So, it's certainly been a roller coaster start of the season, but there are worse places to be than 4-2 after six games, and there's still plenty of room for improvement. Here are a few observations I've made after the first six games.
1. The Howard/Asik duo only works sparingly. Casspi should start and they should only have that duo on the court for 5-10 minutes a game or against specific teams with slower, dominating front courts like Memphis.
2. The ball movement has been horrific, and they are not passing the ball well. This is probably the most frustrating thing out of all that I've witnessed so far. The Rockets last year were fifth in assists per game (23.2), and now they're sitting at 27th (17.5). That's inexcusable. There needs to be less Iso ball with Harden and post ups by Dwight and more fluidity to this offense if it's going to be successful. They're also 28th in the league in AST/TO ratio, which is horrifying.
3. I don't like the way they've used Dwight so far. What happened to the legendary pick and rolls we were supposed to get between Harden and Dwight and Lin and Dwight? I haven't seen nearly enough of those, but that should have been this team's bread and butter offensively. That being said, I think Dwight catching it in the low post has still been the Rockets most successful form of offense. He's also killed it on the glass and defensively, so it's hard to criticize the guy in spite of the free throw issues.
4. The 3-point shooting has not been there, which might be the biggest surprise at all. The team is freaking 20th in 3-point shooting percentage. Harden is shooting 27.9%, Beverley is shooting 27.3% and Parsons is an unbelievable 19%!!!! If it wasn't for Lin, Garcia and Casspi (all over 40%), this would be the worst 3-point shooting team in the league. This stat will improve as Harden and Parsons find their touch, but it needs to improve soon. I think improved ball movement and starting Casspi should work wonders for this problem.
5. The Rockets suck at turnovers and free throws, but those are two things we all had to know were going to happen. Asik's actually shooting 70% and Dwight's shooting right at 50%, which is about what you'd expect. But the kind of play that happened on Thursday at the end of the game CANNOT happen. They have to be more aware in those situations and only get Dwight the ball when they absolutely have to late in games.
6. Lin has been exceptionally good. Aside from Howard, he has been the most consistent offensive player on the team at times. That being said, I still like it better when he's coming off the bench. I feel like when he and Harden are on the floor together, it's almost like a competition for the ball. There's not enough ball movement and the offense usually breaks down into a perimeter shot or a late drive by Harden or Lin that doesn't always work. However, I'm kind of beginning to wonder if Lin shouldn't be the primary ball handler. Through six games, he's averaging nearly as many assists as Harden in far fewer minutes with only two-thirds the amount of turnovers. I'd like to see him run the offense more and Harden play more without the ball like he did in OKC.
7. The Rockets suck at lob passes. They need SOMEONE to come in and teach them that ****. Harden is especially bad at it, and with a player like Dwight Howard, that's something they're going to have to work on.
8. When they've been bad, they've been horrible, but when they've been good, they've been spectacular. It's easy to look at this first stretch of games and say, "They should be 5-1, and they got killed by the Clippers." But we need to remember this is a means to an end. This team was always going to have struggles figuring out their identity early on, and we're witnessing that first-hand now. But the positives ultimately outweigh the negatives, and once this team fixes some of these problems I've addressed, they're going to be one of the best teams in the NBA. Everyone just take a deep breath, relax and try to see the light at the end of the tunnel.