Down 3-1 in their series against Portland we're starting to hear rumblings from media that perhaps this incarnation of the Rockets are not as good as previously reported. My problem, however, is that the Chron's Jonathan Feigen doesn't go far enough.
For starters, this is a poorly coached team. Especially at the end of games where Kevin McHale seems to be all out of ideas as the clock gets closer to zero. I've long had a feeling that, should the Rockets not get out of the first round, McHale is a goner since GM Daryl Morey is seemingly incapable of admitting that he has not put together the strongest of teams.
In short, this Rockets roster is deeply flawed, consisting of several players whose strengths do not complement the others' weaknesses. Their star, inarguably Dwight Howard, has been OK, but lacks a true point guard to feed him the ball while in the post and their 2nd best player is really nothing more than an instant-offense sixth man (ironically: the role in which he excelled for OKC) playing the role of team leader.
That's not to say that James Harden is no good. He is very good, and would be very good, coming off the bench for this Rockets team, filling up the score sheet, and then heading back to the bench when defense needs to be played. To call Harden a defensive liability is an understatement. He's a defensive black-hole.
At point guard, the situation is even more dire. While Patrick Beverley would make a nice change-of-pace 2nd string point guard for a contending team he's not near versatile enough of a player to take the full-time reins. Jeremy Lin is just not an NBA caliber point guard and has no self-control in the clutch.
Chandler Parsons is a good role player, but he should be limited to that as he tends to run very cold in the areas where he's not hot. I think the sample size is too small on Troy Daniels but what he's shown so far has been promising.
In all however there's not enough defense to go around while the offense is manned by selfish players who need someone to get them the ball to get off a good shot. Unfortunately, the Rockets don't have the quality needed at the point position to complement them.
I'm not sure what Morey will do in the off-season but I would have to think that finding a new coach, and working on a trade for a real 2nd star would be on the top of the list. At minimum, I would give Minnesota a call and see what would be required to get Kevin Love. Yes, I would even tell them that Harden is not off-limits. They also need to find a point guard, which could be addressed in the draft, most preferably (in my eyes) by Shabazz Napier.
One thing is for certain, the current crop of players has zero chance at making a deep run in the playoffs, they're too undisciplined, too selfish and too flawed defensively to play in the half-court game that the NBA playoffs demand.