Houston Rockets: Ranking the 5 Worst Defenders
The Houston Rockets nearly snuck into the playoffs last year with credit to one of the league's best offenses under Rick Adelman.
Kyle Lowry and company led the league in team assists per game and showed great teamwork, but now it's time to see that chemistry on the defensive side of the floor.
They will now play for legendary tough guy Kevin McHale, and these five players will need to amp up their defensive productivity in order to keep the new coach happy.
5. Jonny Flynn
First up on the list is Rockets newcomer Jonny Flynn. It may be unfair to call him the fifth-worst defender on the team without wearing the red and white once if we hadn't seen him in Minnesota.
Flynn is a great offensive talent, but talent doesn't always translate to effort on the most important side of the court.
He has a tendency to not be in correct defensive position on help-side defense and allows his man to create penetration, which breaks down a vulnerable defense.
With that being said, I expect Jonny Flynn to work as hard as ever on defense in order to crack a tight point guard rotation.
4. Luis Scola
It's difficult to put one of the hardest workers on the court on this list, but Luis Scola ranks fourth in worst defenders on the team.
Luis suffers from a lack of lateral quickness, which allows the game's quicker power forwards to beat him to spots and score effectively.
A good example is New Orleans' David West (now a free agent), who seems to kill Houston every chance he gets. West keeps Scola off balance and beats him with short-range jumpers and hook shots while Luis' feet are catching up.
Although he is on this list, I wouldn't consider Luis Scola a defensive liability. He makes up for his lack of one-on-one defense with tireless work ethic in defensive rebounding and help defense.
3. Jordan Hill
While Jordan Hill has the potential to be a standout defender, he is currently far from that title. Hill was a great offensive player in college and controlled the game on defense with his size and athleticism, but now everyone he plays is his size with comparable speed.
Jordan could really step up his game if he can prove that he will be dialed in for the entirety of his time on the court. Hill seems to slide in and out of focus, which causes his natural defensive talent to be transparent.
Expect Hill, like Flynn, to work very hard in a crowded rotation for a chance to wow coach Kevin McHale.
2. Chase Budinger
This ranking is reflective of the position Chase Budinger plays as much as it is based on his skill. Chase is replacing the Rockets' best defender since Yao Ming in Shane Battier.
"Air Bud" struggles with ultra-quick wing players who attack the basket for 48 minutes.
Once again, this is not due to a lack of effort, such as the Luis Scola selection. Budinger struggles to stay in front of those elite small forwards, and as a result causes a weakness in the team defense.
It would also be nice to see him improve on his positioning in help-side defense when the ball is two passes away.
1. Kevin Martin
Kevin Martin is routinely in the situation pictured to the left. He was guarding Kobe Bryant, but as Kobe turned the corner, Martin let up and allowed Chuck Hayes to come over on help defense, which causes a total breakdown until Kevin catches up.
Luckily, Martin is so efficient offensively that he remains on the court after glaring mistakes on defense.
He is the only player on the team that is a good enough offensive player to not lose minutes, but I'm certain we will see Kevin McHale crack the whip on him a few times if there is a season in 2011-2012.