Is James Harden Right About The Rockets Being One Player Away?

Is James Harden Right About The Rockets Being One Player Away? | Sports Takes & News |

Leave it to James Harden to blame everyone associated with the Houston Rockets after his team was on Saturday by the Los Angeles Lakers. “The Beard” said that the team was “one player away” from being a championship contender, with current Rockets’ head coach Mike D’Antoni admitting they were outplayed at their own “small ball” game by LeBron James and company over their five-game series defeat. So, as the Rockets begin their offseason, is James Harden right, are they one player away, or does the franchise need to admit they don’t have the players to win a championship, and they need to blow things up and start over?

James Harden said, “It’s very, very frustrating” after the Houston Rockets were ousted from the playoffs without even reaching the Western Conference Finals.  “The Beard” looked at things from very personal point of view when he added, “. . . the amount of work that individually I put in. I’m just gonna keep chipping away. I feel like we’re a piece away.”

Head coach Mike D’Antoni, who own job status is somewhat up in the air without a contract for next season, was asked if the Houston Rockets can continue to play their so-called “small ball style and have success in the postseason.  “Ask the Lakers. They beat us with it. Golden State has proven that,” was his response.

Where Harden is right and D’Antoni is wrong is simple to understand, both the Lakers and Warriors have other ways to beat teams, whereas the Rockets cannot if their style of shooting in seven seconds or less isn’t working.  They don’t have an Anthony Davis like Los Angeles does, or have the low-post players that Golden State used to keep defenses honest while “The Splash Brothers” were raining down threes.  And when you only have one way to win a game, over a seven-game series, teams will find a way to smother you just enough to win if they have enough talent to match up against you.  This is the current treadmill the Houston Rockets are walking on.

Adding another player to the Rockets’ roster won’t be easy, with four players on the books for over $100 Million in salary next season, Houston would need to rework their players contracts in order to change their chances of winning in the postseason.  While it’s not likely that Harden, a personal favorite of Rockets’ GM Daryl Morey, would be traded, once the team figured out what to do with their head coach, they will need to take a hard, honest look at their roster.

For me, their best move would be to trade Russell Westbrook for a more reliable second player to put alongside Harden, or, to be more drastic, blow up the roster as much as they can by having a fire sale and start from scratch.  This might be the better, yet more painful option, but the only one that works since right now, all the Houston Rockets are is a middle of the pack regular season team without the players needed to make a deep run in the postseason.  Rebuilding will allow the Rockets to be a team of the future, a future that will not see LeBron James in Purple and Gold, opening up the Western Conference for a new leader of the pack, something Houston is never going to do with Harden leading the way in the playoffs. 

Give James Harden what he wants, another piece to play with. Just let him do it on another team, because we have seen enough of what the Rockets can and can’t do with “The Beard,” there is not point in playing this game again next season. 


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