Hello Lazies.

Since James Harden’s trade that sent ‘the beard’ to the East, the Houston Rockets have transformed themselves into a defensive juggernaut and one of the NBA’s most promising teams.

Before the trade, Houston was 3-and-6, ranking 17th in offense and 21st in defense. But now, the Rockets are 7-and-4 and 2nd in defense. Offensively, they’re still around the middle, but it’s their defense that’s made the massive impact. According to John Wall, the explanation for the turnaround is pretty simple: “We had people who didn’t want to be here.”

But there’s more to the Rockets than simply fixing their Harden issue. It’s proven that the Houston stars are performing up to their capability, with four players averaging at least 17.8 points per game – Wall, Victor Oladipo, Christian Wood, and Eric Gordon – with Wood leading the way at 22.3.

PGJohn WallVictor OladipoEric Gordon
SGVictor OladipoEric GordonBen McLemore
SFJae’Sean TateDanuel House Jr.David Nwaba
PFP.J. TuckerJae’Sean TateDanuel House Jr.
CChristian WoodDeMarcus CousinsP.J. Tucker

Looking at this roster above, nearly every player has a chip on their shoulder. Wall and Oladipo were dumped by their former franchises. Wood and Demarcus Cousins have been cut or moved too many times to count. Even their head coach, Stephen Silas, is an underdog of sorts, waiting two decades to get his first head coaching gig. The Rockets have clearly moved on from James Harden, and a new identity is forming that could pave the way to a new era of success.

Catch you Monday.