The Houston Rockets have been an elite defensive team after trading James Harden to the Nets, as shown by defensive ratings.
After embarrassing blowouts to the Lakers earlier in the season, the Rockets finally budged and traded away their franchise superstar. With James Harden not in Houston any longer, the Rockets are now playing a very different style. Coach Stephen Silas is concentrating on their D first, but he’s also getting a shot in the arm from their WOW trio.
In his stint with the Rockets, Mike D’Antoni ran nearly every single play through James Harden. Even with Chris Paul, Harden posted up the second-highest usage rate in NBA history in 2018-19 – 40.47%.
However, now with Stephen Silas commanding the reins, the Rockets have veered away from iso ball and turned a new leaf.
The Houston Rockets boast an incredible defensive rating following James Harden trade
Teams whose stars buy in on the defensive end of the floor generally tend to be successful. Ever since the Harden trade, stars such as Victor Oladipo, John Wall, and most importantly, Christian Wood have put in better effort towards defense.
The Rockets currently boast the second-best defensive rating in the NBA after trading the ‘Beard’ away. They rank behind only the Los Angeles Clippers in this timespan.
It has been a while since the Rockets have held a solid top 10 defense in the league. The last time was in the 2017-18 season, when they were the 7th best defense in the NBA. They were also the number one offense in the NBA during that season, going 65-17.
Role players such as Eric Gordon and Jae’Sean Tate are also putting in a greater effort on defense this season. This gives opponents fewer weak links to work with. Harden, on the other hand, is playing for a Nets team that lost its best defender in the trade.
Without Allen’s rim protection, the Nets have been torrid on the defensive end. In 8 games with Harden, they’ve only held opponents below 100 points once in this run. Of course, they’ve been a lot better in clutch periods. But they’d definitely be better off on that end without Harden holding them back.