According to Basketball Reference, Houston is the fourth youngest team in the league, with an average age of 24.5 years. Even among young teams, however, Houston’s is a special case: the Rockets are the least experienced team in the league, with the average player having just under two seasons of NBA play under his belt. How does Houston compare to other young teams in the league, both in terms of current status and future potential?
As a colleague put it afterwards, “the Rockets sure are playing well, aren’t they?…and they’re the youngest freaking team in the league!” The Lakers jumped on Houston early, but the Rockets buried them with 3’s and darts to the hoop. It was too much of the usual from the good guys. The scary part is that you know they’ll get better. As always, some rookie will step up from the shadows or some trade at the deadline will pay dividends. It always happens. This team needs to just avoid injury.
The Houston Rockets hosted a frustrated, injured Lakers team hungry for a win and ready to do whatever it took to get one. In the first quarter, the Lakers showed determination and hustle, pulling ahead with an early double digit lead. But by the start of the fourth quarter, the Rockets had stormed back to take the lead behind aggressive play and aggressive performances from James Harden and Jeremy Lin. The Lakers fell to 15-19 and the Rockets picked up their 5th win in a row, bringing them to 21-14 on the year.
So this was interesting. Fights are common in the Association as is the “‘x’ was waiting for the ‘y’ team bus after the game” narrative. But when was the last time an altercation involved two players of this magnitude? You have your usual fight archetypes in ‘over-anxious scrub vs. star’, ‘borderline star’ vs. ‘borderline star’, and ‘Kevin Garnett vs. random European/point guard’, among others, but this…? Carmelo Anthony is a full blooded American and full-grown, but more importantly, these are two potential Hall of Famers (in Garnett’s case, a lock), who have been around for ages…I had always envisioned the league as some sort of fraternity where anyone with x number of All-Star appearances was cool with anyone else of similar ilk. Second point: Has waiting for the other team’s bus ever done anything? With the knowledge that swarms of security personnel would be present, this sort of stunt has about the same ‘punch factor’ as just going home and writing the opposing party a very, very angry e-mail.