The Houston Rockets have all the tools to be an effective team on the offensive end: A creator on the perimeter, three point snipers, an inside presence, and a point guard capable of playing distributor.
Where they lack is on the defensive end. The main reason for their 25-30 record is that they are 24th in the NBA in points allowed. The effort on the defensive end is there, no question, but the talent escapes them.
Shane Battier is a great asset to the Rockets with his capability to shut down guys, but he has lost a step with his age and can't perform each and every night.
The only defenders the Rockets can rely on are Kyle Lowry and Chuck Hayes. Unfortunately, Hayes is not someone who can consistently stop people from scoring. His height limits him from being able to contain the dominant centers.
Everyone is always talking about how Hayes does a "great job" on guys, yet those guys are still constantly getting double-doubles. True, he makes guys work hard for their points, but he is not reliable enough on offense for that to matter as his man has a chance to rest while guarding him.
He is also not a very good help defender. He is amazing in the passing lanes, but he doesn't alter enough shots to be a starting center in this league.
General manager Daryl Morey has to take a serious look at his team and consider bringing in a low-post defender.
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Or, Jordan Hill could just call up Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon, the second-best shot blocker in NBA history (Bill Russell is No. 1, but they didn't count blocked shots back in his day).
Jordan Hill is an athletic specimen, he possesses size and strength while also being able to jump through the ceiling. Unfortunately, Hill's fundamentals on defense are very poor.
He doesn't move his feet and lacks patience. He is consistently dominated and doesn't have an eye for help defense, where most centers make a living blocking shots.
He has shown some skills on the offensive end in limited minutes. His ability to run the floor with Lowry is an asset that Rick Adelman wishes he could use, but he can't justify having a black sheep of a man on defense.
While he did not start on Saturday in a loss to Dallas, he did play 22 minutes and logged 10 points, nine rebounds, three steals, and one block.
With the Rockets perimeter players allowing guys to come inside with ease, they need a shot blocker. I fear that unless Hill can learn something from Hakeem or anybody that can get it through his head, the Rockets are going to be headed for their first losing season since 2005-2006.
Chuck Hayes and Brad Miller are not the answer.