The Rockets are on a three-game losing streak, enough to drop them down to 6th place in the West. Here are the teams ahead of them in the standings: Lakers, Nuggets, Clippers, Jazz, and Mavericks. A few wins can bump them up in the standings, but Stan Van Gundy thinks the standings reflect reality - Rockets are the 6th best team in the West.
"I don't see them being at the level of, certainly the L.A. teams, but I think Utah and Denver are better than them. I think Dallas is better than them. I think they're the sixth-best team in the West."
Stan Van Gundy
The trade deadline is approaching fast and if the Rockets want to improve the team, they have until February 6th to do so. The Rockets are not on the talent level of at least the L.A. teams, Utah and Denver. If Dallas manages to get Igoudala or some other move to improve their team, they will join this list as well.
If James Harden is having a bad shooting day, they are not competitive against the top 4 in the West. Given his playoff track record with the Rockets, you need more depth around him. Daryl Morey is known to take all scenarios into account, turn every rock and suggest a million trades. What can he do this time?
"I just, I don't see it. They would need to make a move, and I can't even tell you what that move is."
Stan Van Gundy
I'm sure Daryl Morey would disagree, but if there are no moves to make on the trade market, the Rockets can always try to pick up a free agent or a buyout guy. But, the same can be said about both L.A. teams or Dallas for instance. If all those teams are giving you a call, why would you choose Houston? They are definitely not your best chance to win a ring. Their style of play maybe?
"I don't think a lot of people really want to sign up for this run track. People run and sprint the floor for opportunities and when you're just a spacer and just standing there with limited possessions, it's not something you want to be a part of."
James Harden is one of the deadliest offensive players ever, but the Rockets style of play isn't an issue just for anyone with eyes. Playing next to Harden and Westbrook means picking up their slack on defense, running hard in transition and standing in the corner so you maybe get a catch and shoot opportunity. If you're anything more than that kind of specialist, Houston is going to be the last team on your wishlist.
We are living in an era of stars and superstars teaming up, players asking for trades left and right. Except for the worst three-point shooter in NBA history on a supermax contract, have you ever heard of anyone creating pressure to join James Harden? Another variable that's not valued enough in the Rockets' analytics algorithm.