Houston Rockets: The team’s defensive efficiency has turned the tide

Houston Rockets guard James Harden and Ben McLemore (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets guard James Harden and Ben McLemore (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

After a poor start to the season, the Houston Rockets have turned the tide in terms of their defensive efficiency. What’s happening at the moment? Look.

Houston Rockets fans — our team is 11-6 through the first 17 games of the season and I doubt that any of us expected for them to be at this mark at this point of the season.  We knew that the rapport between James Harden and Russell Westbrook had to solidify in order for them to be successful and it looks like things are ahead of schedule.

They both stay out of each other’s way and defer when necessary as the scenarios are dictated to allow each other to score freely going up and down the court.  Westbrook still isn’t shooting all that well from behind-the-arc but I’m sure he’s making inroads as to try to improve in that stat.

Westbrook’s calling card is his ability to drive into the paint and pickup points as a result.  He’s so fast, I’d liken him to Usain Bolt running down the aisle trying to get to the finish line.  His style of basketball is getting results and although it’s painful to watch his shot selection at times, I think he’ll be just fine here with the Houston Rockets.

If the supporting cast of Clint Capela, P.J. Tucker and Danuel House hold up in the starting lineup, I think this team will continue to maximize their wins and hopefully make a deep run in the postseason.

That’s a long way from now but it’s at least good to know that things are trending in the right direction with this team.

Speaking of trending, the Houston Rockets continue to get better week-after-week with their defensive efficiency.  It was absolutely horrible in the earlier stages of the season but they’ve shored things up and you’ve got to give credit to top assistant Elston Turner for turning it around.

He’s the new defensive coordinator after wiz Jeff Bzdelik was ousted by the Houston Rockets‘ brass over this offseason.  He has since found a home with the New Orleans Pelicans but it’s good that the team was able to transition well without him.

But in terms of this team’s efficiency, the Houston Rockets have elevated themselves to 17th in that category.  They’re currently giving up 106.5 points per 100 possessions which is drastic improvement above numbers that were almost 10 points higher than what they’re currently allowing.

They were as low as 29th in defensive efficiency so with this team being in the middle of the pack,

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that still a remarkable improvement in such a short amount of time.  I would love for this team to be in the Top 5 and I don’t think that’s too lofty of a goal.

At the moment though, I’m okay with small wins along the way for the bigger picture of being ELITE in that category.  But with this team’s style of offense, it may be too much to ask with the high-pace that they usually invoke against their opponents.

Out of those players in the rotation, Capela has the highest defensive rating (102) with Austin Rivers being on the other end of the spectrum (114).  Everybody else falls in-between which is not a bad notion to admonish.  Tyson Chandler is still holding at 107 as well as Harden (109), Westbrook (108), House (109) and Tucker (110) are doing the same as well.  There has been a slight uptick with Russ and Beard’s numbers though.

Next. Clint Capela making an early case to be the NBA's Most Improved Player. dark

Although their defensive efficiency took a hit against the Dallas Mavericks yesterday afternoon where they 137 points, their second-highest total of the season in a 137-123 loss, it goes to show that there’s still plenty of work left to do but what had been going wrong can be fixed.

We’ll have to see if they soar to new heights — but I like what’s lurking in the shadows thus far.

Let’s go Houston Rockets!