RUMOR: Rival executives believe Rockets are one playoff flameout from blowing up team
The Houston Rockets have a lot on the line this season. The Russell Westbrook Experiment kickstarted a wave of changes, including head coach Mike D’Antoni going guns out for a small-ball lineup, trading their center Clint Capela and hoping the superstar duo of Westbrook and James Harden can deliver them the playoff victories they’ve looked to achieve for quite some time.
Yet a failure to advance past the second round could bring wholesale changes to a team that has fallen way shy of expectations, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.
“It’s a league of elite-level players,” one executive told Bontemps. “If you have one or more of them, you can generally figure the rest out.”
“I think they’re a house of cards, man,” said another. “They don’t have any depth. There’s nothing credible there.”
The Rockets have gambled big on this small-ball lineup and they have yet to acquire a legitimate five-man to bang against the likes of Rudy Gobert and Nikola Jokic — two players they could run into in the playoffs.
Should they fail to make the Western Conference Finals, the most likely scenario is that D’Antoni does not continue as a coach, but there will also be a domino effect that crumbles the rest of the roster as a result.
Harden is largely expected to stay regardless of the results, but if Houston falls short, especially now that their kryptonite Golden State Warriors won’t be there to haunt them, it’s not wild to expect ownership to want a fresh slate soon.
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