The Houston Rockets are ruining themselves for a shot at Wembanyama
There are a few glimmers of hope in the bleak wasteland that is the Houston Rockets regular season. Alperen Şengün is one of the most fun young players in the league today, and Tari Eason is a never-ending source of energy. But that's pretty much where the positivity stops.
The Rockets are 13-40, the worst record in the NBA. They're 29th in net rating (-7.7 points per 100 possessions), lead the league in turnovers with 17 per game, are second to last in assists per game, have the worst field goal percentage in the association, and are second to last in three-point accuracy. They turn the ball over, don't pass well, chuck shots, and lack cohesion and a sense of purpose on a nightly basis.
Victor Wembanyama is going to do amazing things in the NBA. He's going to be electric. But he alone is not going to turn this franchise around. The Rockets are utterly devoid of leadership and show no signs of changing that before the end of the season. Again, Wemby is going to be great, but there's too much going wrong in Houston for him to be the catch-all fix.
This isn't just an outsider's view. Look at how exasperated and hopeless Eric Gordon looks when asked if the Rockets have improved since their poor start.
Gordon isn't the first Rocket veteran to call this out. John Wall said almost the same thing to Jalen Green and Kevin Porter when he was in Houston, telling them, "this sh*t y'all getting away with here...if you go to any other teams, you would be out of the f***ing league. You wouldn't play." That might seem like a jaded veteran taking it out on the young guys, but Wall isn't far off. It's hard to imagine that Green would have the freedom to shoot almost 18 times per game and make just 40 percent of his attempts on any other team but Houston.
With how this season is going, if the Rockets don't get Wemby, it's tough to see Stephen Silas lasting another season. Even if Houston gets lucky enough to win the top pick, it still wouldn't be a shock to see ownership pivot in another direction and hope a new head coach solves some of their problems.
Maybe this all works out for Houston, but there's a right way to go about aiming for a top pick, and there's a wrong way. With their dysfunction and horrible play, it's abundantly clear the Rockets are doing the latter.