By Nicholas Williams
Published: May 15th, 2019
The Houston Rockets were eliminated from the playoffs after losing in the second round to the Golden State Warriors in six games. The Rockets lost to a Warriors’ team without arguably their best player, Kevin Durant.
In Game Six, the Rockets’ star players in Chris Paul, had 27 points and 11 rebounds and James Harden, had 35 points and eight rebounds on the night. These players did play to the best of their abilities but they ran into the greatness of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.
Should the Rockets blow up this team and start over?
In all honesty, the Warriors are just an overall better team and the Rockets simply just can’t beat them. In the NBA, that just happens, there is just a better overall unstoppable team that dominates everyone. The 90’s Chicago Bulls are clear examples of this. Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing never won a ring because they ran into a Michael Jordan led team. This is what the Rockets are currently facing as they have now lost four playoff series in five years to the Golden State Warriors.
In Game Six against the Rockets, Curry and Thompson simply just got hot. When these guys are hot and hitting on all cylinders, there is really nothing you can do about it and that’s exactly what happened in Game Six. Once Curry is hitting ridiculous contested threes against some great defense, there is nothing you can do about that. Once Thompson is just knocking down shots and Green is being a playmaker, there is little you can do but just pray that this team starts to get cold.
The Houston Rockets aren’t necessarily over, but the team should look to retool the roster and move around pieces. Clint Capela must develop an offensive game, he needs to be able to take the basketball and just dominate in the post. Capela is a great defensive talent, but this series really exposed how limited his offense truly is when he isn’t catching lobs or wide up dunks from pick and roll setups.
The Rockets really missed Trevor Ariza in this series, they need to pick up a consistent three and D player in free agency. Bringing back Trevor Ariza or targeting Rudy Gay, Kelly Oubre, Danny Green would really help this team moving forward.
Chris Paul needs to prove why he is a hall of fame point guard. Paul has been rather disappointing this year mostly due to his injuries and inconsistent play. Paul is running out of time, he isn’t getting any younger and his best days are ahead of him. He must be more of a reliable consistent scorer in the playoffs and same goes with Harden. The reason the team lost was due to the poor decision making from these two players. They made mistakes late in games that usually they would never make. One notably being the Harden offensive foul on Green at the 2:24 mark in the fourth quarter of Game Six. This ultimately led to the scoring outburst of Curry and Thompson to close out the game.
The Rockets relied heavily on isolation play which made it difficult for them to get consistent runs. They need to evaluate their future going forward and that means looking at Capela and Paul. Harden alone has proven he can get this team to the playoffs. It is up to these three to be consistent in the playoffs to bring a championship to Houston.
The team does not need to be broken up. When you have the talent of Harden on your team, you can definitely win a championship but you have to have the pieces to help him get to the promise land.
The 2019-2020 NBA season may actually be the best time for the Rockets to push for a championship. If the rumors are true and Kevin Durant leaves Golden State as well as Demarcus Cousins leaves, this will wound the Warriors going forward. If the Rockets are able to retool the roster and bring in more talent, the Western Conference will be theirs next season.
The only problem the Rockets are facing is that they keep running into this juggernaut Warriors team, if that team falls, the Rockets will have the best chance to win a championship.