The Houston Rockets are already reaping the benefits of signing the biggest free agent this summer. The Rockets are off to a hot start at 4-2 and with Dwight Howard and James Harden in the fold, Houston may be looking at a deep playoff push.
However, former San Antonio Spurs guard Steve Kerr doesn't think Houston has what it takes to be a title contender this season.
“I don’t think Houston is a finished product. I think they are very good and are going to win a lot of games, but I don’t think this is a roster that is going to win a championship”.
While the Howard signing was a big coup, it has caused the Rockets to change their course of action for the upcoming season.
“This sequence has made (coach Kevin McHale’s) job difficult. They didn’t expect to get Howard when they signed Asik. Now you’ve got both, and you have to make the best of it.”
Now McHale is faced with issue of finding ways to sneak Omar Asik some minutes with Dwight on the floor. Both guys need to work in the low post area and tend to clog the middle for James Harden when the drives to the basket. When either ones goes to the bench, the floor opens up more and allow Harden to work his magic.
As member of championship teams with the Chicago Bulls and the Spurs, he speaks from experience when he says:
“Championship teams defend at an elite level every night, and that is something you have to establish over a year and it takes time. It’s too early to tell if Houston has that aspect.”
As was shown when the Rockets played both teams from Los Angeles, there is a lot of improve on the defensive end. Against the Clippers, the Rockets gave up 138 points in a loss and a Kobe Bryant’s Lakers squad barely squeaked out a victory with a horribly executed last second shot.
While a loss to Clippers is nothing to be ashamed of (can’t believe the Clippers have come that far) giving up 138 points shows a lack of commitment on the defensive end.
They fought hard and battled back to take a lead with less than a minute remaining, but a huge mental lapse lease to a Steve Blake game winning three point shot.
Harden is learning the true meaning of leading a team. In Oklahoma City he was able to come off the bench and fly under the radar when it came to leading the team. In Houston, both Howard and Harden are expected to lead the offense as well as set the example of what is expected on the defensive end.