Rockets Notes: Wood, Mathews, Fertitta, Injury Timetables

Rockets center Christian Wood discussed his role in Houston’s recent turnaround, writes Kelly Iko of The Athletic. The Rockets, winners of six straight games, have moved their way up to a still-bad 7-16 record on the 2021/22 season, in no small part thanks to Wood becoming the lone big man for much of his time on the floor. The 26-year-old is currently averaging 16.5 PPG, 11.1 RPG, and 1.1 BPG, with a shooting line of .466/.368/.574. In the win streak, Wood has boosted those counting stats to 19.3 PPG, 11.3 RPG and 1.8 BPG.

“So my job is just to make sure everybody touches the ball,” Wood said of his role as a calming influence in the Rockets offense. “Make sure everybody’s not going to so many isos and it’s not as contagious. Because once you start getting contagious, it gets a little bad, gets a little stagnant. We start taking bad shots, and my job is just to make sure everybody’s cool, everybody’s touching the ball and tapped in.”

There’s more out of Houston:

  • The Rockets appear to have uncovered a new floor-spacing threat in their win streak, thanks to the emergence of Garrison Mathews, writes Rahat Huq of the Houston Chronicle. The 6’5″ shooting guard is averaging 11.9 PPG and 3.1 RPG across 10 games with Houston and owns a shooting line of .488/.420/.800. The three-point percentage is particularly encouraging, as the 25-year-old is taking a volume 6.9 triples per game. Beyond simply excellent percentages, Mathews also has helped open up the club’s offense as the team’s only real catch-and-shoot threat who can operate on the run. Huq observes that Mathews now boasts the best efficiency differential for the Rockets, meaning that the team’s offensive output is better with him on the floor than without him at a level beyond anyone else on the team.
  • Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has discussed how the team’s approach to a full-on tank will help the club re-shape its roster for the long haul, per Rahat Huq of the Houston Chronicle. “We don’t want to be one of those building programs that are just mediocre for four years or five years,” Fertitta said of the team’s plans going forward. “And when you’ve been as good as we were for so many years, yeah, we could have had the eighth seed in the playoffs or the ninth seed. But it’s better to tear it apart and start over and build up again. It will last for many years to come.” Huq praises Fertitta for acquiescing to deals that sent out veteran win-now players like P.J. Tucker and Victor Oladipo last season. Along these lines, Huq wonders if the team will look to ship out current veterans like Wood and Eric Gordon in exchange for either young players with upside or future draft equity.
  • There is no return timeline yet for the starting Rockets backcourt of Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green, writes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Green continues to recuperate from a hamstring injury that has kept him on the shelf for the Rockets’ five previous games, all victories. Porter suffered a thigh injury and missed Sunday’s contest. “Kevin, we’re still kind of evaluating what is necessary but he is doing his treatment and we’ll have an update sooner or later,” head coach Stephen Silas said.
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