Welcome to Playoff Post-Mortem, where I’ll break down why a particular team is longer alive in the playoffs, what good they can take from their exit, and what comes next. I’ll also speculate where the players will be going on vacation. R.I.P. to every team taken from these playoffs too soon, and best wishes to those still fighting for their lives.
What Went Wrong
Literally everything. Defense, offense, chemistry, coaching, trust, trust in coaching, patience by management, James Harden’s leadership, player health, do I need to keep going? There’s plenty of talent on the Rockets and they played so far below their talent level it’s a shock they even made the playoffs.
The Silver Lining
They still made the playoffs? I guess that’s a silver lining. Even though Houston played like trash and embarrassed themselves for a week straight on national television, any time you can get playoff experience you take it. For how disappointing the season was for the Rockets, making the playoffs is technically an accomplishment.
What Comes Next
I straight up do not know. They have a coach to hire and several players to re-sign or not sign. This Rockets team could look drastically different at the end of the summer, for better or worse. They just need to figure out which was the outlier: this dreadful season or 2015’s successful one. I do not envy whoever is crunching those numbers and deciding which of those crunched numbers is relevant and thinking philosophically about team structure and leadership qualities and trying to bring that all together into one informed decision that basically has a 50/50 chance of success no matter what. Damn. Being good in the NBA is really hard.
Vacation Destinations of Each Starter
Patrick Beverly – some MMA training camp at an undisclosed location
James Harden – the Kardashian Kompound, only to be turned away
Trevor Ariza – Los Angeles, wearing his NBA Championship ring and crying
Donatas Montiejunas – as far from Houston as possible, so probably Lithuania
Dwight Howard – whichever place will give him the most money to be there