The Houston Rockets have seen better days. The franchise is in the midst of its youth movement, and like other rebuilding teams, they have lost a lot. They have lost 12 straight after Wednesday, and criticism has been levied about the team’s development, including from a former player.
John Wall, who played for Houston in 2021, sounded off on his former team in the Run Your Race podcast.
“My first year in Houston, we were tanking,” Wall recalled. “We lost 20 in a row. We were trying to lose on purpose-tanking.”
Wall then talked about how the environment potentially affects the Rockets’ younger players, namely Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr.
Part 1: John Wall discusses his first year w/ the Rockets, and his conversations w/ KPJ, Jalen Green, and JG Martin.
Part 2: John Wall discusses his second year, why he didn’t play, if he was willing to sit on the bench, and conversations w/ Coach Silas. pic.twitter.com/7Vm6JVRFdC
— *Miles Laurent. (@heisnotahooper) January 17, 2023
“I would tell them don’t get adjusted to this losing s—,” Wall said. “It’s a bad organization right now. They’ve got to fix some s—. But I had to tell them the s— you’re getting away with over here, you do that anywhere else you’ll be out the league.”
The Rockets have not been the toast of the NBA world for the last few years, to say the least. And how they got here can be told through John Wall’s time in Houston alone.
The Houston Rockets Hit a Wall
The Rockets traded for Wall in December 2020, sending Russell Westbrook to Washington. At the time, James Harden was still on the team, and it was expected that the Rockets were going to compete in the Western Conference. However, James Harden requested out of Houston, he was traded to Brooklyn, and the Rockets reversed course. After a season with a lot of roster turnover, the team went 17-55 in 2021.
Wall had averaged 20 points and six assists in his first season since his torn Achilles in 2018. However, going into the next season, his Houston career was effectively ended. He sat the entire 2021-22 season, Wall stating it was due to a disagreement with his role for the season and was waived in the 2022 offseason. Wall then signed with the Los Angeles Clippers.
The State of the Rockets
On the surface, the Rockets boast loads of young talent. Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr., Alperen Sengun, Kenyon Martin Jr., Jabari Smith Jr., and Tari Eason all have promising talent. The problem comes with the on-court product. The Rockets are currently 10-35, and Stephen Silas’ team does not have a strong identity. They are bad on both sides of the floor, ranking last in offensive rating and 28th in defensive rating.
Perhaps the most damaging thing for the Rockets’ youngsters is the lack of a true point guard. Porter Jr. has been playing the starting role for the last two seasons. And while he is averaging nearly six assists a game, he is also averaging 3.6 turnovers. Plus, shots have not fallen for this team all season. They are last in the NBA with a 44.7% field goal percentage, and 11 Rockets are shooting a true shooting percentage below the 57.8% league average.
John Wall’s comments will put a microscope on the team in the NBA world. They have exciting players to watch, but the progress has not been there. James Harden’s exodus from Houston was significant, but the Rockets on the court are getting harder and harder to watch.