It’s funny how quickly perceptions change: Daryl Morey is no longer a genius, Kevin McHale was never a good head coach, the Houston Rockets look awful, and James Harden goes from MVP to the biggest problem on the team.
We hate being ‘I told you so’ kind of guys, but after every Rockets loss over the last few years, we’ve written about how the Rockets are falling into a trap with Harden. A player who has a unique set of offensive skills, but is a black hole on defense not because of anything physical; he simply doesn’t feel like guarding most of the time. The over reliance on his ability and the lack of any kind of attempt to curb his dominance on the floor with a Plan B is now hitting this team straight in the face.
Making the head coach someone who might help develop players but has zero control over what goes on the court helped lead to this as well. The Rockets are Daryl Morey’s team. It’s a great organization to sign for, with an owner that wants to win but doesn’t put impossible pressure on those under him. But this makes the head coach expendable, and the players know it. Harden could do whatever he wanted on the court. McHale had to work around that, but when it’s such a central issue on this team, it’s hard to make it work 100% smoothly.
The Rockets do have some problems they can’t control. Dwight Howard is rested every two or three games, which never helps, but he’s also on a decline on both ends of the floor. Patrick Beverley is never healthy; the team let go of Josh Smith foolishly after making him fit quite well in their system; and the signing of Ty Lawson is backfiring on them, not to mention that he might be going to jail instead of being the tiebreaker for the Rockets in the West.
Rumors often don’t turn out to be true, but there was nothing surprising to hear about players who have had enough of Harden and his lack of effort on the floor. He responded to that with an offensive explosion, but soon went back to his old ways. Missing, and then trying to make up for that by not giving a damn about defense and missing some more bad shots offensively. Don’t be fooled by his 10 assists in their recent loss, this time to the Knicks. At this point of the season, with his teammates reacting to him like this, Harden is more harm than good for the Houston Rockets.
According to Yibida.com, “Dwight Howard could walk away from the Houston Rockets before this season’s trade deadline amid building tensions within the Rockets organization”.
The article would go on to state, “The meeting was centered on clearing the air and communication within the players as reported by ESPN. But according to Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, one of the center pieces of the players-only meeting was unhappiness with Rockets superstar James Harden’s style of play. The report revealed that Harden’s ‘aloofness’ has frustrated his teammates, with McHale taking the brunt of the issue.”
It’s no secret that James Harden has a different type of personality than most NBA stars. When he plays, it just seems like he doesn’t care. He doesn’t put any effort on the defensive end and only cares about scoring. There’s been countless time sHarden lost his man on defense and to a defensive minded player like Howard, that can be pretty disturbing.
Harden’s attitude also seems to be a problem as the article states that he can come across as aloof. Harden doesn’t own up to his mistakes and Dwight may leave.
Dwight Howard is known for leaving situations if he doesn’t feel comfortable and with all that’s going on in Houston, there’s a great chance he may leave during free agency; but if he’s frustrated throughout this season, he may demand a trade.
The Rockets’ problem is not Dwight Howard. He’s been unhealthy and injured, but when he plays, he makes a great impact on the defensive end. Now the Rockets do need scorers, but Howard hasn’t been an elite scorer since his days in Orlando. Howard is definitely an issue, but there may be a bigger one with Harden and his ego.
The Houston Rockets are imploding and it wouldn’t be surprising if they traded Dwight Howard. The Howard/Harden experiment hasn’t worked the minute it was formed and the Rockets should get as many pieces as they can. We all know how Howard gets when he’s in situations he doesn’t like and if the rumors are true, he may be a distraction to a team that’s already heading south.