New Rockets center Christian Wood has been a revelation on offense in Houston so far, but in order to maximize his overall impact, he needs to become a more consistently reliable rim protector, as Kelly Iko of The Athletic writes.
“For us to be a great defense, it’s all about protection in the paint, protecting that rim,” Eric Gordon said on Monday. “If guards come down and they have to think about scoring over Christian Wood, that’s gonna help us.”
According to Iko, rebounding is also an area the Rockets will need to improve. When the team was playing micro-ball last season, its poor rebounding numbers were understandable, but those struggles have carried over to the early part of 2020/21, even with Wood and other big men now part of the rotation. Houston currently ranks 29th in rebounding percentage.
Here’s more on the Rockets:
- While James Harden has made it clear that he wants to be traded out of Houston, he still has to prove what sort of sacrifices he’s willing to make if he wants to win a championship, writes Howard Beck of Sports Illustrated. Some executives who spoke to Beck were skeptical that the former MVP would readily change his playing style to help a new team. “James is like Allen Iverson: He wants to win his way and put up historical numbers while he’s winning,” one veteran Eastern Conference executive said. “I would never question their desire to win, but they all want to win on their terms.”
- Ben McLemore and KJ Martin, who were self-isolating after reportedly testing positive for COVID-19, have returned to the team but are focusing on improving their conditioning and aren’t traveling to Indiana for Wednesday’s game, says Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Danuel House, who continues to be nagged by a sore back, also won’t be with the club for that game.
- In a separate article for The Houston Chronicle, Feigen takes a look at the strong start Sterling Brown has enjoyed after signing with the Rockets as a free agent in November.
- Kelly Iko and Tim Cato of The Athletic revisit Stephen Silas‘ days as an assistant coach with the Mavericks and explore how that position helped prepare him for his first head coaching job in Houston.