Houston Rockets' Most and Least Improved Players of the Season
The Houston Rockets' record is currently 11-12. After 23 games last season, they had a record of 13-10.
Technically speaking, if detractors wanted to detract, they could say that this points to a lack of progress. The team is not getting any better, it's still heading in the wrong direction. There has not been any improvement.
Considering all of the turnover that has taken place on the roster, Houston has done well to hang in there and break even after 22 games.
There has been improvement. Let's take a look at who's made strides and who hasn't.
All stats accurate as of 12/17/12.
USA TODAY Sports
James Harden has to be mentioned when the subject is improvement. Last season he was winning the Sixth Man of the Year award as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Harden improved each and every season he was in OKC. Last season he averaged 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists and one steal.
In his first year as a full-time starter he has raised his stats across the board to the tune of 24.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.9 steals.
He has even increased his blocks from 0.2 to 0.5. Not a bad way to start year one with a new team.
USA TODAY Sports
Omer Asik has improved dramatically as well. His jumper against the San Antonio Spurs on Dec. 10 sums it up. He went glass and nailed the shot to tie the game and send the game into overtime.
While backing up Joakim Noah with the Chicago Bulls, the book on Asik was that he was a tough rebounder and defender. His offensive game was virtually non-existent.
When Asik signed with the Houston Rockets in the offseason, did anyone see that coming? Not only has he nailed a clutch shot, he has also proving he can score consistently.
His 10.5 points per game are as surprising as his 11.5 rebounds per game are expected.
Now for a member of the Houston Rockets who was actually on the roster last season.
Chandler Parsons is just now starting to tap into his full potential. He has put in the work and it shows.
As a rookie he averaged 9.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists every time out. This season he has raised those up to 15.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists.
He's even raised his free-throw percentage from 55.1 percent to 73.7 percent.
Just wait until he polishes his mid-range game a bit. He's shooting below 30 percent on shots from three to nine feet from the rim. Once he tweaks that, his numbers will go through the roof.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
When it comes to least improved players, we have to look at the other players who joined the Houston Rockets in the James Harden trade.
In his first two years with the Miami Heat Daequan Cook averaged 8.9 points per game.
Upon moving on and becoming a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder he hovered around five points per game during his time there.
Maybe it was a stretch, but it seemed like a change of scenery might jump start things for him. He is still averaging 5.0 points a game as a Rocket as well.
Houston is still allowing more points than everyone in the league. It would seem like his shooting would have been more of an asset, but that has not been the case.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
In keeping with the former Oklahoma City Thunder theme, that brings us to Cole Aldrich. He has averaged 7.4 minutes a game for his career.
Upon joining the Houston Rockets, that number had a chance to increase. No one knew Omer Asik was going to be as good as he has been. Greg Smith's emergence has not helped either, and it has just been more of the same for Aldrich.
He is averaging 1.9 boards for his career. Again, maybe it was a reach, but it seemed like he could come in and at least put up Omer Asik's Chicago stats (4.4 boards).
So far, that has not been the case.