To say that championship windows in the NBA are brief would be a dramatic understatement. Just take the Houston Rockets, for instance. They went from having a commanding 3-2 series lead on the defending champion Warriors in the Western Conference Finals last spring to nearing the brink of collapse just six months later.
In fairness, it’s been a rocky start to the season on multiple fronts. First, there was the dust-up with the Lakers that resulted in costly suspensions, followed by the Carmelo Anthony debacle that resulted in his swift departure from the organization and his arguably undeserved designation as the fall guy for everything that’s been ailing them.
Yet it’s been very little addition by subtraction as the Rockets’ struggles persist despite his absence. The reason is ultimately two-fold: a glaring lack of depth and Chris Paul suddenly looking like he’s on the downside of his career. The result has been an 11-13 start through the quarter mark of the season and a dim, almost imperceptible light at the end of a very long tunnel.