Rockets’ general manager Daryl Morey has never minded going out on a limb. From doubling down on James Harden to bringing in Carmelo Anthony, he’s got enough confidence in his own ideas to know not to worry about the mainstream opinions of the rest of the NBA.
Heck. His comments on Hong Kong nearly caused a global controversy.
When it comes to on-the-court decisions, his latest venture may be the most volatile. By joining Russell Westbrook with the incomparable Harden, he opened himself up to a world of second guessing.
If it works out, he’s a genius. If it doesn’t, he’s showing why people think he always has to be the smartest person in the room.
I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt. If not for the dynasty known as the Warriors, Houston would probably have already added another title or two to the basketball trophy case.
I’d be hard pressed for anyone to make a legitimate argument that the Rockets weren’t consistently the second-best team in the NBA over the last few years.
Of course, they’re known more for choking away series against Golden State than being one of the few legitimate contenders who could even give the Warriors a run for their money.
That leaves out the fact most teams weren’t even good enough to get that chance.
Bringing Westbrook into the equation doesn’t leave much space for error. As one of the game’s most polarizing players, fans love him or hate him.
The exact same thing could be said for Harden.
My ultimate thought was this will either go over really well or very poorly.
Now that the World Series is over, I decided it was time to take an early-season look at what this project is all about.
So as I turned on the Rockets’ game against Miami late in the first quarter, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. Instead of seeing the typical NBA score, this is what I stared at.
Miami 46, Houston 14.
That’s not a misprint.
The final score of a Miami 120-100 win really didn’t tell the story of exactly how bad the game was.
To make matters worse, Westbrook recorded the worst plus/minus in the team’s history.
Of course having friends who never miss a chance for some razzing, I was reminded of these facts over and over again.
My early-season thoughts would be to give it some time. Both players are superstars and they’re going to have nights to forget. This one can go at the top of the list.
I’ll still trust in Morey and his ultimate gameplan.
I’ll save a spot on the bandwagon for new Rockets’ fans when April comes. I just hope that seat isn’t actually a spot on the Titanic.
The Rockets will get another good early-season test on Wednesday when they host the Clippers. That game can be seen on ESPN at 6:30 p.m.
Here is a look at what the rest of the sports world has to offer this week.
Auto racing: Bluegreen Vacations 500, 2:30 p.m., today, NBC: There are only two races left on the marathon known as the NASCAR circuit. Martin Truex leads the way, with Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano still in contention.
Pro football: Carolina at Green Bay, 3:25 p.m., today, FOX: Aaron Rodgers and the Packers turned in a rare clunker in Los Angeles this past week. They’ll get a chance to regroup against a Carolina team that has been up and down so far this season.
Pro baseball: Minnesota at Dallas, 7:20 p.m., Sunday, NBC: The Cowboys get the primetime spotlight for the second straight time against another of the top NFC contenders.
Pro baseball: Seattle at San Francisco, 7:15 p.m., Monday, ESPN: The Monday Night Football spotlight gets the top matchup of the week with San Francisco trying to stay undefeated against the dynamic Seahawks.
Pro basketball: Golden State at L.A. Lakers, 9 p.m., Wednesday, ESPN: The tables have turned in the LeBron James/Warriors rivalry. With Steph Curry out for three months, the Warriors will have to wait another year to get back on track. Meanwhile, LeBron and the Lakers look like legitimate contenders once again.
College football: Fresno State at San Diego State, 8:30 p.m., Friday, ESPN2: This should be a good watch for those getting home from their Friday night football games. San Diego State has been a surprising team so far as it carried a 7-1 record into the weekend.
College football Oklahoma at Baylor, 6:30 p.m., Saturday, ABC: Matt Ruhle has surpassed all early-season expectations by having the Bears in the Big 12 title discussion. This is a primetime opportunity to show Baylor is for real.