At the beginning of the season, pretty much everyone assumed the Houston Rockets were going to be one of the worst teams in the league.
Sure enough, they were proving that theory correct when they lost a whopping 15 games in a row.
But since then, something wild has happened: the Rockets have become competitive.
In fact, they even won seven consecutive games, becoming the first team in any American sports league to have such a long winning streak immediately following such a long losing streak.
They’re not the number one team in the West but there are a few very positive, promising signs coming out of the Rockets.
3. They Are Doing Fine Without Green
Jalen Green was the number two draft pick this summer and most people thought he’d be the centerpiece of the Rockets moving forward.
He is an important part of the team – although he has had his fair share of problems – but he’s not the most important part of the team.
In fact, the Rockets have been doing some of their best work without Green, which is very encouraging news.
D.J. Augustin and Eric Gordon combine for 26 points on 8-10 shooting in the 4th quarter to complete the @HoustonRockets 19-point comeback!@TheofficialEG10: 32 PTS, 10 in 4Q 🚀@augustinDj14: 22 PTS, 16 in 4Q 🚀 pic.twitter.com/Jr3mapLIwt
— NBA (@NBA) December 14, 2021
In fact, there are five players who average double-digit points every game.
In Green’s absence, other players have been able to perfect their game and find ways to work together, and have formulated a very engaged, well-rounded squad that is doing far better than anyone expected.
2. Christian Wood Shines
Speaking of Wood, he has been having one heck of a season.
Wood is averaging 16.5 points and 11.1 rebounds a game and has become the heart and soul of the team.
Not nearly enough attention has been given to Christian Wood cooking Mo Bamba like this pic.twitter.com/ZTqDEIpOlH
— Donnywood (@DonKnock) December 5, 2021
After coach Stephen Silas decided to go with a smaller lineup and switched Wood from power forward to center, he really came alive and found his footing, playing the best basketball of his career.
In fact, Wood’s improvement leads us to our final point that should make any Rockets fan happy.
1. They Have Trade Options
Between Wood and a few other players, the Rockets have multiple trade options before them and that can help them become an even better team.
Wood, Gordon, and benched player John Wall could land a few important puzzle pieces via trades.
The Rockets could decide to trade these assets away for future draft picks or even cash them all in for a sizable-but-not-All-Star-level player to help improve the team.
In other words, they can take some of the talents they have and turn them into a long-term plan for success.
It might hurt some Rockets followers to see the team lose someone like Wood but it would be for the greater good and would go a long way to creating a blueprint for the team moving forward.
The Rockets just need to take a good look at themselves and decide what sort of team do they want to be: do they want to make a run with the squad they have now or are they willing to trade some pieces, possibly throw away the rest of this season, and look ahead to an even brighter future?
The Rockets have trade options and the better they play, the better those options will be.