The Houston Rockets are still in the bottom half of most NBA rankings, as a recent 4-4 stretch and the absence of coach Kevin McHale due to a tragedy in his family have left the team without clear momentum.
SB Nation NBA contributor Seth Rosenthal gives the Rockets the 18th position in his latest rankings, down one rung from last week's edition. He writes:
I called the Rockets "inconsistent" last week, but I'm not sure that even captures it. Their ability to loaf around chucking isolation jumpers one night, then morph into a fast-paced, picking-and-rolling onslaught the next is astounding. Granted, the Knicks' defense wasn't its usual self on Friday, but the Rockets just dismembered them in that one. They suddenly looked like the most dangerous offense on the planet. That makes you look back at losses like the one on Monday against the Jazz and scratch your head (or whatever body part you scratch in moments of puzzlement). Of course, the caveat to all this is that Houston is without head coach Kevin McHale, who is occupied with far more important, devastating, heartbreaking matters. It would be completely understandable if McHale isn't back with the team anytime soon.
Matt Moore of CBS Sports has the Rockets 21st in the league, and he's similarly befuddled by the Rockets' shifting identity. Kurt Helin's rankings over at NBC's ProBasketballTalk also have the Rockets in the No. 21 spot. ESPN's Marc Stein puts Houston in 17th place in his latest rankings, a leap of five spots from last week. John Hollinger is the outlier, though, with Houston slotted 11th in his order.