At times it will look unorganized. Other times it will look ragged and disjointed. Then there will be the times when it looks flat out ugly. That’s OK, it will get better, I promise. When it comes to the 2013-14 Houston Rockets, the keyword will be patience.
Be prepared to see the Rockets get pushed in games where you wouldn’t expect them to get pushed, and don’t be surprised if they lose some of those contests. It’s OK, just be patient.
Don’t be surprised by early season turnovers and defensive breakdowns, especially with Dwight Howard in the middle of both. It’s expected. It’s part of the process. Just be patient.
If you take away one addition, this season’s Rockets aren’t that much different from the team that took the Toyota Center floor a year ago, but the one addition is a big one, and it changes a lot about what the Rockets will do offensively. That will take some time to get used too.
Howard demands post ups, and while it won’t be the most efficient offense in the world, it will be effective. He’ll shoot a decent percentage, not great, but decent, he’ll get to the foul line, and even though he won’t make a high percentage of his free throws, he’ll still be drawing fouls on opposing bigs, and it will also keep teams from getting out in transition against the Rockets defense. However, the early season problems won’t come when Howard gets the ball, getting him the ball will be the issue.
The entry pass has become a bit of a lost art in the NBA. It doesn’t seem like it should be all that tough, I mean it’s what, a 10 foot pass to a guy that is 7 foot tall with a giant wing-span? Piece of cake, right? Wrong. There are other things to consider, like angles, and passing lanes, and of course, the always-dangerous front. Don’t forget, not everyone is used to throwing entry passes, which the defense is trying to deny. There just aren’t a lot of post guys are worth getting the ball to that defenses are afraid of. Howard is one of them.
If you’ve had the chance to watch any of the Rockets preseason action then you already know about the offensive struggles the team has had early on, but there have also been issues on the other end, which like the problems on offense are expected.
Playing defense in the NBA isn’t just about guarding your man. Teams have schemes and there is help defense and rotations to worry about. It takes time to get used to, especially when the Rockets play Howard with Omer Asik. They played with each other in a game on Monday night for the first time and there were the expected breakdowns. How often has Dwight Howard ever had to guard someone far away from the basket in the last half dozen years?
Kevin McHale has said repeatedly during camp that the Rockets are a work in progress and have a long way to go. He’s right. You can’t flawlessly integrate a player like Dwight Howard into your team with just a short training camp. It takes time. It is a process. Just ask LeBron James. Three years ago after joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami the Heat started 8-7. Despite the bad start, that team has won the Eastern Conference three straight years and won the last two NBA titles.
If a week from tonight the Rockets are locked in a close, ugly game against the Charlotte Bobcats. Don’t fret. Even if they lose, don’t overreact. Be patient. In the end, it will all work out.
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