2012 NBA power rankings: Rockets fall to No. 17

Russ Isabella-US PRESSWIRE

The Houston Rockets are No. 17 in the latest SB Nation NBA Power Rankings.

After an exciting and promising 2-0 start, the Houston Rockets fell to 4-7 in the season's early-going with Monday night's 102-91 loss to the Utah Jazz. It was the third loss in a row and seventh loss in nine games for Houston, a cold spell that has resulted in being dropped to No. 17 in Seth Rosenthal's latest SB Nation NBA Power Rankings.

Rosenthal notes the youth and inconsistency of Houston after dropping them two spots this week:

"A few weeks in, the Rockets look a lot like the extremely young team they are. They're -- to a man -- quite inconsistent, but streaky enough to stick with pretty much anybody on a given night. I, like a lot of Rockets fans, want to see more of Terrence Jones after his minutes against the Lakers. Partly because he's fun and productive, partly because his neck/shoulder arrangement is so fascinating."

Rosenthal actually likes the Rockets better than a lot of other Power prognosticators across the Web. NBA.com has the Rockets at No. 23 in their rankings (down four spots) while ESPN.com's Marc Stein lists Houston at No. 22. Stein sees a lot of teams keying on James Harden and Jeremy Lin, but likes what he sees from Omer Asik so far:

"The focus inevitably is going to stay mostly on the ever-swarmed James Harden or Jeremy Lin -- or absentee rookie Royce White for different reasons -- but don't forget about Omer Asik. The 7-footer has five double-doubles already after managing only one in his first two seasons in Chicago."

The Rockets host two tough Eastern Conference opponents this week when the Chicago Bulls come to town Wednesday night and New York Knicks are in town Friday night.

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