (104.2) but his unique toolset will be a tremendous upgrade at the guard position for the Houston Rockets.  His defensive rating was 107.4 for 2018-19.

Not to mention Chandler, who’s been known as an anchor in the paint his whole career. He will be coming off the bench but one thing the team has lacked over the past few seasons is size off of the bench. A full season of Danuel House and Austin Rivers should also help this team.

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It should be a fun season for Rockets fans and I expect this team to be an improvement on defense over last season’s squad despite the losses of Bzdelik and Rogers.

Please sound off in the comments Houston Rockets fans!