Every-Thing Sports

Rockets power struggle

Rockets.com

The Rockets fell short of their ultimate goal again this season. Every team's ultimate goal is winning the NBA title. The Rockets, however, have made it known that they are obsessed with beating the Golden State Warriors. Some would say they had their best shot was this season (Kevin Durant being injured and missing time, plus Ayesha Curry putting her and Steph's love life out for all to opine on), others would argue last season was their best shot (a Chris Paul hamstring away). Either way, they fell short and had plenty of opportunities each time to dethrone the Warriors' dynasty.

News has come down lately that may speak into some chinks in the armor that may have led to the Rockets' demise the last couple seasons. It has been talked about on this site by Charlie Pallilo; Joel Blank (twice); Salman Ali (twice); Paul Muth; and by Lance Zierlien, John Granato, and Raheel Ramzanali (twice). I wrote about how the Rockets still have a place in the hearts of Houston sports fans compared to the Texans despite them losing to the Warriors. However, there may be a bigger opponent the team is fighting that may come from within.

Reading through the tea leaves of a Marc Stein quote tweet of Jonathan Feigen, may tell us more about what's to become of this iteration of the Rockets.If anything can be derived from these tea leaves, it's saying that Mike D'antoni may either be on his way out, and/or being forced to make changes in his coaching staff if he wants to get an extension. Either way, it shows Tillman Fertitta is putting his imprint on things and not settling for the status quo.

Where does this leave general manager Daryl Morey? Morey seems to be in a bit of a safe spot. He signed a five year extension in March. Meanwhile, D'Antoni is working on the last year of his deal, and has had some of his handpicked assistants Thanos-snapped away. Morey is still under pressure to produce in my opinion because Fertitta won't accept anything less than an NBA title while this team has James Harden in his prime.With the team over the currently salary cap and bucking the luxury tax threshold (especially depending on what moves they make this offseason), it'll take a miracle for Morey to make any moves that'll vastly improve this team's chances. Considering they have no first round picks, very few desirable assets worth trading, and a couple albatross worthy contracts, Morey will have to Jedi mind trick his way through yet another offseason of transactions. That, or he'll have to hope he finds more diamonds in the rough like he did this past season with guys like Austin Rivers, Kenneth Faried, and Danuel House. But if D'Antoni doesn't cook up something with the groceries he's been provided with 9as has been his M.O. in the playoffs), he may be on the outs soon being as Morey is the one with the job security via his extension.

I have full faith this team will continue to play at a high level during the regular seasons in the years to come. Post-season play and performance is up for debate. as it stands, their best hope is for the Warriors and the rest of the Western Conference to stagnate or get worse, while they continue on their pace. That, or pray for a miracle. As the old saying I was taught by my grandfather goes: "crap in one hand and wish in the other, see which one gets full first."

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Jae'Sean Tate had himself a night. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

No Christian Wood. No Kevin Porter Jr. No Jalen Green. No problem. Jae’ Sean Tate became a complete superhero for the Houston Rockets versus the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.

He recorded 32 points, 10 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 5.0 blocks, and 2.0 steals and shot 73 percent from the field. With that stat line, he joined former Rocket Hakeem Olajuwon and other historic big men from the past, which Tim MacMahon reported.

Tate is known for his leadership and the ability to be humble. When a reporter asked Tate about the stat line, he said, “How many turnovers? Nah, 25 assists, that’s what sup! Can’t be mad at that.” An expression like that shows the importance of putting his teammates first before taking all the shine. Tate is providing more passion with communication and being the rock that the "Baby Rockets" can lean on.

Coach Silas' confidence in Tate is something built from last year and it shows. Those two have constant dialogue throughout the game, and it’s seen before the huddle or when Silas is standing on the sideline before he calls a play. Silas has run consistent sets for Tate, as he did that within the 15-game losing streak. He dialed up an out of bounds action with 33.4 seconds left, so Tate could make a clutch layup towards the rim.

“Long, long, long ago in his rookie year…we definitely have a bond and with those two guys out, we needed some scoring,” Silas said. “He was the guy who was playing the hardest from start to finish and down the stretch we ran that elbow iso for him. And he just went through his defender and finished. And he made some huge plays in the 4th quarter, which is what you need. Yeah, I trust him as much as anybody else, and he has earned that, and he deserves it.”

“That just shows the confidence Coach Silas, and my teammates have in me,” said Tate. “We lost some of our primary guys tonight. And not only me, but everybody also stepped up.”

His usage rating is slowly going up, which is posted at 18.9 percent per NBA stats. In isolation, Tate is averaging 1.00 points per possession, which puts him in the 75th percentile(!) per NBA stats. Tate is seeing more action out of the corner, so it can allow him to get to his left hand on offense. The elbow iso action is a play that Tate has run since high school, college, overseas, and in the NBA now. He mentioned that the set allows him to get comfortable when his number is called.

“That’s not my primary role and I think everyone knows that,” Tate said. “I am very confident [in] what I bring to the table offensively. Not only scoring wise but seeing the floor and being able to make [a] decision in space. And that kind of helps me when they overlook the scouting report.”

“[I've] been running that play since I was [in] high school. At Ohio St. I ran that. Even when I was overseas, Will Weaver, that was a play he put in. To have that called tonight, it felt familiar and it’s one of my strengths. And playing in the mid-post area and getting to my left hand.”

Tate was excellent for the Rockets on both sides of the ball, as he had a 116.9 offensive and 108.5 defensive rating with an 82.5 percent in true shooting versus the Thunder. Hopefully, Tate can be the leading catalyst again, as the Rockets face the Orlando Magic and New Orleans Pelicans, which are winnable games. It should become a six-game winning streak, as John Wall might play if his condition is right.

Up next: The Rockets face the Orlando Magic on Friday night.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome