NBA First Half Awards
With the season just over halfway done, let's look at the major awards. Feel free to disagree but it's James Hardens world right now and we're just living in it.
The Houston Rockets are off to a pathetic 1-3 start and look nothing like the team that made the Western Conference Finals. What has happened to that Rockets team?
Many people expected the Rockets defense to be worse this year because they lost Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute. They replaced them with superstar Carmelo Anthony, James Ennis III and Michael Carter-Williams. They lost defensive players and replaced them with players not known for their defense.
Replacing Ariza with Melo was the worst thing the Rockets could have done. Anthony is known for his lack of defense and that is why the Rockets are losing. They are a great scoring team but they can't get stops.
The whole blame doesn't fall on Anthony. He isn't the only bad defender on the team. James Harden is also infamous for his lack of defense. The fact that there are bad defensive players on the team is why the Rockets aren't good anymore.
Besides the lack of defense, the Rockets offense is also a problem. They like to have a scoring contest and that isn't the best way to win. That strategy doesn't work if the other team also has excellent offensive players. They have the advantage because they also have a good defensive team.
Mike D'Antoni is known for not caring too much about defense but that wasn't the case last year. The Rockets were a great defensive team and that was how they won three games in the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors. I think the Rockets got too full of themselves and their offense that they didn't care about keeping the defense intact.
Chris Paul is out for one more game due to the fight with the Los Angeles Lakers and they will be better off with him on the roster. However, without a lock-down defender, the Rockets will be in trouble. P.J. Tucker is great but he is undersized. Against lengthy players, he won't be as effective.
Harden will also be out because of a hamstring injury so the Rockets' woes aren't going to end anytime soon. This season is already looking bad for the Rockets. Last year may be the best that the Rockets will be with the team that they have.