If Rockets Head Coach Stephen Silas and General Manager Rafael Stone return next season, the organization will remain neutral at best.
The Houston Rockets are now a dumpster fire of a basketball team and the laughingstock of the NBA.
Despite having more talent on the roster this year, the Rockets remain inept with little hope to cling onto.
Between cartoonish reports of the organization’s culture and putrid play on the court, the Rockets have been virtually unwatchable this season.
Houston, as of Friday, holds the worst record in basketball at 13-49 amidst an 11-game losing game.
Recent performances indicate the franchise is content tanking the rest of the season in the hopes of landing the expected No. 1 draft pick Victor Wembanyama.
The draft lottery format ensures the Rockets have the best odds of securing the No. 1 pick at 14% if they finish in the bottom again.
But even if — and that’s a big if — a potential generational talent lands in Houston, what good is it if the organization is in shambles?
While owner Tilman Fertitta seems more interested in buying Washington Commanders than fixing his own franchises, he must right this ship that was once sailing far and long.
When several high-level journalists report how dysfunctional and toxic the organization is, there tends to be fire when there is smoke.
ESPN’s lead draft analyst Jonathan Givony reported that the rest of the NBA franchises view the Rockets as a joke.
Last week, Givony stated on The Lowe Podcast that team members told him the organization is a circus.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst added to the criticism calling Houston “a dangerous fit for anybody” and “out of control” during his appearance on The Tony Kornheiser Show.
Before we write this off, we have evidence of some truth in these claims.
Many former players have come out of the woodwork to bash Houston’s lack of direction.
John Wall called the team “trash” on a podcast, recently traded Eric Gordon said “there’s no improvement” when asked earlier this season and Austin Rivers critiqued the Rockets’ guards for playing too much isolation.
However, former Rockets guard and TNT commentator Kenny Smith’s take was the most damning.
“I don’t look at them and go, ‘Oh wow, that’s a young team that’s promising and the talent is going to succeed,’” Smith said during a media conference call ahead of All-Star Weekend. “Right now, they’re one of the worst teams in professional sports. What is making me say that they’re moving in the right way?”
Between all of the bad publicity, dissatisfaction amongst the team and the horrible product on the court, Stone must go.
I’m sure when Silas came in; he did not envision what the franchise would degrade into.
The second-generation coach was a highly-sought assistant when hired in 2020.
Going into his first season with the Rockets in 2020, the team was coming off its eighth-straight playoff season which was the longest active streak.
With cornerstone player James Harden at the helm, I’m sure Silas was expecting to build his career around the talented guard.
However, like most NBA players, the minute something isn’t to their fullest liking, Harden asked to be traded away and with that, so went any title aspirations.
Silas suddenly became the guy in charge of a rebuild.
While Silas isn’t all to blame, the players look to have quit on him this season.
The Rockets have lost by at least 14 points in their last six games, including allowing a 71-point night by Portland’s Damien Lillard.
I can get over lousy basketball during a rebuild, but the lack of progression is hurting me the most.
Silas’s record as a coach since taking over has been abysmal at 50-166.
Despite adding last year’s No. 3 overall pick Jabari Smith Jr. and 2021 No. 2 overall Jalen Green, the team seems no better off than when Harden first left.
At this point, Silas may be relieved to be gone.
“They’ve completely destroyed and broken down Silas, who is a good man but can’t handle the renegade operation that’s become,” Windhorst said.
Regardless of what Feritta ultimately decides, this franchise is a long way from returning to the team that was one game away from the NBA Finals in 2018.
It’s going to take time, a roster overhaul and most importantly good management.
Right now, the Rockets do not have the foundation or structure necessary for a proper rebuild and with that, it’s time for Fertitta to cut his losses and start fresh.
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