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Cheap Seats: Coaches Who Need to go

In the latest edition of cheap seats, Basketball Insiders’ interns take a look at the head coaches in the league who need to be replaced for the start of next season.

Basketball Insiders



Every season, we welcome in a new group of interns and typically their work is done primarily behind the scenes. But now that the current group has been around for awhile, we’re giving them a platform to voice their thoughts on the NBA. Each week, Basketball Insiders’ interns Jesse Blancarte, Cody Taylor and John Zitzler will discuss a topic related to the league in Cheap Seats.

This week, the interns discuss which head coaches need to be let go

Mark Jackson

Being a coach in the NBA today can be tough. Last season Vinny Del Negro, George Karl and Lionel Hollins all lost their jobs after having notable success with their teams. Del Negro coached the Los Angeles Clippers to their best season in franchise history, Karl did the same with the Denver Nuggets and won Coach of the Year; Lionel Hollins led one of the best defensive teams, the Memphis Grizzlies, to the Western Conference Finals.

It seems pretty harsh, but the reality is coaches are on tighter leashes than ever, and will be removed when it seems that they are not the right person to take a talented team to the next level. Even coaches like Scott Brooks in Oklahoma City and Frank Vogel are facing pressure with their teams struggling so far in the first round. After three seasons with Golden State, it seems like Mark Jackson may not be the coach that can take the Warriors to that next level.

Jackson was brought in as a rookie head coach with no prior experience. He was never an assistant, never a front office executive, never a head coach. That’s not actually a problem, especially with other coaches like Jason Kidd in Brooklyn and Jeff Hornacek in Phoenix having success as rookie coaches with no past experience. However, what is problematic is that Jackson has heavily relied on his assistants to come up with the tactical strategies while he has in many ways been a figure head, and source of motivation for his players.

Last season Jackson looked to Mike Malone for the majority of the team’s tactical strategies. Unfortunately for Golden State, the Sacramento Kings hired away Malone and left Jackson without his lead assistant. Then, earlier this season, Jackson demoted assistant coach Brian Scalabrine to the Warriors’ D-League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, citing a difference in philosophies. Then in early April, the team fired assistant coach Darren Erman, for “a violation of company policy”, which again left Jackson without his top tactician, this time on the eve of the playoffs. While it’s possible that the issues with both Scalabrine and Erman went beyond Jackson’s control, it is disconcerting that Jackson’s discord with the Golden State front office stems in large part from his inability to manage his assistant coaches.

This season the Warriors went 51-31 in the regular season, and had the third best defense in the league. Golden State is currently locked into a tough series with the explosive Los Angeles Clippers, and are heading into Sunday’s game down 2-1. Without defensive anchor Andrew Bogut, the Warriors face an uphill battle as they try and find a way to slow down Blake Griffin.

During its coverage of Game 3, TNT showed footage from the Warrior’s huddle, where Jackson spent the majority of the time talking about playing harder and being aggressive, repeating the line “battle and compete.” In the same segment, Doc Rivers was briefly shown talking about defensive strategy, the importance of player movement and reminding his players to get the ball out in transition where they have a clear advantage. While this was just a glimpse into each coach’s in game interaction with their players, it seems to match up with the perception that Rivers is the more tactically sound coach.

Also, with players as offensively gifted as Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala (underrated playmaker) and David Lee, the Warriors should have a higher rated offense. While Jackson deserves credit for molding this team into a strong defensive unit, he needs to be held accountable for his inability to make the Warriors a top offensive team.

This team has all the pieces to be a championship contender. It has young talent, veteran experience, wing defenders, a defensive anchor in Andrew Bogut when he’s healthy, perimeter shooting, versatility and a superstar in Curry. However, the team is clearly outmatched in its series against the Clippers and a huge part of that is Doc Rivers out-maneuvering Jackson. In fairness to Jackson, he is without his defensive anchor Bogut, who is out with a broken rib. If Bogut were healthy, the Warriors would have a chance of slowing down Griffin. Without Bogut, the Warriors seem to have no answer for the athletic power forward.

In addition, Jackson has the support of key players, like Andre Iguodala, who said that the team is playing to save their coach’s job. A huge portion of coaching is having the players try their hardest for their coach, but in this case it seems to not be enough.

Jackson is in a similar situation as Del Negro was last year. He has proven that he can coach a talented team into the playoffs, but it is questionable as to whether he has the experience or tactical-skill to push his team to the Finals. While it seems harsh, no one today would dispute that the Clippers made the right move by removing Del Negro and replacing him with Doc Rivers. While there may not be another championship coach waiting for the Warriors to call, there are plenty of names available that could turn this team into an offensive juggernaut, even someone like Alvin Gentry, assistant coach to Doc Rivers and head of the Clipper’s league-leading offense.

As previously stated, Jackson is not necessarily a bad coach. But the Warriors have enough talent to compete for a championship and they can’t squander that opportunity by hoping and waiting for Jackson to become a championship-caliber coach.

– Jesse Blancarte

Mike Brown

Perhaps no team has been more disappointing than the Cavaliers. A team that features Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Luol Deng and Dion Waiters should be in the playoffs. With a roster with names like those, the blame has to be pointed toward head coach Mike Brown. Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert elected to keep Brown earlier in the season when he fired general manager Chris Grant rather than firing both of them. Gilbert could have been saving himself the trouble of firing Brown due to his five-year, $20 million deal he signed last year. Another theory could be Gilbert wants to retain Brown as a possible selling point to bring LeBron James back should James opt to become a free agent this summer. It seems as though Brown has lost the team, and a change may be needed. Reports surfaced earlier this year when Deng told a close friend that the stuff going on in Cleveland would not have been tolerated in Chicago. Deng came from Chicago where there is structure and accountability, which apparently does not exist in Cleveland. A report from the NY Daily News stated that numerous Cavaliers players were out late in New York partying with members of the Knicks before losing by 31 points to that very team. Brown has lost the Cavaliers and the team may be in jeopardy of losing out on extending Irving long-term because of it.

Larry Drew

At just 15 wins, Drew is a coach that has to go. When things go sideways for a team, the organization really learns a lot about one another and it seems like Drew has lost the players in Milwaukee. A team like the Orlando Magic has endured two-straight losing seasons with head coach Jacque Vaughn, but there have been no reports of Vaughn losing his players even in the bad times. The same can’t be said with Drew, who has drawn criticism from O.J. Mayo. “It’s hard to get a rhythm when you know what’s going to happen for you night in and night out,” Mayo told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “You may get six minutes or 30 minutes. There’s no staple to what we’re doing. You hang in there, compete and keep it close.” In Drew’s system, players like Mayo and Larry Sanders have regressed. Mayo averaged a career low in minutes and field goal percentage last season, while also recording the second-lowest scoring output in his career. The Bucks are at a critical point in their franchise with a high draft pick coming in June’s draft, and players like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Josh Henson and Nate Wolters gaining more NBA experience. The Bucks may not want to hold the fate of those players in Drew’s hands and should look to make a move this off season.

Monty Williams

Based off of the moves the Pelicans made over last off season, they are in a win-now atmosphere. Why the Pelicans picked this year with Anthony Davis only completing just his second season is anyone’s guess, but the fact remains the team wants to win now. While Williams is regarded around the league as someone who could have a good coaching career, that opportunity may not come in New Orleans. Williams’ record with the team is 128-184 in four seasons. The Pelicans were decimated by injuries this past season, but question marks still remains around Williams. The Pelicans remain one of the worst teams in terms of defense, and the offense isn’t much better. Williams was regarded as a defensive-minded coach just a couple of seasons ago, but has dropped off significantly. The players on defensive sometimes look lost and more often than not are out of position. Davis has tremendous speed for his size, but can’t guard the entire floor. Williams is another coach that mismanages his rotations, often giving too many minutes to a player like Brian Roberts, who becomes a defensive liability. The time may have come for Williams in New Orleans.

– Cody Taylor

Mike D’Antoni

D’Antoni had the difficult task this season of trying to manage a shorthanded roster while still living up to the high expectations from that come with being the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers were depleted with injuries all season; only three players (Johnson, Meeks and Hill) on the team were able to play more than 70 games, and of course future hall of famer Kobe Bryant only played in six games during 2013-2014 campaign. The two players with the most starts for the team were Jodie Meeks and Wesley Johnson, which certainly wasn’t the plan going into the season.

D’Antoni was able to implement his up-tempo style, the Lakers finished second in pace but even with the team pushing the ball up the court at every opportunity the offense wasn’t great. The Lakers finished 21st in offensive rating and 14th in the league in field goal percentage. Not terrible but when you consider how bad the Lakers were on the defensive end (30th defensive rating) it just wasn’t good enough most nights.

The bigger concern and what might ultimately lead to D’Antoni’s demise is the lack of support from some the players, most notably Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. It’s been reported the Bryant has “no interest” in playing for D’Antoni and on Dan Patrick’s radio show Bryant said he “didn’t know” if D’Antoni deserved another year as the leader of the Lakers. As for Gasol it’s became pretty apparent the he is not in D’Antoni’s corner either. Gasol wrote in his personal blog that there would need to be “significant changes” for him to consider returning to the Lakers.

If the Lakers have any aspirations of competing next year, the first order of business needs to be making sure they are on the same page with Bryant. The best option seems be getting rid D’Antoni after two seasons with the franchise. The lack of support coupled with the team’s abysmal performance on the defensive end makes it hard to envision a scenario where keeping D’Antoni ends well.

Larry Drew

The new ownership of Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens leaves Larry Drew in a very tenuous position. He will be entering the second year of a four year deal with the team after finishing with the worst record in the league. Like D’Antoni and the Lakers the Bucks also were hampered with injuries throughout the season. It may be unfair to Drew but with the owners could certainly want bring in their own guy and start fresh. Drew had some success in Atlanta which may help his case but that was with a much more talented roster not a rebuilding group as he was tasked with this previous season.

The Bucks who already have one very talented young player in place in Giannis Antetokounmpo will have the chance to land another in the draft. The development of Antetokounmpo along with the Bucks top four pick will be crucial to the success of the team going forward. It may be best to bring in a younger guy, a Brad Stevens type, to come in and help grow the youth. Kevin Ollie is one name that comes to mind but it may be hard to pry him away from his alma mater after winning a national championship. Drew has proven he can lead a team with an established roster to some playoff success but that is far from the situation in Milwaukee. It may be unfair to Drew so early in his tenure but the team cannot afford to wait if they feel they can find a more suitable option for the team in its current state.

Mike Brown

In the lowly the Eastern Conference a talented roster that included electric point guard Kyrie Irving along with former all-star Luol Deng, finished just 33-49 and fell short of the playoffs. The team had expectations of a playoff berth and with the East being so down this year it shouldn’t have been too difficult, especially considering the type of talent he had work with. However, the team never seemed to really mesh and build a winning chemistry.

With Irving approaching a contract extension the coach will certainly factor into his decision on whether to stay in Cleveland or consider his options elsewhere. This of course is Brown’s second tour with the team and was faced with a similar scenario in 2010 when he was fired in an attempt to keep LeBron James in Cleveland, obviously unsuccessful.

There were rumors of unrest amongst the players in the locker room and in February a source close to the team was quoted saying “it’s pretty much a mess” in regards to the team environment. Brown struggled to gain the respect of some of the bigger names on the team, namely Irving and Waiters. One Cavs player spoke to Akron Beacon Journal in February about Irving saying “he’s acting like he doesn’t care” and a league source speaking on Waiters said “That’s Dion. He’s been like that since he got here. He doesn’t think anything is his fault. He’s actually better about it this year than he was last year.” From the outside looking in it appears that Brown really didn’t have much control in the locker room and that there was some animosity amongst some of the players towards Waiters and Irving. If the Cavs want to bring back Irving, it doesn’t look like Brown is the answer. If he hasn’t been able to earn the respect of Irving this year it’s hard to imagine anything changing going forward if Brown remains the head coach. It may not be fair to Brown but it seems that he just isn’t a good fit with the roster in place and if keeping Irving is the goal the Cavs must consider other options.

– John Zitzler

Which NBA coaches do you think need to be replaced? Leave your thoughts below!




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NBA Daily: Checking In With Terrance Ferguson

Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Terrance Ferguson talks to Basketball Insiders about learning from his teammates, earning minutes and being mentally tough.

Ben Nadeau



Before he reached the NBA, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Terrance Ferguson was once often referred to as a man of mystery. After changing course on two different programs in a two-month span, Ferguson ditched the typical one-and-done collegiate season for an adventure on the other side of the planet. But even after the Thunder selected Ferguson with the No. 21 overall pick in last year’s draft — the questions still lingered. How would a teenager with one season overseas adjust to the world’s most physical basketball league?

Not many rookies can contribute to a 40-plus win squad out in the cutthroat Western Conference so quickly — but down the stretch, here Ferguson is doing just that. With the Thunder locked in a tight playoff battle with six others teams, the 19-year-old’s hard-working personality has fit alongside the roster’s three perennial All-Stars — Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. And although his rookie season has come with some growing pains, Ferguson is earning meaningful minutes and making the most of them.

“I think it’s my work ethic, I come in every day with the same mentality,” Ferguson said. “I work my butt off — inside the game, being physical. Even though I’m a skinny guy, as everyone can see, I’m still everywhere on the floor being physical. I think [the coaching staff] really likes that, especially on the defensive end.”

Skinny or not, Ferguson is one of the league’s youngest players, so the 6-foot-7 guard has plenty of room to grow — literally. But for now, he’s playing an integral role on an Oklahoma City team looking to protect its high postseason seed. Late January brought the unfortunate season-ending injury to Andre Roberson — an All-Defensive Second Team honoree in 2016-17 — so the Thunder have needed both new and old players to step up in bigger roles.

While those candidates included the three-point shooting Alex Abrines, veteran Raymond Felton and the newly-acquired Corey Brewer, Ferguson’s recent rise in the rotation has arguably been the most interesting development. Since the calendar flipped to January, Ferguson has featured in almost all of the Thunder’s games, tallying just two DNP-CDs and one missed contest following a concussion. This steady diet of opportunity comes as a stark contrast to the 15 games in which he received no playing time, spanning from the season’s opening tip to the new year.

Of course, playing time is not always indicative of success, but Ferguson himself isn’t surprised that he’s carved out a crucial role ahead of the playoffs.

“Not really, it’s all up to coach’s decision,” Ferguson told Basketball Insiders. “I’m just here playing my part, staying ready at all times and some minutes came, so I’mma take them and play to the best of my ability.”

Back in October, Basketball Insiders’ own Joel Brigham spoke to Ferguson about his unconventional path to NBA and the choice to spend a year grinding with the Adelaide 36ers, an Australian outfit. In the land down under, Ferguson averaged just 15 minutes a night, considerably less than he would’ve likely received as a highly-recruited prospect here in America. Some five months later, Ferguson’s early-season stance on the move still stands out.

“I’m living the dream now, right? I must have done the right thing,” Ferguson said.

Today, it’s hard to disagree with Ferguson’s decisions considering that they’re currently paying off. In 2009, Brandon Jennings became the first to skip college and play in Europe before being drafted, with Emmanuel Mudiay most notably following in his footsteps six years later. While those two point guards both were selected in the top ten of their draft classes — at No. 10 and No. 7, respectively — it still remains the road far less traveled.

Considered raw by most pre-draft evaluations, an early expectation was that Ferguson would spend much of the season with the Oklahoma City Blue, the Thunder’s G-League affiliate. Instead, Ferguson has played in only three games with the Blue, where he has averaged a commendable 14.7 points, four rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.

But as of late, the Thunder have found somebody that’ll always work hard, learn from others and do the little things that don’t show up in the box score.

“I’ve learned a lot more from when I first started,” Ferguson told Basketball Insiders. “I got great teammates — I got Nick Collison, I got Russ, PG, Melo, so just picking their brains. I got Corey now, so just the work ethic they put in, just picking their brains each and every day about what I can do better, watching game film, it’s a lot of things.”

When he was drafted, Ferguson had a reputation as a skyscraping leaper with the athleticism to become an elite perimeter defender. Although his current averages with the Thunder understate his innate potential, Ferguson knows he can contribute without scoring — even noting that he can make up for it “on the other side of the court.” Playing defense and competing hard every night, he has slowly made a name for himself.

And while Ferguson has tallied far more single-digit scoring outings than his 24-point breakout performance in early January, he’s earned the trust of head coach Billy Donovan and his veteran teammates, which is something the rookie will never take for granted.

“Coach believes in me and that means a lot to me,” Ferguson said. “But my teammates believe in me, so I’m not gonna let them down. I’m gonna go out every day and play my hardest, compete and try to get the win each and every night.”

One might assume that his year abroad in Australia helped to mentally mold him into the high-flying, hard-nosed rookie we see today. Ferguson, however, contends that he’s had that edge from the very beginning.

“I’ve been mentally tough, it wasn’t overseas that did that,” Ferguson told Basketball Insiders. “I had to be mentally tough just to go over there — so I’ve always had that mentality, the [desire] to just dominate, play to the best of my ability and compete.”

And now he’s doing just that in the NBA.

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Is Kyrie Irving’s Second Opinion a Cause for Concern?

Shane Rhodes breaks down the tough situation the Celtics are in with Kyrie Irving.

Shane Rhodes



The Boston Celtics are in one awful predicament.

With a third of the roster out due to injury, Brad Stevens has been forced into the impossible task of maintaining Boston’s championship aspirations with some subpar talent; while they have performed admirably, the likes of Abdel Nader and Semi Ojeleye wouldn’t see the same run they are currently on with most contenders. Gordon Hayward has missed the entire season, save a few minutes on opening night. Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Daniel Theis are all currently out, some for the year and others not. Key contributors Al Horford, Marcus Morris and others have missed time as well.

It couldn’t get worse, could it?

Well, it may just have. Reports surfaced Tuesday that Irving, who had missed time this season — including the last four games — with left knee soreness, is seeking a second opinion after a lack of progress in his recovery.

In the wake of the Isaiah Thomas fiasco and his ailing hip last Summer, an injury that lingered deep into this season, the Celtics will likely be more than cautious with Irving, whom they gave up a haul (the rights to the 2018 Brooklyn Nets first round pick, most notably), to acquire. But one can only wonder if these persistent issues — Irving’s left knee was surgically repaired after he sustained a fractured kneecap in 2015, and he reportedly threatened the Cleveland Cavaliers with surgery this offseason before his trade to Boston — are a cause for concern for general manager Danny Ainge and the Celtics.

The situation presents the Celtics with a quandary, to say the least.

Knee injuries aren’t exactly a death-knell, but fans need not look far for to see the devastating effect they can have on NBA players (e.g. Derrick Rose). They can snowball and, over time, even the best players will break down. Regardless of the severity, Irving’s knee issue presents problems both now and in the future.

The problems now are obvious: the Celtics, already down Gordon Hayward, cannot afford to lose Irving if they are at all interested in making a Finals run this season. Boston struggles mightily on the offensive end when Irving and his 24.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists aren’t on the court. In a playoff atmosphere, especially, the team would sorely miss his scoring prowess.

Looking ahead, if Irving is dealing with these problems at the age of 25, what could the future hold for the All-Star guard? Knee issues, most lower body issues in general, are often of the chronic variety, and constant maintenance can wear on people, both mentally and physically.

Just a season separated from a likely super-max payday, will the Celtics want to commit big-money long-term to potentially damaged goods?

If there is a silver lining in it all, it is the fact that 20-year-old rookie Jayson Tatum must now shoulder the scoring load, something that should go a long way in building on the potential that made him the No. 3 overall pick last June. And, should Irving miss the remainder of this season, exposure to the fires of the playoffs should only temper the Celtics’ young roster. In the event that Irving’s absence isn’t prolonged, time like this could only serve to strengthen the roster around him.

Still, Ainge brought Irving to Boston for a reason: he was meant to lead the Celtics into battle, alongside Gordon Hayward and Al Horford, in their quest for a title. Obviously, he can’t do that from the bench. Without Irving at 100 percent, the Celtics are not a championship caliber squad, healthy Gordon Hayward or not. That fact alone will make Irving’s situation one to monitor going forward and for the foreseeable future.

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NBA Daily: Houston Has It All

Deciphering whether Houston is a contender or pretender is tough, but they’re making it easy.

Lang Greene



It is very easy to get caught up in the NBA regular-season hyperbole. The past is littered with a plethora of NBA teams that looked like world-beaters in the regular season only to pull up lame in the playoffs and emerge as a bunch of pretenders.

So when it comes to the Houston Rockets, it’s no surprise many pundits and fans of the game fall heavily on one side or the other. The 2017-18 Rockets are a polarizing squad in that respect. On one side of the fence, you have the folks that are struggling to get behind Houston until they see how the franchise performs in the playoffs under the brightest of lights and on the biggest of stages. On the other, folks that place a great deal of weight on the 82-game regular season and the ability to sustain consistency throughout the marathon.

As always, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

At the top of Houston’s lineup are two future Hall of Famers in James Harden and Chris Paul. The latter was a perennial star in his heyday and is still a top-tier talent in the league. Harden, on the other hand, is closing in on his first MVP award and had serious cases for winning the honors in prior seasons, as well. Both Harden and Paul are criticized for their past playoff failures.

Paul entered the league during the 2006 season and has been dogged by the ever looming fact that he’s never reached a Conference Finals. Harden has been to the NBA Finals but has been dogged for multiple playoff missteps and shaky performances that remain etched in everyone’s memory. But something about this season’s Rockets team (57-14) seems different as the duo closes in on 60 wins.

One way to measure the true greatness of a NBA team is evaluating how many ways the roster can win playing a variety of styles. From the eyeball test, Houston checks the boxes in this category. The team sustains leads during blowouts. They have an offense built to erase large deficits quickly. The team possesses the talent to employ an array of versatile lineups to withstand top heat from opposing teams. Head coach Mike D’Antoni has shown the ability to adjust on the fly during certain situations. Houston is seemingly comprised of a bunch of guys that are selfless and ready to sacrifice at this stage of their respective careers.

Time will tell on all of those aforementioned aspects, but the Rockets are built to compete and win now. On paper at least, the team fits the criteria.

Floor Generalship

Paul has a chance to go down as a top five point guard in NBA history .His court vision is unquestioned and his big men always seem to end up being in the top five of field goal percentage each season (i.e. Tyson Chandler, DeAndre Jordan and now Clint Capela). In years past, the Rockets faltered down the stretch of games because the entire system ran through Harden. But this year’s club has the luxury of taking some of the on-ball expectation away from Harden and by giving the rock to Paul who naturally thrives in this role the squad doesn’t take a step back on the floor.

This is going to be big for Houston which has seen Harden gassed late in playoff games from carrying the entire load.

Small Ball Ready

Presumably standing between the Rockets and an appearance in the NBA Finals are the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors turned the NBA upside down with their free-flowing offense, long range accuracy and the successful ability to push the pace while playing small ball.

At the height of Golden State’s success they employed the “death lineup” which places All-Star forward Draymond Green at center. In different variations this gives the Warriors five guys on the court who can dribble, drive, pass and shoot. Versatility is important and if you look at this year’s Rockets team they have the ability to match the death lineup with their own version. Veteran forward P.J. Tucker would be able to guard Green in this scenario at center or Houston could just rely on the athleticism of Capela.


When it comes to defense, the Rockets will never be confused for the bad boy Detroit Pistons of yesteryear, however, the team has an assortment of individually capable defenders on the roster. Paul has all defensive team honors hanging on his mantle during his time in the league. Small forward Trevor Ariza made his bones in the league by placing an emphasis on defense. Before Capela emerged as a double-digit scorer, he was relied on as a defensive spark off the bench. Luc Mbah a Moute has a reputation and consistent track record of being a very willing defender.

Shooting, Versatility and Experience

All of this success, leads to the variation D’Antoni can put out onto the floor. The versatility to go with a small ball lineup or a lineup heavily skewed toward defenders is a luxury amenity. Houston also features five guys with 125 or more three-pointers made this season with Harden, Eric Gordon, Ariza, Paul and Ryan Anderson leading the way. A sixth, Tucker, should join the +100 club before season’s end. Veteran Gerald Green has only played 30 games with the franchise but has already knocked down 76 attempts from distance.

Experience is key as well. This year’s Rockets team features only one player under 25, receiving 25 or more minutes per night in the rotation. Look at NBA history, title winning teams are full of veterans not second or third year players.


Again, the Rockets will never be confused with the late 80s or early 90s Pistons but the team has more than a few guys that don’t shy away from contact or physical play. The collection of Nene, Tucker, Green and Ariza have had more than their share of shoving matches when things get heated on the floor.

With the start of the NBA playoffs (April 14) under a month away, the Rockets continue to build momentum toward a title run. Will Harden and Paul’s playoff demons from the past emerge or is their first true shot at greatness with a complete team? These questions will soon be answered.

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