The Houston Rockets are a well-known franchise that have had great players and championships to go along with them. The Rockets have boasted players like Clyde Drexler, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kenny (The Jet) Smith, and even Charles Barkley. As a dominant franchise in the 90’s they gave every opponent a run for their money. However, though it was fun to watch them play in the early 2000’s when they acquired young talent — Steve Francis, Tracy Mcgrady, Rafer Alston, and Yao Ming — during the playoffs they always came up short to other top teams like the Lakers and the Mavericks.
Although it seems they have acquired talent that will make them contenders for the NBA Championship this season, they will not get a chance to taste that opportunity. James Harden signed with them in 2012 and had a breakout year as a starter, taking them to the playoffs, but losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round. People were amazed at how fast he developed into an All-Star for that team. Chandler Parsons also showed that he was a dominant force on the court and that he possessed the potential to get this squad to the “promised land.” Then Linsanity came around and everyone loved the way this team had been put together. But, they were missing one good piece, and oh man, did they fill that space. Dwight Howard signed with them for the 2014 season and everyone from analysts to fans said that they were a top three team because of Dwight Howard and his dominance. I, on the other hand, was not enthused by the pick-up. I think that James Harden and Chandler Parsons are going to be top players in this league for a long time. Dwight Howard on the other hand is a different story.
Dwight came from the Magic to the Lakers and now he plays for the Rockets. The man has been in the league 10 years and he has been to the finals one time in his career, losing to the Lakers in 2009 (almost getting swept). He has a chance now to dominate on a team where he is the main focus — besides James Harden — to take that franchise back to the “promised land.” He has shown no improvement in his game, but for some reason he has stayed in the league for this long.
When he went to the Lakers and played with the 5 time champion Kobe Bryant, he cried the entire season about not getting the ball enough. Everyone said, “Well, he was hurt and coming straight off a back surgery.” Dwight Howard was not tough enough to play through injuries and he wasn’t tough enough to take the spotlight of being a Laker. There were stories that he wanted the franchise to turn the team over to him. I was continually amazed at what came out of his mouth because Kobe IS the Lakers and he has 5 rings to show for it. Dwight has no rings and no elite game, but wanted to be the face of one of the greatest franchises in NBA history. I laughed when I heard the news about that. Then he entered free agency where Houston called his name and he answered. Houston thought, “Ok, we have a great guard in James Harden and a small forward in Chandler Parsons so we can add Dwight and have a dominant team.” I don’t see the dominance he supposedly has because when it comes down to him needing to score and have a presence on the court he disappears when the Rockets need him the most.
Their next opponent, the Bucks, should be fairly easy to beat. Then they have to play Portland, Sacramento, Memphis, San Antonio, and Dallas to end the month of January. I only see them winning one game from that list, and that is against Dallas, if Dirk and Monta have a bad game. Anytime he plays teams that have big men who are just as strong as he is, he will not do anything on the court but foul and cry. They just played Oklahoma at home in Houston and he had 11 points and 8 rebounds. The “dominant center” Dwight Howard had that on the scoreboard while Serge Ibaka had 21 points and 15 rebounds. Again, someone who is just as strong as he is will frustrate him and he will shut down and then say the team didn’t play well. If you are supposed to be the best defensive player on the floor then you need to be the general and get everyone else on your level. But that is the biggest problem of all because he does not have the backbone to say what needs to be said when it needs to be said; “It’s my fault we lost”. Houston will have a problem for the rest of the season if Dwight doesn’t man up, start developing his game and taking responsibility for his role on the court.