October 31, 2023
The Houston Rockets have had a rough start to the second phase of their rebuild. In their first three games, they suffered three consecutive losses, including a crushing defeat to the Orlando Magic, a close overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs, and a disappointing home opener loss to the Golden State Warriors.
The upcoming month doesn't offer any respite for the Rockets, as they face tough opponents like the Charlotte Hornets and the upstart Sacramento Kings. Will Houston be able to secure their first win?
Under new head coach Ime Udoka, the Rockets are trying to establish their identity. With new personnel on the team, they not only have to adapt to a new philosophy but also unlearn bad habits from the past three seasons. It's a challenging task, but there's no time for sympathy.
In the first two games, the Rockets relied heavily on Alperen Sengun, who had an impressive performance against the Magic and the Spurs. However, in the game against the Warriors, the team focused more on Jalen Green. The level of involvement of Sengun will be an ongoing theme for a young Rockets team that lacks an established offensive identity and playmaking.
Another important factor for the Rockets is the absence of Tari Eason, who provided size and athleticism in the frontcourt. His quickness and explosiveness would complement Sengun's game. It remains to be seen if coach Udoka will consider starting Eason alongside Sengun.
On a positive note, the Rockets' big-money free agent acquisitions, Fred VanVleet and Dillon Brooks, have performed well. VanVleet showcased his scoring and playmaking abilities against the Spurs, while Brooks has brought a level of defensive toughness to the team.
Although the Rockets' record may not reflect it, there has been improvement in their effort. Now, they eagerly await their first win.
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