October 4, 2022

It’s been several months since we’ve seen the Houston Rockets on the field. The release of Houston’s preseason schedule was a good start from the news wasteland that is the NBA right now, but many fans are starving for any news about the Rockets.

Thankfully, during yesterday’s Sports Talk 790 interview, we got an update on several players’ progress and a glimpse of what Stephen Silas wants the team to improve on. Coach Silas sat down with Matt Thomas and Ross Villareal on The Matt Thomas Show to discuss several topics, from off-season training to how players like Jalen Green have improved during this downtime.

Here are some of my takeaways from yesterday’s interview.

Coach Silas will focus on defense

The Rockets were the worst defensive team in the league, and it wasn’t even close. So when you hear Coach Silas say they need to improve their defense, that’s a fair enough statement. Coach Silas was asked about the forward and center rotation.

Defense needs to be better and that’s one of the things I’ve been focusing on this summer, in terms of helping guys with their techniques, watching movies with them, helping them where they should be with their help. and their recovery. We were a really good closing team last year, but we didn’t have as many closings as, say, Miami and New York.

As mentioned earlier, the Rockets’ defense was bottom of the league in most major categories. They have given up the most points per game for two consecutive years. Adding players like Jabari Smith Jr. and Tari Eason should help that department a lot. Plus, factor in the continued growth of the defense of Green and Kevin Porter Jr., and the Rockets should see, at the very least, a more competitive defensive team.

Bringing in a coach like Lionel Hollins, who specializes in tough defense, should help Silas even more with his game strategy and pre-game preparations.

Coach Silas wants to see Kevin Porter Jr. farther off the ball this year

Coach Silas was asked what he saw of Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green late last year. Trainer Silas.

Scoot was one of the best guys in the league when it came to his catch and shoot catch and shoot three. So finding ways to get him off the ball until he can play that catch and shoot, shoot or drive and close.

When you think knockdown shooters, of course you think of players like the Splash Brothers and Kevin Durant, but Porter Jr. was the league’s second-best catch-and-shooter last year with a three-point range. points at 48.2%, only behind DJ Augustin, who played in just 16 minutes per game.

Putting Porter Jr. in more off-ball action should give him even more opportunities next year for catching and shooting chances. Additionally, with Green’s expected second-year improvement, teams will attempt to knock the ball out of his hands, resulting in wide-opening shots for the Rockets point guard.

Jalen Green has gotten stronger which should improve his reach from the three-point line.

For many reasons, Jalen Green had a slow start to the season last year. First, poor starting lineup construction, being a rookie and a shooting guard. Additionally, Green had issues with his shooting form. Matt Thomas asked Coach Silas about his shooting form and how he’s improved throughout the year.

Yeah, so when we first got it, it wasn’t fast. Uh, he didn’t anticipate his shots. So it was even slower than that. He didn’t know where they came from.

And making him faster took away a lot of that stuff where, you know, he just didn’t see it. It was more of a compact plan. It was faster. He got into it faster. We’ve seen improvement over the season this year.

Coach Silas also mentioned how much stronger Green has become over the summer.

As it is stronger, we will see more deep rain shots. We will see his step back. And those punches…you probably remember last year, he was backing off and he looked off balance just because he was a little weaker. Mm-hmm and its core and all that, all those little backwards steps it takes, whether it’s two or three, much more compact, much stronger. And then his shoulders, he’s just a lot stronger in his shoulders where getting up wasn’t a problem at all sometimes last year. It wouldn’t necessarily look like a medicine ball, but now it’s just like faster, more compact.

Conclusion

The Rockets have had the worst record for two straight years, and while they won’t be competing for a championship or maybe even a playing spot next year, you have to feel good about their chances of getting a noticeable improvement across the board.